Slideshow - Life on Bainbridge Island before WWII, Farming Slideshow

After the mills shut down in the 1920s, strawberry farming took over as a major industry on Bainbridge Island. Land that had been cleared of its trees for the lumber industry was taken over by Nikkei farmers. They cleared the huge stumps that were left behind and began to plant crops. Their intensive work ethic paid off. In 1941 there were forty–three Japanese farms on Bainbridge Island with a total of 620 acres in cultivation. Twenty–seven of these farms were owned in part or whole and sixteen were leased. Japanese farms made up 80% of farm production and strawberry farming and processing was the single largest commercial activity on the island. At one point two–thirds of the strawberries grown in Washington came from Bainbridge Island.

Young Filipino men, seeking work on the farms, began to arrive on the Island in the late 1920s. They became the foremen for many of these Japanese farms and soon they too settled down and started families. When the Japanese farmers were forced to leave their land, they turned to their trusted Filipino workers to look after their homes and land while they were away. Due to the presence of people on the land and in the homes, vandalism and destruction was kept to a minimum, which allowed many Nikkei who owned their land to return at the close of the war.

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HISTORY – Pre WWII – Life on BI Before WWII

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