Thursday, October 17, 2013

Port Townsend's Historic District

With cousin David serving as our tour guide, we continued a walk around his hometown, Port Townsend, WA.

Partners Sigmund Waterman and Israel and William Katz owned the three-story W & K Building (shown below).
Waterman & Katz Building, 1885

It was a very successful mercantile business which catered to tourists. In 1888, it was the third largest store in the territory.
In the early 1990s, the abandoned building was renovated for retail space and condominiums; this work contributed to the revitalization of Water Street.
Fred Lewis Building, 1889

Built by Mary Caines Fowler and her son Robert M. Caines, the building was known as the Claredon Hotel. Later, Fred Lewis owned and operated the Lewis Emporium, new and used furniture, from 1931 until his death in 1966.
View of Port Townsend Bay

Our walk took us along Port Townsend Bay and past some of the buildings that lined the shore.
I am drawn to buildings built of this style of bricks.
Their color and frequently slightly irregular shape create character in any use. (I made many a trip to a fellow selling used bricks similar to these for a sidewalk at our home.)
C.C. Bartlett Building, 1888 (grayish building on the left)

Built in the Federal Style, it was the largest building in Port Townsend at the time it was constructed. Over the years, it was occupied by attorneys, dentists, a men's clothing store, a grocery store, a bowling alley, a drug store, a shoe store, and a travel agency.

Today it houses William James' Books and
Sirens Pub (second floor) and Tickled Pink, a gift shop.

Mount Baker Block, 1889

This four-story business block was to include eight stores on the ground level and sixty-nine offices above, complete with elevator. The imposing building was nearly complete when the town’s economy began to collapse in the late 1880s. The much-heralded railroad line failed to come to town, so interior work on the building was suspended. The top two floors were never more than framed until 1998, when the third floor renovation was completed. The fourth floor was finished with office space, wired for high tech.
The steps in the photo above lead to underground shops.

The economic conditions mentioned above had a similar effect on the Hill Building. It was put on the delinquent tax roles in 1916 and by 1928 the ground floor was vacant.
N.D. Hill Building, 1889

A tavern occupied the corner storefront from approximately 1933 to 2010. The Town Tavern began in the mid-1930s and operated in the location until 2001. (The Town was the scene of the bar fight in the movie An Officer and a Gentleman.)
The Waterstreet Hotel now occupies a portion of the building.
As we toured the second floor of the hotel, cousin David talked about the years that he lived and worked in this building. He worked in the deli of a co-op in the building in return for room and board.
He compared the rather Spartan features of the rooms during his years living there to the attractive furnishings of the hotel today.
One significant difference was noted in this hallway (photo below). He noted that there had been a swing suspended from the ceiling. Quite a difference compared to the hallway today.
David seemed quite content as he recounted events from "the old days" in this comfortable lounge chair.
Then it was time for lunch.

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