Port Townsend, WA
Along the Admiralty Inlet of Puget Sound lies the charming historic town of Port Townsend. A major tourist destination on the Olympic Peninsula this rain shadowed location has an ideal climate to escape the rains of the Pacific Northwest. Hosting a population of nearly 10,000 residents (2016) it exists as a county seat and the only incorporated city in Jefferson County Washington. It is well known for its Victorian architecture that was specialized during the city’s popularity in the 19th century. It is a hotbed of activity for fairs, cultural events, and hand crafts today. Being home to an important ferry port from Seattle, it brings to its docks thousands of tourists daily. Once a important boat building maritime center, and related industries. Named after the bay “Port Townshend” by Captain George Vancouver in 1792 it has always been seen as a good safe harbour for anchorage. It is also known as the “City of Dreams” as it was originally believed would become the largest harbor on the west coast. Originally inhabited by the Chimakum, Hoh, Klallam, Quinault, and Twana peoples it wasn’t settled by Euro-Americans until the 1850s. It was named as an official settlement on April 24, 1851. By the 20th century it was a very well known seaport active in commerce, banking, and construction. This is when the population boom and construction took place in Port Townsend, with a focus on ornate Victorian homes. By 1888 the town’s police department was established. The Railroad reached town in the 1870-1890s giving this location the most northwest extension of the rail lines. Many overseas vessels stopped here. The depression however changed much of this. Industry and port use shifted to Tumwater, Seattle, and Tacoma. Port Townsend saw a rapid decline in population due to this and experienced some isolation. Fort Worden boosted the industry and population during the construction of the batteries and artilleries, military use, and as a center for juvenile detention. After it was abandoned and turned into a State Park, tourism replaced some of the military popularity. The economy was weak until the 1920s until a paper mill was established bringing employment and an economic boom. Because of the varied history and economic fluxuations, the Victorian architecture was never changed nor upgraded and stayed preserved for nearly a hundred years making the area a valued historic landmark. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977. The area has a moderate Mediterranean climate with damp, chilly winters yet warm, dry summers being located in the Olympic rain shadow and only receiving an average of 18.75 inches a year.