Bremerton was platted in 1891, and it occupied part of the homesteads of Warren Smith and Theodore Williams on the north side of Port Orchard Bay. The land had been logged off and was a field of stumps with all the debris that usually followed the logger, except for such parts of the homesteads as the sturdy settlers had been able to clear, and that was not any considerable part of the total area.
The vision which gave birth to the town was the vision of William Bremer, who had come to the Port Orchard Bay region three years prior to the date of platting, and who had been engaged in the real estate business with an office in the village then known as Port Orchard, located on the land which in later years became known as Charleston. Mr. Bremer saw in the strategic location of the bay region the possibility of a naval station, and it was due to his efforts more than to the efforts of any other man that the present Naval Shipyard became an actuality.
William Bremer was born in Seesen, Duchy of Brunswick, Germany, 12 June 1863. As a young man he sent to South Dakota with his parents and in 1888 he came to the then Territory of Washington, landing at Seattle. Looking around, he saw the advantages of Kitsap County with its rich timber resources and its proximity to Seattle, which city he conceived as the coming metropolis of the Northwestern Country. He soon located in Port Orchard to engage in the real estate business.
The movement for a naval station near Seattle had been started many years prior to the coming of Mr. Bremer, but it had vegetated most of that time, and it was not until the coming of Lieutenant A.B. Wyckoff as the representative of the Secretary of the Navy for the purpose of purchasing the land for the site of a dry-dock, that Mr. Bremer put his plans into action and took it upon himself to aid as much as possible in the location of the plant and in the development of the region surrounding the site. It was in this way that Bremerton was born.
For years it now seemed that Mr. Bremer was about the only man in the region who saw tremendous development. For the struggling town grew so slowly that there was no form of town government until 1900, or a full ten years after the plats had been filed. There were good reasons for this lack of interest on the part of the people. Washington and the Northwest were in the midst of a timber cutting tournament, and every man was interested in getting into the production of lumber in some form. The idea that the United States might develop a Navy Yard near Seattle and right in the heart of the fast developing world of stumps, could not find lodgment in the brain of the average man of the period.
By 1901, Bremerton had grown considerably, and it was necessary to have some form of city control. The incorporation was completed in 1901, and Mr. A. L. Croxton was elected Mayor. Mr. Croxton assumed office on October 16 and served through the period ending 12 January 1904.
After serving his city and the State of Washington ably and well for more than a score of years, William Bremer died 28 December 1910. His most lasting monument is the Naval Shipyard, Puget Sound as it is and as it shall be in the years to come.
Bremerton has one of the most picturesque settings of any city in the Northwest. It is located on one of the fine, protected harbors of Puget Sound and is the gateway to one of the greatest playgrounds in the United States, the Olympic Peninsula, where mountains, glaciers, forests, lakes, mountain streams and the sea make it an ideal recreational area. It has within its corporate limits the best equipped Navy Yard in the United States. Bremerton is now a thriving city of approximately 38,000 people. The ships of the United States Navy come and go throughout each year, coming for repairs and overhauls.