Port Townsend /ˈtaʊnzənd/ is a city on the Quimper Peninsula in Jefferson County, Washington, United States. The population was 9,113 at the 2010 United States Census and an estimated 9,551 in 2017. It is the county seat and only incorporated city of Jefferson County. In addition to its natural scenery at the northeast tip of the Olympic Peninsula, the city is known for the many Victorian buildings remaining from its late 19th-century heyday, numerous annual cultural events, and as a maritime center for independent boatbuilders and related industries and crafts. The Port Townsend Historic District is a U.S. National Historic Landmark District. It is also significantly drier than the surrounding region due to being in the Rainshadow of the Olympic Mountains, receiving only 19" of rain per year.
The heart of downtown Port Townsend, seen from the water
Location of Port Townsend, Washington
|• City Manager||David Timmons|
|• Total||7.35 sq mi (19.05 km2)|
|• Land||6.94 sq mi (17.98 km2)|
|• Water||0.41 sq mi (1.07 km2)|
|Elevation||131 ft (40 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||1,375.83/sq mi (531.18/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-8 (Pacific (PST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-7 (Pacific Daylight Time)|
|GNIS feature ID||1524589|
The bay was originally named "Port Townshend" by Captain George Vancouver in 1792, for his friend the Marquis of Townshend. It was immediately recognized as a good safe harbor, although strong south winds and poor holding ground often make small-craft anchorage problematic off the town's waterfront.
The official European-American settlement of the city of the same name took place on April 24, 1851. American Indian tribes located in what is now Jefferson County in the mid-19th century included the Chimakum (or Chemakum), Hoh (a group of the Quileute), Klallam (or Clallam), Quinault, and Twana (the Kilcid band — Anglicized as "Quilcene").
Port Townsend is called the "City of Dreams" because of the early speculation that the city would be the largest harbor on the west coast of the United States. Guarding the gate of Puget Sound, it would become known by its other nickname, the "Key City", a title that remains to this day.
By the late 19th century, Port Townsend was a well-known seaport, very active and banking on the future. Many homes and buildings were built during that time, with most of the architecture ornate Victorian. During this period, in 1888, the Port Townsend Police Department was established.
Railroads were built to reach more areas in the 1870-1890s, and Port Townsend was to be the northwest extension of the rail lines. Its port was large and frequented by overseas vessels, so shipping of goods and timber from the area was a major part of the economy. Many of the buildings were built on the speculation that Port Townsend would become a booming shipping port and major city. When the depression hit, those plans lost the capital to continue and rail lines ended on the east side of Puget Sound, mainly in Tumwater, Tacoma, and Seattle. With the other Puget Sound ports growing in size, Port Townsend saw a rapid decline in population when the Northern Pacific Railroad failed to connect the city to the eastern Puget Sound city of Tacoma. By the late 1890s, the boom was over. Without the railroad to spur economic growth, the town shrank and investors looked elsewhere to make a good return. (The Milwaukee Road built a short spur to the pulpmill and barged cars over from Anacortes.)
Over the decades that followed, Port Townsend maintained its economic stability in a variety of ways, including the development of artillery fortifications at Fort Worden. Many people left the area, and many buildings were abandoned. Port Townsend's economy was very weak until the 1920s, when a paper mill was built on the edge of the town. The bay is now home to Naval Magazine Indian Island, the US Navy's primary munitions-handling dock on the Pacific coast.
Since the 1970s new residents, including many retirees, have moved to town. The waterfront retail district has restaurants, services, and tourist destinations. Since 1999, the city has had an annual international film festival in September. Other cultural programming, some at Fort Worden, now a state park, includes a Wooden Boat Festival, writers' conference, and blues and jazz festivals, in addition to music, dance, and live theatre performances. The town has two independent movie theaters, both upgraded by 2014 to handle digital film.
Because of the speed at which the economy declined in the 1890s and the lack of any industry to replace it, none of the Victorian buildings were torn down or built over in the intervening period. They were essentially preserved for nearly 100 years, when the value of protecting them was appreciated and fostered.
The Port Townsend Historic District, an area including many Victorian-era buildings, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977.
