The March 29th Kitsap Sun newspaper article popped up in my news feed: Sound Brewery Will Take Over Campana’s Building in Poulsbo. Somewhere in an unused file on my brain’s hard drive was a file that said the building that was about to become a brewpub began it’s life as a school. More research was necessary. Luckily for me, Chris Campana, the restaurant’s owner, happened to be there when I dropped by to take photos and the volunteers at The Poulsbo Historical Museum were their usual helpful selves.
Built in 1908, the building formerly known as Campanas was one of the early schools serving the Keyport and Pearson communities which are located several miles south of the building’s current Poulsbo Viking Way location. The early schools in Kitsap County were divided into much smaller community school districts, each with its own school building constructed on donated property of a community member with donated labor. As each community’s population grew or moved, new schools were built and old schools were abandoned or dismantled and rebuilt closer to the population center. Today one elementary school serves the Keyport and Pearson communities but from 1886 to 1952 a total of five tiny schools served students in both communities. It took some sleuthing to determine precisely which one of them was about to be reincarnated as a brewpub.
The first Keyport school was built in 1886. It was a 16 x 18 foot one room schoolhouse that opened on July 12th and closed three months later because without insulation or heat it could only operate 3-4 months a year. By 1891, the community decided that a larger school was needed south nearer the population center. There are conflicting records about whether the first school was abandoned or if it was dismantled and rebuilt as the second school and if the above photos are from school number one or school number two known as Kitsap Lake School. What is clear is that neither School 1 or School 2 is about to become Sound Brewery.
By 1907 the community again decided it needed a new school. It levied itself $205.00 for building materials and labor for the one room building and held “basket socials” to raise money for blackboards, bookcases, desks and a heating stove. School 3, more commonly known as South Keyport School, opened in 1908. By 1911, the school needed to be expanded and a $1200 bond was passed to add a new classroom. South Keyport School operated from 1908 to 1941. By 1941 the various community school districts had consolidated as North Kitsap School District. Most students from South Keyport School were transferred to other schools and by 1949 South Keyport School was totally abandoned. But that’s when it began its second life.
The abandoned school was purchased by the North Kitsap Baptist Church in 1951. The church intended to move the entire structure to land it had purchased on Viking Way, but the roads were too narrow to move the building intact and so it was dismantled for the relocation. Much of the lumber, the windows and the bell and bell tower were salvaged and used in the new church. By the early 1970s, the church had outgrown the building and so they purchased property on Little Valley Road in Poulsbo, built a new building and held their first service there on March 3, 1976. Again, what was once the little South Keyport schoolhouse sat vacant.
In 1976 the Campana family who already ran a successful restaurant in Bremerton, bought the schoolhouse building and opened it as an Italian restaurant.
As a tribute to the building’s origins, the Campana bar was decorated with school memorabilia.
Twenty-five years later the family closed the restaurant and leased the building to Sound Brewery who intends to move their brewing operations with the addition of a small food menu. School to Church to Restaurant to Brewery. It’s an auspicious start for the brewpub’s new location.
A Note: The helpful volunteers at the Poulsbo Historical Museum let me borrow an amazing book called The Way It Was in Kitsap Schools. Written and published by The Kitsap County Retired Teachers this heavily researched archive of stories, facts, school board minutes, photos and memories is a treasure for anyone researching the history of public education in Kitsap County. Many of the details for this post came from the book. It’s dedication reads, “This book is dedicated to the past, present and future people involved in education.” Because I’m so intrigued with its contents, you’ll be reading more blog posts that connect their labor of love research to current events.