Harbor History Museum, formerly the Gig Harbor Peninsula History Museum
Copyright 2008 GHPHS
Shenandoah Restoration Project
Return to Programs page

Preserving the rich fishing heritage of the harbor

The 65-foot purse seiner, Shenandoah, was donated to the Gig Harbor Peninsula Historical Society & Museum in 2000. The fishing vessel was owned by Tony Janovich, who donated it to the society shortly after his retirement. Tony spent 58 years in the commercial fishing industry.

After restoration, visitors will be able to explore around and aboard the vessel. Educational exhibits and programs will help to explain the history and technology of the local commercial fishing industry and explore the way of life of fishermen and their families.

Shenandoah's history

The Shenandoah was built in 1925 at the Skansie Ship Building Company in Gig Harbor. She was built for Pasco Dorotich, a pioneer Gig Harbor fishing boat owner and skipper. The vessel was originally powered by a 65 hp Atlas Imperial diesel engine.

The Shenandoah was operated almost exclusively at the Salmon Banks in the San Juan Islands. She also made several trips to Alaska. Pasco's son, John, took over operations in the 1930s.

Tony Janovich purchased the Shenandoah from the Dorotich estate in 1967 and operated the vessel successfully for the next 32 years, until his retirement. Tony made many improvements and additions during his ownership. A new, larger pilothouse was fitted to the deck at Art Glein's Gig Harbor shipyard in 1948. Longtime local shipwright Hugh Denny did much
of the work on the project. New bulwarks were added by Henry Moller at the Skansie Shipyard a few years later.

The Shenandoah is one of only two Skansie-built purse seiners remaining in Gig Harbor. She will serve as a tribute to the boat builders and fishermen of the region for decades to come.

Partnering with Coastal Heritage Alliance (CHA), the museum has begun the stabilization process for the Shenandoah. Master Shipwright Mike Vlahovich of CHA is overseeing the project along with several apprentices eager to learn wooden boat restoration. If you are interested in helping CHA and the museum with the restoration project, click on the link below for a list of volunteer opportunities.



Pasco Dorotich on "Shenandoah," 1926
Shenandoah just before she was removed from the bay and moved to the site of the future Harbor History Museum, 2003

Coastal Heritage Alliance (CHA) is a partner organization working with the society to stabilize and restore the Shenandoah. Learn about CHA at:

Restoration Photo Gallery
Click here