Port Townsend is noted for its Victorian houses and significant historical buildings. The city has more than a dozen large, well-preserved buildings, including the Port Townsend Public Library (a 1913 Carnegie Library), the Federal Building (now commonly known as the city's post office), the Rose Theatre, and the Elks Lodge, which now houses Silverwater Cafe. Fort Worden, now a state park, has retained some of its pre-World War I architecture built when it was a military facility. Buildings have been adapted for other uses, including the publicly available Olympic Youth Hostel, which closed in 2011. The Jefferson County Courthouse is in a Romanesque architectural style, as popularized by Henry Hobson Richardson, with a 125-foot bell tower.
In 1976, the Downtown waterfront and parts of Uptown were designated a Registered Historic District. Later, Fort Worden (now part of Fort Worden State Park) and the City of Port Townsend were designated National Historic Landmarks. The city is one of three Victorian seaports on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Bell Tower on the bluff above downtown is one of two known towers of this type in the United States. It was used from 1890 to the 1940s to call volunteer firefighters. It was restored in 2003 by the Jefferson County Historical Society. The second bell tower is located in Helena, Montana, and was also used for fire alarms during the late 19th century.
The sign entering town calls Port Townsend a "Victorian Seaport and Arts Community." Port Townsend is host to several annual events such as the Port Townsend Wooden Boat festival, Kinetic Skulpture Race [sic] (since 1983), the Rhododendron Festival, and the annual blues and jazz festival.
Boating and maritime life are central elements in this port town, with regattas, weekly races, and a multitude of recreational opportunities. The marine trades industry is an anchor economic driver for the community, with highly skilled, world-renowned tradespeople. The port is home to many classic wooden boats, and gets visits from owners of others seeking repairs. The Northwest Maritime Center is located in a new facility on the waterfront, which also features a wooden boat shop. The Port Townsend Marine Science Center has facilities on a pier on the Fort Worden State Park beach.
Reflecting the numerous artists in the area, downtown has many galleries and two artists' collectives. The nonprofit Northwind Arts Center (founded in 2002) is located in the 1885 Waterman & Katz Building downtown. There is a monthly Art Walk, and a plethora of classes, workshops, and training are available locally. The history museum is also downtown.
Since 1999, Port Townsend has held an annual international film festival in September. The Rose Theatre downtown shows contemporary American and foreign films. The Uptown Theater shows family-oriented films, and a nearby drive-in theater is open during the summer. Key City Public Theatre is the local playhouse presenting many award-winning productions and Shakespeare in the Park in the summer.
Fort Worden State Park is home to a number of cultural organizations and venues. Centrum is a culture and arts organization that hosts a multitude of concerts, festivals, and workshops. These include "Fiddle Tunes", blues, jazz, voice, chamber music, and more. Copper Canyon Press, the poetry press, is located here, as are facilities for Goddard College, Madrona Mindbody Institute, Peninsula College, and the Port Townsend School of Woodworking. In late October and November 1981, Fort Worden was the central filming location for the 1982 movie An Officer And A Gentleman starring Richard Gere. Starting August 24th, 2019, Fort Worden will also host a new music festival called "Thing", created by Adam Zacks.
The Port Townsend Aero Museum is located at the local airport. Port Townsend has two dance schools for children and adults. The city is also home to Port Townsend Community Orchestra.
Port Townsend is located at  on the Quimper Peninsula which extends out of the extreme northeastern end of the Olympic Peninsula, on the north end of a large, semi-protected bay. Port Townsend is adjacent to the Admiralty Inlet and a trio of state parks built on retired artillery installations (Fort Worden, Fort Casey, and Fort Flagler). The city and its surroundings are well-treed, with large Douglas fir dominant over many other tree species in the remaining wooded areas.(48.116514, -122.775254),
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.46 square miles (24.50 km2), of which 6.98 square miles (18.08 km2) are land and 2.48 square miles (6.42 km2), or 26.22%, are water.
Washington State Route 20 runs southwest from Port Townsend 13 miles (21 km) to U.S. Route 101 at Discovery Bay. Port Angeles is 47 miles (76 km) west of Port Townsend by highway, and Bremerton is 48 miles (77 km) to the south. In addition to road links, Port Townsend is accessible via the Washington State Ferries system. Ferries go from the Port Townsend ferry terminal to Coupeville on Whidbey Island.
