Long the hunting, harvesting, and picnicking domain of the Suquamish tribe, Bainbridge Island was "discovered" by the Europeans in 1792 when Capt. George Vancouver sailed into Puget Sound. While the Suquamish revered the plentiful cedar trees, it was the tall stands of Douglas fir that attracted the European immigrants. Deep–water harbors at Port Madison and Port Blakely soon were sites of lumber mills harvesting the enormous first growth timber.
Scandinavians, Japanese, southern Europeans, Hawaiians, Chinese, African Americans, and others soon found employment as the mills fed the world's need for lumber. The Hall Brothers Shipbuilding Firm joined the mill at Port Blakely adding ships to the exportation of lumber. After WWI the last mill at Port Blakely closed and Bainbridge Island was no longer the center of worldwide industry. The harbors today are peaceful and ringed with homes of the wealthy.