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waterphotoptsm.jpg (6901 bytes)Native Americans from the Pacific Northwest lived, hunted, traded and battled along the rivers, shoreline and mountains of what is now Jefferson County. The S’Klallams were the most populous tribe, although the Quilcene and Chimikum Tribes also lived here.

In 1792 Captain George Vancouver sailed his ship, the HMS Discovery, up the Strait of Juan de Fuca, into what is now known as the Puget Sound. He observed what his log describes as " a very safe and capacious harbor", which he named Port Townshend in honor of the English Marquis of Townshend.

The first boatload of settlers arrived in 1852. Owing to it’s naturally deep harbor, in 1853 Port Townsend became the official port of entry for Puget Sound. Like many Puget Sound communities to follow, Port Townsend began as a farming and logging town. Potential was seen in its natural resources, but seafaring was the town’s first major commercial undertaking. Only 3 years after the city’s founding, the U.S./ government made Port Townsend the headquarters of its Puget Sound customs district. The small settlement became a thriving international seaport, with a reputation as notorious as San Francisco’s Barbary Coast.

chetz2sm.jpg (7175 bytes)As the population increased, the town reached a tentative agreement with the Oregon Improvement Company, a subsidiary of the Union Pacific Railroad, to route it’s line from the Columbia River to Port Townsend. The speculation boom was on. The population of Port Townsend doubled. Property values skyrocketed. Business flourished. But, the railroad made it’s decision to terminate in Seattle instead of Port Townsend and then a nationwide economic slump hit. Port Townsend settled into a slumber.

The town changed little until the 1970’s when Victorian restoration and tree-planting projects were initiated. The first bed and breakfast inn opened in 1973. In 1976, the Downtown waterfront district and the residential area on the bluff were designated a National Historic District. Later, Fort Worden (now a state park) and the city of Port Townsend were designated National Landmarks. The city is further recognized as one of only three Victorian seaports on the National Historic Register.

In 1928, Port Townsend became the site of a paper mill, and it’s been the county’s largest employer ever since. Now, the Port Townsend Paper Corp. turns wood chips and recycled cardboard into paper products.

ptwatersm.jpg (2806 bytes)Although Port Townsend has a long maritime history, the marine trades industry as it’s found today began in the 1980’s. Wooden, steel, fiberglass, commercial or pleasure, this is the place to get work done. It’s also the home of the annual Wooden Boat Festival.

Port Townsend is an area of great natural beauty, bordered by the waters of Discovery Bay, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Port Townsend Bay. Beyond lie the Cascade Mountains to the east and the Olympic Range to the west. The waters off Point Wilson are legendary among Northwest fishermen.

Heavily influenced by it’s coastal location and the orographic (having to do with mountains and ranges) influence of the Olympic Mountains, East Jefferson County is fairly dry compared to the rest of the Olympic Peninsula. The proximity of the Olympic Mountains to the Pacific Ocean creates moderate temperatures with few extremes. Port Townsend receives about 16-18 inches of rain per year. Conditions may vary from rainy to windy to warm and dry, but high humidity and suffocating heat are rare. Freezing temperatures and snow are also rare.

smharborsm.jpg (4617 bytes)Port Townsend and the environs offers many sites for a wide variety of activities. Sailing, kayaking, skateboarding, hiking, camping, golfing, tennis and bird watching are popular here. Both road biking and mountain bike riding are prevalent activities and there are numerous opportunities for varying levels of challenge. The beautiful stretches of sandy beach are great for strolling or beachcombing or watching the water activities....And you don’t have far to go to enjoy skiing and snowboarding in the winter months.

Centrum, a center for arts and creative education located in Fort Worden, hosts a wonderful range of activities from the Writers Conference to the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, from the renowned Jazz Port Townsend to the visits of the Seattle Symphony and Pacific Northwest Ballet. Fort Worden is also home to the Elderhostel and the Marine Science Center and the site for the Sea Kayak Symposium. It is also the setting for the start and the finish line of the annual Rhody Run. Fort Worden is a beautiful place

 

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Here is some of what happens around here--

January
Happy New Year!
Great time for a skiing/snow boarding trip
Sushi and Sake

February
Shipwrights’ Regatta
Valentine’s Ball and Auction
Playwright's Festival
Have a special dinner downtown

March
Victorian Festival
Kitemakers’ Conference
Try out some PT Ale

April
Train Show and Swap Meet
Earth Day Events
Eat some Dabob oysters

May
Rhododendron Festival/Rhody Run XXII
Hood Canal Shrimp Festival
Taste some local wines

June
Olympic Music Festival starts
Port Townsend Blues Festival and Workshop
Steam some clams and mussels

July
Port Townsend Summer Band Concerts at Chetzemoka Park
Low Tide Festival
Jazz Port Townsend
Free Concerts on the dock - downtown

August
Port Townsend Blues Festival
Jefferson County Fair
Classic Car Show
Lots of food at the Fair!

September
Wooden Boat Festival
West Coast Sea Kayak Symposium
Port Townsend Film Festival

October
Kinetic Sculpture Race Weekend
Trick or Treat Parade
Salmon on the grill!

November
Woodworks 2000
Taste of Port Townsend
Sample everything at the Taste!

December
B&B Christmas Open Parlor
Christmas Tree Lighting and Carols
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