Port Townsend has a moderate Mediterranean climate with damp, chilly (though not severe) winters and warm, dry summers. It lies in the Olympic rain shadow and receives an average of only 19.04 inches (483.6 mm) annual precipitation. However, the environment is not as dry as the mean yearly total would suggest; cool breezes and fog from the Juan de Fuca Strait provide a comfortable level of humidity.
The largest private employer is the Port Townsend Paper Mill. The largest employer overall (private and public) is Jefferson Healthcare, which operates Jefferson Healthcare Hospital. Major industries include maritime trades, manufacturing, tourism, and timber.
Public education in the city is administered by Port Townsend School District, which includes Salish Coast Elementary School, Blue Heron Middle School and Port Townsend High School.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2010, there were 9,113 people, 4,544 households, and 2,322 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,305.6 inhabitants per square mile (504.1/km2). There were 5,193 housing units at an average density of 744.0 per square mile (287.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 92.4% White, 0.5% African American, 1.1% Native American, 1.7% Asian, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 0.8% from other races, and 3.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 3.3% of the population.
There were 4,544 households of which 19.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.9% were married couples living together, 9.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 2.8% had a male householder with no wife present, and 48.9% were non-families. 39.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 18% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.98 and the average family size was 2.60.
The median age in the city was 53 years. 16.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.3% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 17.4% were from 25 to 44; 36.7% were from 45 to 64; and 24.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 46.0% male and 54.0% female.
According to the 2000 census, there were 8,334 people, 3,917 households and 2,201 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,191.8 people per square mile (460.3/km²). There were 4,250 housing units at an average density of 607.8 per square mile (234.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 93.27% White, 0.58% African American, 1.25% Native American, 1.27% Asian, 0.23% Pacific Islander, 0.89% from other races, and 2.52% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 2.30% of the population.
There were 3,917 households of which 23.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.4% were married couples living together, 11.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.8% were non-families. 36.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.09 and the average family size was 2.67. 205 of these households were on the waiting list of the Housing Choice Voucher Program as of 2003.
Age distribution was 19.6% under the age of 18, 5.5% from 18 to 24, 21.8% from 25 to 44, 32.3% from 45 to 64, and 20.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 47 years. For every 100 females, there were 85.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.6 males.
The median household income was $34,536, and the median family income was $47,027. Males had a median income of $38,013 versus $27,753 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,395. About 8.9% of families and 14.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.0% of those under age 18 and 10.2% of those age 65 or over.
<ref>tag; name "USCensusEst2017" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
Adventuress is a 133-foot (41 m) gaff-rigged schooner launched in 1913 in East Boothbay, Maine. She has since been restored, and is listed as a National Historic Landmark. She is one of two surviving San Francisco bar pilot schooners.Adventuress is currently operated by Sound Experience, a non-profit organization based in Port Townsend, Washington.Alan James
Alan James (March 23, 1890 – December 30, 1952) was an American film director and screenwriter. He directed 79 films between 1916 and 1943. He also wrote for 62 films between 1916 and 1951. He was born in Port Townsend, Washington and died in Hollywood, California.Artis the Spoonman
Artis the Spoonman (born October 3, 1948) is an American street performer and musician from Seattle, Washington, who uses spoons as a musical instrument.
He frequents the Pike Place Market accompanying singer/songwriter and guitarist Jim Page with his collection of spoons of different shapes and sizes and materials spread out on a blanket. In addition to spoons, he plays the flute and recorder. To the larger public, he is probably best known for his collaborations with Soundgarden and Frank Zappa.Centrum (arts organization)
Centrum, located in Fort Worden State Park near Port Townsend, Washington, in Jefferson County is a multidisciplinary nonprofit arts organization that presents workshops and performances in a wide variety of artistic disciplines.Copper Canyon Press
Copper Canyon Press is an independent, non-profit small press, specializing in the publication of poetry and located in Port Townsend, Washington. Since 1972, the Press has published poetry exclusively.
Copper Canyon Press publishes new collections of poetry by both revered and emerging American poets, translations of classical and contemporary work from many of the world's cultures, re-issues of out-of-print poetry classics, prose books about poetry, and anthologies.
The press achieved national stature when Copper Canyon poet, W.S. Merwin, won the 2005 National Book Award for Poetry in the same year another Copper Canyon poet, Ted Kooser, won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and was appointed to a second year as United States Poet Laureate. Merwin later won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and in 2010 was named United States Poet Laureate.
