NORTH BAY HISTORICAL SOCIETY aLLYN wASHINGTON
Meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month at 6:30 pm at the
Allyn Historic Church
-Major clean up- inside & out
-Asbestos siding/hazardous materials removal and disposal
-Tyvek on Building
-Basic Stabilization - metal cables, bracing walls, beams replaced
-Clean up & Restoration of Windows
-Clean Up Inside: nails, drywall, etc. removed
-Concrete inside building removed and disposed of
-Full stabilization - repair/replace beams, studs and entire floor system
-Roof structure repaired & ready for shingles
-Replace windows & doors
Electrical - lighting and minimal outlets
-Interior restoration and finishing
-Plumbing, for circulating pump only - no restrooms
-Concrete layer on floor
PORT OF ALLYN:
-Demolish & dispose of existing launch ramp
-Construct piling & base
-Move structure to over-water location
SET UP MUSEUM - materials and volunteers will be needed
Humphrey ‘Hump’ Nelson harvested Olympia oysters on North Bay in the early to mid- 1900s. By 1926 he had purchased land north of Allyn which later was sold to Sargent Oyster Company. He, his wife and son Leo and mother-in-law lived on a float house attached to their oyster room (See photo) until 1928 when they built the house where the Sargent family lived and which is still on the property.
Hump’s groundbreaking work on preservation of oysters for sale are documented in the book Little Man Little Oyster published by the Mason County Historical Society in 1990. There is a picture of the original house in this book and it has changed very little over the years. There was a magazine article written about him and the impact he had on the oyster industry. The Olympia oyster was depleted to near extinction and eventually replaced commercially by the larger, imported Japanese Pacific oyster in 1937 (Nelson 1990). The oyster industry was essential in helping the region through the Great Depression and World War II by providing jobs and food when meat and money were in scarce supply.
Nelson owned the property until 1946, when Clem and Delores Sargent (Sargent Oyster Company) bought the land. In 1951, the Sargent family completed the oyster-processing house which stood on the property until February of 2015.
The Sargent Oyster Company and Coast Oyster in Allyn were the two main oyster operations in the mid-1900s. According to Mason County Assessor’s Office records, a variety of oyster or seafood companies, including Toke Point Oyster Company, the Coast Oyster Company and the Coast Seafood Company owned the property from the 1980’s to 1993. The building embodies the distinctive architectural characteristics of a typical oyster processing building during that period. The building does not appear to have undergone significant remodeling since it was constructed in the early 1950’s and therefore appears to be largely original in its style and construction. According to Artifacts, Inc. it is the last known, unaltered example of a structure of this type associated with the commercial shellfish industry in the Puget Sound region. A historian at the State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation said remaining oyster houses are rare as many have been demolished over the years.
After a four year battle to preserve the building, which was scheduled for destruction in December 2013 as part of a shoreline enhancement project, an agreement was entered into by the North Bay Historical Society, Port of Allyn, the Army Corps of Engineers, the South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement group and Washington Fish and Wildlife acknowledging that the Sargent Oyster Oyster Processing House is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. The Washington State Historic Preservation Officer concurred and agreed that the building would be turned over to the Port of Allyn for restoration and final placement. The building was moved in February of 2015 and clean up began.
In 2019 the Port entered into a lease agreement with the North Bay Historical Society for restoration of the building. The Port will do the waterfront portion of the project and a joint effort will be made to move the building onto the waterfront after full restoration. The Historical Society will have full responsibility for maintenance of the building and running the museum for 15 years.
Davis, Irene B.
1995 Allyn History. Report on File at the Mason County Historical Society, Shelton, Washington
Davis, Irene, Elton Cleveland, and Dorothy Gornick
2012 Notes on the History of Allyn, Electronic document
1990 The Little man and the Little Oyster. Ye Galleon Press, Fairfield, Washington