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Gig Harbor Now and Then: Sports scores from the 1930s may not be what you expect

Posted on September 11th, 2023 By: Greg Spadoni

The previous question posed by Gig Harbor Now and Then was:

What two different sports were the girls’ teams playing in 1930 when Gig Harbor’s Union High School beat Vaughn Union High 17-15, then lost to Olalla 5-4; and in 1935 when Rosedale School beat Crescent Valley School 66-22?

Answer: basketball and baseball, respectively.

In what seems completely backwards today, it was not unusual for both boys’ and girls’ baseball games of that era to end with higher scores than their basketball games.

Even so, 5 to 4 in basketball?! That’s only five baskets in the whole game, unless they were all foul shots, which would total a mere nine makes.

On Gig Harbor Now’s Facebook page, Paul Spadoni (why does that name sound vaguely familiar?) guessed that because volleyball had not yet become popular in the 1930s, and that the scores given weren’t indicative of volleyball anyway, the two sports must be basketball and softball (baseball). That’s right on the money, but he didn’t specify which scores represented which sport. So we don’t know if he realized the low scores are from basketball games. No matter. He got the two sports right.

The nine players on Gig Harbor’s Union High School girls’ basketball team in 1930 were, from left to right, front row: Lois Jones, Carol Rowley, Margaret Alvestad, Jane Shaw; back row: Helen Alvestad, Violet Shaw, Vivian Thompson, Naomi Hampton, and Agnes Hampton. Miss Alice Oksness was their coach. This 1930 yearbook photo was found at the Harbor History Museum.

Half-court hoops

The year 1930 was unusual for Gig Harbor’s Union High School sports in that while the girls had a basketball team, the boys did not. Owing to not having a regulation court to play on, the boys were unable to join a school league, so did not form a team. Several of the boys instead played in the Kitsap County League, which was not affiliated with Union High in Gig Harbor.

The girls played half-court ball, which might explain their ability to field a team without the benefit of a regulation court. They also played with some very different rules than the boys. But still, 5 to 4 in basketball?!

In the 1935 baseball game, Rosedale girls Virginia Drake, Virginia Sloat, Clara Stickelman, Mary Stickelman, Anna Bowman, Patricia Whitmore, Camilla Sehmel, Ruby Berg, and Violet Drake went to Crescent Valley School and thrashed the competition 66 to 22. The unnamed Rosedale correspondent for The Peninsula Gateway wrote of the contest:

“The Crescent Valley Diamond was evidently laid out for a Mickey Mouse team as it is so darned small that the pitcher can reach over and shake hands with the catcher without getting out of the box, and can’t wind up for the pitch without upper cutting the second baseman. Our girls who were all batting 1000 and smacking out home runs every time they come to bat, got dizzy running around the bases … and it is a good thing they laid out the field with a thick blackberry patch in the outfield to stop the Rosedale grounders or the score might have gone over the thousand mark.”

The Stickelman sisters, Mary (left) and Clara, four years after they and their teammates from Rosedale crushed Crescent Valley School in baseball. These 1939 yearbook photos were found at the Harbor History Museum.

Sometimes, the girls played the boys. The Bay-Island News reported on Aug. 13, 1920, that in baseball — at least in Vaughn, on the Key Peninsula — the boys didn’t always win: “The girls beat the boys … score 36 to 29, so received the prize cake. The girls shared with the boys and all were treated to grape juice.”

That brings up the pointed question: If the boys had won, would they have shared the prize cake?

Doesn’t seem likely, does it?

The relic at Ancich Park

Ancich Waterfront Park is one of Gig Harbor’s newest parks.

This week, we move from ballparks to city parks. Ancich Waterfront Park on the Gig Harbor shoreline consists of Lots 5, 6, and 7 of Block 3 of the original Millville plat, recorded in 1888.  Those three northwestern-most lots incorporate the Jerkovich family dock on the portion that used to be Lot 5. It’s a modern wharf with an impressive aluminum ramp, gates, and railings. But what’s that old, degraded, disconnected relic beside it, peppered with clumps of moss and broken clam shells?

A small portion of the old Jerkovich dock remains beside the current dock at Ancich Waterfront Park. Photos by Greg Spadoni

That would be the old Jerkovich dock. Perhaps unique in Gig Harbor, it was paved with asphalt. That brings us to a slew of questions this week:

Who paved the old Jerkovich dock?


  • When was it paved?
  • What are the names of two of the three truck drivers who backed dump trucks loaded with 400-degree asphalt onto the wooden dock, probably the heaviest loads seen on a Gig Harbor wharf since the days of the logging railroad on the east side of the bay?
  • How much did the loaded trucks weigh?

A nearly dead-giveaway hint to the first question: I didn’t have to look up any of the answers.

The degree of difficulty ranges widely between the four questions. The first is no more than a 1 (out of 5). That answer should be plainly obvious, at least to old timers. Someone in the Jerkovich family probably has the date tucked away somewhere, so that probably rates a 2. But the names of two of the drivers? Not so easy. One of those names is probably a 3, the other a bit more difficult, at 4. The weight of the trucks is a very difficult 5.

That makes the degrees of difficulty 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Get them all right and that’s a great poker hand. But due to the official Gig Harbor Now and Then Rule Book and Style Guide expressly forbidding wagering, no advantage can be gained by it.

Gig Harbor Now and Then will have the answers on Sept. 25. In the meantime, you’re invited to visit the Gig Harbor Now Facebook page and post your guesses and other thoughts about today’s questions, and read what others have to say about them.

Comments on basketball games with scores in single digits and baseball games with combined scores over 80 are also welcomed.

Five to four in basketball?!

Greg Spadoni of Olalla has had more access to local history than most life-long residents. During 25 years in road construction working for the Spadoni Brothers, his first cousins, twice removed, he traveled to every corner of the Gig Harbor and Key Peninsulas, taking note of many abandoned buildings, overgrown farms, and roads that no longer had a destination. Through his current association with the Harbor History Museum in Gig Harbor as the unofficial Chief (and only) Assistant to Linda McCowen, the Museum’s primary photo archive volunteer, he regularly studies the area’s largest collection of visual history. Combined with the print history available at the Museum and online, he has uncovered countless stories of long-forgotten local people and events.