Date of Award

Fall 12-14-2018

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of arts (BA)


Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Libi Sundermann


The Skansie name is commonplace even today in Gig Harbor, Washington and the fishing communities of the Puget Sound, but it was once known from Southern California to Alaska. The Skansies departed the Dalmatian coast in a time of growing unrest with almost nothing and headed to America in search of only an opportunity to work for a better life. They were part of a mass wave of emigration out of Europe, spurred on in part by the introduction of the steamship. When the family settled as fishermen in the Puget Sound in 1903, Peter, Joseph, Mitchell, and Andrew Skansie were keenly aware of the limitations that existed in wooden fishing vessels at the time and became active participants in the resurgence of wooden shipbuilding in the Pacific Northwest. The wooden vessels they produced made the Skansie name synonymous with quality and craftsmanship. Over two-hundred wooden vessels would be launched to the sea from the ways of the Skansie shipyard, including launches, steamers, purse seiners, ferries, and pleasure craft. These vessels kept the harbor running, fisherman filling their holds, and people commuting through the Sound. The Skansies and the rest of the immigrant fishing community loved their new country and showed unmatched patriotism when needed. The lasting impacts of both the Skansie family and the Skansie Shipbuilding Company on the Puget Sound region are clearly represented in the historical record, yet academic scholarship has failed to recognize these contributions in any quantifiable way. This paper acts to fill that gap.