Americans from the Pacific Northwest lived, hunted,
traded and battled along the rivers, shoreline and mountains of what is now Jefferson
County. The SKlallams 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 its 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 towns first major
commercial undertaking. Only 3 years after the citys 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 Franciscos Barbary Coast.
As the population increased, the town reached a tentative agreement with the Oregon
Improvement Company, a subsidiary of the Union Pacific Railroad, to route its 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 its 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 1970s 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 its been the
countys largest employer ever since. Now, the Port Townsend Paper Corp. turns wood
chips and recycled cardboard into paper products.
Although Port Townsend has a long maritime history, the marine trades
industry as its found today began in the 1980s. Wooden, steel, fiberglass,
commercial or pleasure, this is the place to get work done. Its 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
by its 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.
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 dont 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
Here is some of what happens around here--
Happy New Year!
Great time for a skiing/snow boarding trip
Sushi and Sake
Valentines Ball and Auction
Have a special dinner downtown
Try out some PT Ale
Train Show and Swap Meet
Earth Day Events
Eat some Dabob oysters
Rhododendron Festival/Rhody Run XXII
Hood Canal Shrimp Festival
Taste some local wines
Olympic Music Festival starts
Port Townsend Blues Festival and Workshop
Steam some clams and mussels
Port Townsend Summer Band Concerts at Chetzemoka Park
Low Tide Festival
Jazz Port Townsend
Free Concerts on the dock - downtown
Port Townsend Blues Festival
Jefferson County Fair
Classic Car Show
Lots of food at the Fair!
Wooden Boat Festival
West Coast Sea Kayak Symposium
Port Townsend Film Festival
Kinetic Sculpture Race Weekend
Trick or Treat Parade
Salmon on the grill!
Taste of Port Townsend
Sample everything at the Taste!
B&B Christmas Open Parlor
Christmas Tree Lighting and Carols