Copper Canyon has published more than 400 titles, including works by Nobel Prize Laureates Pablo Neruda, Odysseas Elytis, Octavio Paz, Vicente Aleixandre and Rabindranath Tagore; Pulitzer Prize-winners Ted Kooser, Carolyn Kizer, Maxine Kumin, Theodore Roethke, and W.S. Merwin; National Book Award winners Hayden Carruth, Lucille Clifton, and Ruth Stone; and some contemporary poets and translators such as Jim Harrison, C. D. Wright, Bill Porter (aka Red Pine), Norman Dubie, Eleanor Wilner, Arthur Sze, James Richardson, Tom Hennen and Lucia Perillo.
The press published What About This: Collected Poems of Frank Stanford to great critical acclaim in 2015. In his New York Times review, Dwight Garner complimented the press for performing a "vital and difficult task" and giving the reader "a chance to see him (Stanford) whole." National Public Radio called the book's release "the big event in poetry for 2015."Also in 2015, Copper Canyon Press acquired the U.S. rights to a manuscript of lost poems by Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda. Discovered by archivists from The Pablo Neruda Foundation in the summer of 2014 just after the April 2013 exhumation of Neruda's body in Chile, this collection of poems has been called "a literary event of universal importance" and "the biggest find in Spanish literature in recent years". The collection, Then Come Back: The Lost Neruda Poems, translated by Pulitzer finalist Forrest Gander, was released in April 2016 and includes full-color, facsimile presentations of Neruda's handwritten poems. Copper Canyon was also awarded the rights to publish Neruda's first book, Crepusulario, which has also never appeared in the U.S. in English translation.
Not only does Copper Canyon Press publish works of established poets, it also strives to publish the first books by extraordinary new poets. In 2016, Copper Canyon published two debut collections: Camille Rankine's Incorrect Merciful Impulses and Ocean Vuong's Night Sky With Exit Wounds; both of these titles received critical acclaim.Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
Elizabeth Ann Scarborough (born March 23, 1947) is an American writer of science fiction and fantasy and Registered Nurse who lives in Port Townsend, Washington. She has published over 40 novels, as well as collaborating with Anne McCaffrey on multiple series.Feral House
Feral House is a book publisher owned and operated by Adam Parfrey, founded in 1989 and based in Port Townsend, Washington.Fort Worden
Fort Worden and accompanying Fort Worden Historical State Park are located in Port Townsend, along Admiralty Inlet in Washington state. It is on 433 acres (175 ha) that originally was a United States Army installation to protect Puget Sound. Fort Worden was named after U.S. Navy Rear Admiral John Lorimer Worden, commander of USS Monitor during its famous battle during the American Civil War.Constructed between 1898 and 1920, Fort Worden was one of the largest Endicott system forts to be built and a "rare example" of a post built according to the precepts of the Endicott Board on land not already occupied by an older fortification. It was also the only one within sight of a potential (if unlikely) enemy fortification, a British military post on Vancouver Island in Canada. The fort was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976.Jefferson County International Airport
Jefferson County International Airport (IATA: TWD, FAA LID: 0S9) is a public-use airport located four nautical miles (7 km) southwest of the central business district of Port Townsend, a town in Jefferson County, Washington, United States. It is owned by the Port of Port Townsend.Jim Whittaker
James W. Whittaker (born February 10, 1929), also known as Jim Whittaker, is an American mountaineer and mountain guide. Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, on May 1, 1963 he became the first American to reach the summit of Mount Everest as a member of the American Mount Everest Expedition led by Norman Dyhrenfurth, alongside the Sherpa Nawang Gombu (a nephew of Tenzing Norgay). They ran out of oxygen but managed to reach the summit. Once there, Whittaker planted a U.S. flag at the top.John Weir Troy
John Weir Troy (October 31, 1868 – May 2, 1942) was an American Democratic politician who was the Governor of Alaska Territory from 1933 to 1939. He was born in Dungeness, Washington and died in Juneau, Alaska.
John Troy began his professional career in journalism, starting as a newspaper reporter in Port Townsend, Washington, shortly after graduating from high school there. He would publish newspapers in Washington and Alaska
between 1891 and 1914. He was the editor of Alaska-Yukon Magazine from 1911 to 1912. Following this, he was the editor of the Daily Alaskan Empire for twenty years before being appointed governor in 1933.
He was the father-in-law of George A. Lingo, who was the second husband of his younger daughter, Dorothy Minerva. At the time of their marriage, Lingo was a member of the Alaska Territorial House of Representatives and the Board of Trustees of the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines.KPTZ
KPTZ (91.9 FM) is a non-commercial, educational radio station. KPTZ is on the air 24 hours a day with locally produced programming filled by music automation. KPTZ will broadcast a mix of locally originated programming featuring area people, art, activities and news. Licensed to Port Townsend, Washington, United States, the station serves the Northwest Washington area. The station is currently owned by Radio Port Townsend.Loompanics
Loompanics Unlimited was an American book seller and publisher specializing in nonfiction on generally unconventional or controversial topics. The topics in their title list included drugs, weapons, anarchism, sex, conspiracy theories, and so on. Many of their titles describe some kind of illicit or extralegal actions, such as Counterfeit I.D. Made Easy, while others are purely informative, like Opium for the Masses. Loompanics was in business for nearly 30 years. The publisher and editor was Michael Hoy.
Mike Hoy started Loompanics Unlimited in East Lansing, Michigan, in 1975. In 1982 he moved the business to Port Townsend, Washington, where his friend and fellow publisher R. W. Bradford had earlier relocated.In January 2006, Loompanics announced that it was going out of business, and that it was selling off its inventory. In the spring of 2006, Paladin Press announced that it acquired the rights to 40 titles previously published or sold by Loompanics, including the works of Claire Wolfe, Eddie the Wire, and other popular Loompanics authors.Parker Lundgren
Parker Lundgren (born December 28, 1986) is an American guitarist, best known for being in the progressive metal band Queensrÿche, which he joined in 2009.Port Townsend Aero Museum
Port Townsend Aero Museum is an aviation museum located at Jefferson County International Airport in Port Townsend, Washington. It was founded in 2001 and contains over 31 rare and antique aircraft specimens for public view, over sixty percent of which are regularly flown. The Port Townsend Aero Museum is built around a youth program that has introduced over 300 kids to World War II era airplanes and has taught numerous children how to fly and achieve their goals in life. Many youth volunteers achieved their pilots license while there as well as create something that they can look at with pride.Port Townsend High School
Port Townsend High School is located in Port Townsend, Washington. It is one of the oldest in Washington State, graduating its first class in 1891. Port Townsend High School is a comprehensive public high school, serving approximately 350 students in grades 9 - 12 in 2018, and is fully approved and accredited by the State of Washington and the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges.Puget Sound Coast Artillery Museum
Puget Sound Coast Artillery Museum is a military museum located at Fort Worden State Park on Puget Sound, in the State of Washington.
The museum occupies part of Building 201, a former barracks at Fort Worden.Thomas T. Minor
Thomas T. Minor (February 20, 1844 – December 2, 1889) was a physician, businessman, civic and political leader who founded the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway and served as mayor of Seattle and Port Townsend, Washington.W. S. Merwin
William Stanley Merwin (September 30, 1927 – March 15, 2019) was an American poet who wrote over fifty books of poetry and prose, and produced many works in translation. During the 1960s anti-war movement, Merwin's unique craft was thematically characterized by indirect, unpunctuated narration. In the 1980s and 1990s, his writing influence derived from an interest in Buddhist philosophy and deep ecology. Residing in a rural part of Maui, Hawaii, he wrote prolifically and was dedicated to the restoration of the island's rainforests.
Merwin received many honors, including the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1971 and 2009; the National Book Award for Poetry in 2005, and the Tanning Prize—one of the highest honors bestowed by the Academy of American Poets—as well as the Golden Wreath of the Struga Poetry Evenings. In 2010, the Library of Congress named him the 17th United States Poet Laureate.
|Climate data for Port Townsend, Washington|
|Record high °F (°C)||62
|Average high °F (°C)||46.4
|Average low °F (°C)||38.8
|Record low °F (°C)||5
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||2.25
|Average snowfall inches (cm)||0.9
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 inch)||16||12.4||14.5||12.6||11.6||9.7||5.8||5.3||7.5||12||17||16.1||140.5|
|Source #1: WRCC|
|Source #2: NCDC|
Municipalities and communities of Jefferson County, Washington, United States
County seat: Port Townsend
‡This populated place also has portions in an adjacent county or counties
related topic: Washington State Ferries