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All About Port Townsend, Washington

- by Jodie Vinson

Port Townsend is a colony of creative artists and entrepreneurs gathered on the shores of the Strait of Juan de Fuca in an attempt to escape the pressures and conformity of urban life. The progressive community has cultivated an artistic culture not commonly found outside of urban centers. With its festivals, events, galleries, and workshops Port Townsend offers visitors the rich cultural advantages of city dwellers along with something the city can't offer: a small town atmosphere centered in the protected beauty of a natural landscape. Port Townsend is located at the northeast tip of the Olympic Peninsula, surrounded on three sides by the waters of Discovery Bay, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and Port Townsend Bay, with the Olympic Mountains at its back. It is one of three Victorian seaports on the U.S. National Historic Register.

The merits of the harbor were first recognized by Captain Vancouver in 1792 who named it "Port Townshend" for a friend. The city was settled in 1851 with hopes of becoming the largest harbor in the west. Many of the Native American tribes that originally inhabited the area were killed by disease brought on through contact with early white settlers. The seaport did thrive for a time in the late 1800's, during which much of the elaborate Victorian architecture that defines the town was built. The city saw harder times when a railroad failed to reach them.

In the town's vicinity Fort Warden guarded the entrance of the Puget Sound. The fort was established in the late 1890's as a frontline defense to the cities beyond the peninsula. The fort served for a time as a State Detention Center until 1955 when it became a State Park committed to furthering the arts through conferences and workshops. The artistic community began to thrive around Port Townsend's rich resources as newcomers began opening small shops and galleries downtown.

During the 1970's many were drawn to the town, restoring its old buildings and preserving the history still evident on its streets today through such structures as the Carnegie Library, the Federal Building, the Rose Theatre, the Elks Lodge and the Jefferson County Courthouse. The maritime activity that always defined the town continues to thrive in Port Townsend, home to highly skilled marine tradesmen and host of many regattas and recreational boating.

Port Townsend Chamber of Commerce

Port Townsend City Guide

Enjoy Port Townsend Official Tourism Guide

City of Port Townsend

Port of Port Townsend

Port Townsend & Jeferson County Leader Community Newspaper

Peninsulla Daily News Regional Newspaper

Port Townsend Farmers Market

Port Townsend Marine Science Center

Port Townsend Sailing Association

Port Townsend Bicycle Asociation

Port Townsend Marine Trades Association

Port Townsend Mainstreet Program

Port Townsend Scene

Port Townsend Arts Guild

Port Townsed Community Orchestra

Port Townsend TV

Port Townsend Summer Band

Port Townsend Scene