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Port Townsend

Port Townsend, Washington
County of Jefferson.
National Register Number: 76001883
Resource type: District.
Property type: Historic District: Historical. The threat level was Watch in
Congressional District: WA-6 Certified Local Government: NO
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Current use/information: Town.

Statement of Significance (as of designation - May 5, 1977):
Once a customs station on Puget Sound, the town flourished in the 1880s, but collapsed in the 1889 land speculation debacle. The district contains many fine late 19th-century commercial and residential structures.

Point Hudson, located adjacent to what is now downtown Port Townsend, was used by local Indian tribes long before Captain Vancouver’s party came ashore in 1792. In 1934, the site became a U.S. Quarantine Station. Today the site is a tourist attraction, site of the annual Wooden Boat Festival, restaurants, moorage, small businesses, a bed and breakfast and private residences. The Port of Port Townsend has owned the property since 1956 but has leased it to a private management entity until last year. In 2003, Port officials approached the City of Port Townsend seeking demolition permits for all but three of the building on site, citing prohibitive costs to bring the buildings up to code. Most recently, the Port has backed off on immediate plans for demolition, and the City and local preservationists are working with the Port to seek alternatives for compatible new development and re-use of existing historic structures.

City Hall is a pivotal structure in the Port Townsend National Historic Landmark District. A 2004 matching grant of $280,000 from the federal Save America's Treasures program will be used to repair the exterior sandstone elements of the 1892 building, which have deteriorated due to age and to the past application of an incompatible cement coating. Contact was made on both of these projects through the owner contacting the NPS for technical assistance. Site visits and follow-up presentations were provided by the NPS on the Point Hudson Project.

Recommendation/Change since last report:
NPS will continue working with the Port, community, SHPO and preservation organizations in identifying alternatives that protect historic resources.

Comments and questions about the database may be directed to NHL_info@nps.gov