Friday, October 18, 2013

A Bit More of Port Townsend

It is indeed fortunate that the hard times (the Depression and the railroad bypassing it) that fell on Port Townsend (WA) did not result in the abandonment and eventual destruction of the many magnificent downtown structures.

On our third entry covering the walk around the historic downtown, we begin with one of the most eye-catching buildings in the town--the Hastings Building.

When it was completed in 1889, it was said to be “the handsomest building in Port Townsend,” with its thirty-eight foot inside courtyard reaching to the roof.
Over the years the building has housed a myriad of tenants. When the top floor business left during the depression, a “house of ill repute” was said to have moved in but was eventually closed down by the city.
The Hastings Estate Company and Port Townsend descendents of the original family still maintain ownership of the building.

Completed in 1892, the council chambers of Port Townsend's have been used continuously over the life of the building. After 114 years of exposure to the maritime elements, a major restoration was undertaken. It was completed in 2006.
Future long-term work includes plans for the reconstruction of the City Hall's former third floor, which was removed in 1947 after storm damage.
The Miller-Burkett Building, (1889), (below) was occupied by civic clubs, grocers, and drug stores, and in 1905 it was purchased by Elks Lodge Number 317, beginning their long occupation of the site until 1993.
The Clapp Building (c. 1885) (on the right in the photo below) was constructed four bricks thick, and the cast iron façade was applied on the brick face by Washington Iron Works in Seattle. It is said to have one of the finest cast iron facades in Puget Sound.

It was a dry goods store, bank, saloon, and grocery. In 1934 it became a wrestling and boxing club. A few years later it was remodeled to include a dance floor and renamed Club DeLeo. In 1952, restoration began and continued by the new owners in 1968. The renovation of this key building started a wave of revitalization progress that continues to this day.
Also of interest in the photo above is the advertisement on the sign of the Waterman & Katz Building. The Society for Commercial Archeology calls these faded messages from the past "ghosts."
Fred Lewis Building

A ghost sign is a faded, painted sign, at least 50 years old, on an exterior building wall heralding an obsolete product, an outdated trademark or a clue to the history of the building’s occupancy. They are ghosts because they often reappear after a rainstorm or following the demolition of a neighboring building.
N.D. Hill Building

First National Bank Building mural with Eisenbeis Building murals above

This mural on the Catherine McCurdy Building was added in 1980

Miller-Burkett Building

When we saw the sign for the Rose Theater, we had to stop in to learn if we could take a look around.
A theater called “The Haller Theater” was built on a lot owned by the Eisenbeis Estate Company in 1907. The next year, the Rose Theater moved to the site and The Haller disappeared.
The theater was managed by a stream of different owners until 1959 when it closed and became a bakery, sporting goods store, a “bargain house” making keys, repairing shoes and selling sewing machines.
Building owner Phillip Johnson and theatre owner Rocky Friedman rehabilitated The Rose to bring back much of its original atmosphere and reopened its doors in 1992.
When we walked into the theater to ask if we could take some photos, we were hit with the aroma of just-popped popcorn.
For that instant, I was back some 60 years paying 10 cents for the Saturday matinee of The Long, Long Trailer with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.
For that instant, the Rose, with its 176 seats, re-captured the appeal of the old movie house.
The restoration work, including the murals along the walls (photos above and below) completed the brief mental trip.
One wall had portions of an ad on some exposed brick.
On the other side of the lobby was the Rosebud Cinema.
A smaller, intimate theater that was equally appealing.
We enjoyed the preserved, well-cared-for history of Port Townsend.

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