Five years after Gig Harbor residents voted to preserve Eddon Boat, the property is ready for its grand opening.
The city announced today that the former boatyard will open Sept. 30 with a few pilot programs related to Gig Harbor’s maritime culture and history.
To anyone who’s followed the boatyard’s progress over the years, the grand opening marks a long-awaited milestone.
The boatyard is a living piece of Gig Harbor’s history. Records show boat-building on the property dates to 1920, when it opened as Anderson & Sons Boat Yard.
Over the years, it grew, changed ownership and names. When the idea of developing the property into something else was floated in 2004, voters stepped in and passed a $3.5 million bond to save it.
But refurbishing the boatyard wasn’t easy, as contamination from years of boat-building slowed its rebirth. After months of working with the state, cleaning the property and restoring its buildings, it’s ready for business.
Guy Hoppen, who grew up on the property, came up with the idea. The Eddon name is an amalgam of the first names of Guy’s father Ed Hoppen, who died in 1985, and Ed’s boat-building partner, Don Harder.
Guy Hoppen helped establish a nonprofit group – the Gig Harbor BoatShop – that will run activities at the boatyard. The group signed a lease with the city in 2007 to operate Eddon for $1 annually for 20 years.
When it’s fully operational, Eddon Boat will offer interpretive education programs such as family boat building, maritime skills workshop, oar-making, model boatbuilding, shipwright apprentice program, vessel documentation projects, boat launchings and skill demonstrations.
Here is the flyer that Gig Harbor sent out today: