The Army Corp of Engineers visited Puget Sound in 1867 and recognized the strategic significance of the region (as recommended by Lt. Charles Wilkes in 1841). Ten years later, Lt. Ambrose Barkely Wyckoff -- "Father of the Puget Sound Naval Yard" -- concurred with their opinion and asked Congress for funding, citing that the area was much closer to Japan and China than the base in San Francisco.
Still, the process was delayed until Washington's statehood in 1889 when Senator John B. Allen convinced the Navy to take another look at the area.
Assigned to the task, renowned naval strategist and historian Captain A.T. Mahan concluded that the Bremerton site was "the citadel of Puget Sound" being ideally suited due to its location on a deep water port, an adequate supply of raw materials, a skilled workforce and the fact that it could be easily defended.
Dry Dock #1 broke ground on Dec. 10, 1892 and was completed on Sept. 21, 1896. An economy that had evolved from logging, lumber, milling and shipbuilding to farming entered a new phase that continues to this day.
The Trident nuclear submarine base at Bangor, now part of Naval Base Kitsap, the torpedo testing base at Keyport as well as the shipyard and homeport in downtown Bremerton provide thousands of jobs in the region.
There are several unique opportunities for visitors who want to get a closer look at the Naval activity here. In Bremerton, you can go on a self-guided tour of the Viet Nam era destroyer USS Turner Joy which is docked on the waterfront.
The Bremerton Naval Museum (The Naval Memorial Museum of the Pacific), located a short walk from the waterfront on Pacific Avenue, provides visitors with a first hand glimpse of the historic significance of the U.S. Navy in the area.
In Keyport, the wonders of the deep blue sea are explored at the Naval Undersea Museum, which traces the history of deep sea exploration, diving apparatus, submarines and torpedo warfare.