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Civil Rights and Labor History Consortium / University of Washington

Restricted Properties - Bremerton and Kitsap County

This map shows where racial restrictions were added to property records in the decades before 1968. Legally binding, the restrictions barred people of color from buying, renting, or occupying property. More than 2,300 properties were legally restricted in Kitsap County. Zoom and pan for a closer look. Click on any parcel to see the restriction. Do not assume that areas without marks were not restricted. Deed restrictions were only one of the mechanisms of segregation. Neighborhoods without covenants often practiced racial exclusion by other means. The Layers List below allows you to activate layers that show the racial demography of neighborhoods in the 2020.

(Maps by Liz Peng)

Sources:

These are preliminary findings and subject to revision. We have identified restricted properties by combing through Kitsap County deed books located in Puget Sounds Regional Archives. We are still adding and confirming data.

On the map above, do not assume that areas without marks were not restricted. Deed restrictions were only one of the mechanisms of segregation. Neighborhoods without covenants often practiced racial exclusion by other means.

When you click on a property, the pop-up displays address, subdivision (plat), the language of restriction, developer, initial date of restriction. Documentation can be either a deed, plat document covering all properties in the subdivision, CCR (separate document filed by developer covering the subdivision), petition filed by a group of owners covering their listed properties. The last possibility is "Sanborn rule." In the 1925 Sanborn V. McLean case, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that restrictions could apply even if not mentioned in a deed of sale provided the developer had routinely imposed them in earlier sales. Courts in other states followed this rule of "implied covenants" which usually meant that an entire subdivision was covered by a restriction imposed by the original developer. Where we have found many deeds restricted by the original developer, we assume that the rest were similarly restricted under the Sanborn rule.

There is a logic to the geography. Areas platted (subdivided) between 1925 and 1950 were most likely to be restricted. Realtors and developers wrote racial exclusions into the initial documents subdividing a future neighborhood. All properties in the subdivision were thus legally restricted. It was more complicated to restrict older areas. Neighborhood associations sometimes organized petition drives and convinced white homeowners to add racial restriction clauses to their properties.

Look at the language of restriction in these deeds. Some specify that neighborhoods are reserved for "Whites," while others enumerate the prohibited racial groups. And the wording is curious. In the terminology of the 1920s-1940s "Hebrews" meant Jews; "Ethiopians" meant African ancestry; "Malays" meant Filipinos; "Mongolians" meant all East Asians; "Hindus" meant all south Asians.