Port Townsend, WA

Port Townsend, Washington

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Port Townsend, located on the northeast tip of the Quimper Peninsula, grew from a single log cabin (built in 1851) to a Victorian-era boomtown in the 1880s. It flourished as Washington’s “Key City” and swelled with a population of 20,000. It functioned as the port of entry for Puget Sound, its waterfront a dense forest of great sailing-ship masts. The city’s prosperity and promise were both real and anticipated, its future dependent upon the railroad. Townspeople, businessmen, and speculators assumed that Port Townsend would become the northwestern terminus of the transcontinental railway system. But their dreams were dashed when the rails stopped at Seattle, assuring that town’s future as Washington’s capital of commerce. By 1893 Port Townsend had gone bust and would languish where it lay for more than half a century. In the 1960s Port Townsend’s Victorian charm was rediscovered, and since then many of its beautiful old brick buildings have been restored and now house interesting shops, galleries, taverns, and restaurants. Most of its stately old houses and mansions also have been refurbished; a number of them function as bed-and-breakfast inns. In some communities the terms uptown and downtown are used interchangeably, and the districts aren’t always easy to distinguish.
Driving the Pacific Coast: Oregon & Washington

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Driving the Pacific Coast: Oregon & Washington

by Kathy Strong (Editor) (Insiders' Guide)

Port Townsend, located on the northeast tip of the Quimper Peninsula, grew from a single log cabin (built in 1851) to a Victorian-era boomtown in the 1880s. It flourished as Washington’s “Key City” and swelled with a population of 20,000. It functioned as the port of entry for Puget Sound, its waterfront a dense forest of great sailing-ship masts. The city’s prosperity and promise were both real and anticipated, its future dependent upon the railroad. Townspeople, businessmen, and speculators assumed that Port Townsend would become the northwestern terminus of the transcontinental railway system. But their dreams were dashed when the rails stopped at Seattle, assuring that town’s future as Washington’s capital of commerce.

By 1893 Port Townsend had gone bust and would languish where it lay for more than half a century. In the 1960s Port Townsend’s Victorian charm was rediscovered, and since then many of its beautiful old brick buildings have been restored and now house interesting shops, galleries, taverns, and restaurants. Most of its stately old houses and mansions also have been refurbished; a number of them function as bed-and-breakfast inns. In some communities the terms uptown and downtown are used interchangeably, and the districts aren’t always easy to distinguish.

© 2006 Kathy Strong (Editor)/Insiders' Guide. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Port Townsend
Season: Year-round
Local Contacts: Contact information for all attractions is provided in the eTrail
Driving Directions: Directions to Port Townsend, WA

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Apr 2018