Friday, July 5, 2024

Port Townsend, Washington

Port Townsend is a gateway to Pugit Sound located at the northeastern tip of the Olympic Peninsula and is known for its many Victorian buildings and as a maritime center for independent boatbuilders and related industries.  Founded in 1851, the city was originally expected to become the largest harbor on the west coast of the United States.  By the late 19th century, Port Townsend was a well-known seaport and was also planned to be the northwest end of the rail lines.  When the depression hit, the rail lines were never extended to the city and ended on the east side of Puget Sound, in Tacoma and Seattle.  The town is now a retirement and tourist destination, with an annual internatinal film festival, boat festivals, a writers conference, playwright festival, and blues and jazz festivals.

We wander around town and admire the Victorian architecture which was principally build in the 1880s and 1890s when Port Townsend leaders worked to create a "New York of the West."

Victorian architecture

Much of the city is oriented around the water, with ferries, pleasure craft, and whale watching cruises filling the docks and moorings.


Canada across the water

Working boats

Pleasure craft

Whale watching


Coast Guard

At the end of town, a totem pole commemorates the Native American heritage of the region.

Native american

The small harbor is lined with shipyards and boatshops.


On the waterfront, a gray whale skeleton is displayed for our fun and admiration.

Gray whale

From downtown, steps up the bluff lead to the elegant homes built by the early investors in the town, constructed overlooking the town ("uptown" and "downtown").

Up to the grand houses on the bluff

Port Townsend never realized its dream of becoming a leading port, but it has transitioned into a wonderful small town for culture, tourism, boat building, and pleasure on the water.

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