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Then & Now: 1940s-1960s

Updated: May 28, 2020

Can you figure out where each of these photos was taken?

To slightly narrow down the options, all three locations are in the greater Gig Harbor, Washington, area. All three are near salt water. All three contain hints that tell you when and where they were taken. Look closely for clues, test your theories, and we'll post the NOW pictures over the weekend so you can see how well you did. Good luck!


Clue: If this car could talk what would it say? Would it tell you some stories of life by the bay?


Clue: The bridge and towers give it away. What would be behind you if you stood there today?

The Answer: Peninsula High School. This view is from the hill in front of the school, looking toward the Purdy Sandspit. The tide may be out, but key elements remain, even if changed. Here are a few things to look for:

  1. Electric Towers: Power cables run over the Burley Lagoon on tall towers. How have they changed from about 1940 to 2020? Can you spot the difference?

  2. Dining Car and Taco Truck: Located in about the same spot, the old train dining car may be gone, but the idea of a quick stop for a good bite remains.

  3. The Oyster Biz: The lagoon has long been home to an abundance of oysters. You can see the pile of shells in both then and now.

  4. The Road: While little evidence of the old Highway 16 shows along the base of the hill in THEN, it became a dominant feature in later years, until the highway bypass was built to help reduce traffic congestion at the Purdy Bridge.

  5. Stores: At the time of the top photo, the main grocery store in this scene was the Wauna Store located at the far side of the Purdy spit. You can just see it at the top center of the photo. The dock, store, and postoffice were there for decades before being torn down about 20 years ago. Bridgeway Market now occupies the old oyster company site on the Purdy side of the spit, and Local Boys occupies the location of what was once the Peninsula High School Marine Biology Lab in the 1970s. Businesses may change, but the landscape stays largely the same.


Clue: Waterside log dump, where could it be? If you stood there today, what would you see?

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