Women at Work
 

 

Since the very earliest days of Bremerton, the Navy has played an important role in the city's economy and growth.

In the late 1800's the Navy determined that Point Turner - an area between Dyes and Sinclair Inlets would be an ideal location for a new Shipyard in the Puget Sound. The chosen land, owned by founding father William Bremer, was the basis for what is now the one of the largest employers in Kitsap County. 

During World War I the first submarine dry-docks were added and in 1933 our iconic Hammerhead Crane No. 28 was completed. World War II would change the landscape of Bremerton.

At the peak of World War II, Bremerton had over 80,000 residents due to the large number of jobs required for the Pacific war effort. People, especially women, relocated from across the United States to answer the Shipyard's call for a wartime workforce. While the population boom was not permanent, it engrained a deep and lasting connection to the Shipyard that Bremerton still cherishes today.

Because of the draft, which took many men out of the workforce, tens of thousands of government-contracted jobs needed filling. Women flocked to the opportunities. By 1943, over half of new hires in many shipyards were women.

The government was unsure how to handle their new workers and created poster campaigns describing various aspects of what was expected of them; everything from what a job entailed to what to wear to work. "Rosie the Riveter" is the most famous of these campaigns. 

"Heavy Jeens" comes directly from one of these posters - a description of what to wear to a Shipyard job. In our minds it stands for hard work, education, and of course is a tip of the hardhat to our beloved shipyard.

 Shipyard "Dress Code" poster from the archives of The Bancroft Library. University of California, Berkeley

Shipyard "Dress Code" poster from the archives of The Bancroft Library. University of California, Berkeley