Have you ever wondered what those shacks on pilings are that dot the shores of Gig Harbor?
They’re not shacks, they are net sheds – historic remnants of a once thriving fishing village!
So tell me what is a net shed?
First a little background; About 120 years ago Croatian immigrants settled in this protected harbor. They built their homes near the water with their family net shed close by right over the water. They brought knowledge and skills from their homeland and are credited with introducing purse seining (pocket net type) fishing to the Puget Sound.
So what was a net shed used for?
Yep, as the name says- storing nets! The cotton nets (seine) were dipped in tar for waterproofing and great care was taken of this vital tool used for the family business. These nets are very bulky and needed to be stacked orderly and out of the elements. So the net shed is like keeping the valuable family Mercedes garaged. If built large enough they would also be used for storing and repairing equipment used on the commercial fishing vessels.
There are 17 documented historic net sheds remaining on the shores of Gig Harbor. Most are privately owned and are in various states of repair. Some remain in use by 3rd & 4th generation Croatians who continue the family fishing business, while others are barely standing after 100 years of use.
Now you can look at those “sheds” and say thanks for preserving the past of this beautiful fishing village.