America's Best History Spotlight
On this page we're going to Spotlight the lesser known historic sites and attractions that dot the history landscape across the USA and are worth a visit if you're in their area. And while they may be lesser known, some are very unique, and will be that rare find. You'll be, at times, on the ground floor, or maybe even know something others don't. It'll be fun. Visit them.
Port Gamble, Washington
It was a lumber town. It was a successful lumber town. And today many think of Port Gamble as a New England style quaint village of shops and history. Of course, that's a bit disrespectful to its Washington State, Puget Sound, and northwest USA heritage, but, of course, it's meant as a complement and was built that way to please the men from New England who worked there. Travel to Port Gamble and you're likely to have a nice pleasant day wandering around quaint streets, cafes, and chocolate shops. There's a museum, and the water, and all the charm that the Pacific Northwest can so beautifully display. Photo above: Port Gamble and the Puget Lumber Company Mills, 1900, Seattle and the Orient, Alfred D. Bowen. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons.
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Info, What's There Now, History Nearby
Port Gamble, Washington
So what's there now and how does it reflect back to its historic lumber past? For one, and it is House #1, the Walker-Ames House was built in 1888, and as you can see from the photos above and below, has stood the test of time well. A visit by day to the town immerses yourself in that history, but much of Port Gamble's charm pulls from a walk and glance into shops and cute places to eat. If you want to take in more of its pleasures, you can also stay overnight; the Port Gamble Guest Houses in town are a special treat. The Thorndyke Lodge nearby also suits many with its location on Hood Canal.
If you're lucky enough to be in town in early August, take in the Summer Faire, a festival of fun and music, and for those that like haunt stories, there are Ghost Walks amidst the town structures on special days of the year. Must be 16 and over to attend them.
Image above: Walker-Ames House, Historic American Buildings Survey. Courtesy Library of Congress. Below: Walker-Ames House, 2008. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons.
Where Is It
Port Gamble is not the easiest place to get to, predominantly because the water of Puget Sound becomes an obstacle from the normal public metros of Seattle and Tacoma. It's only twenty-one miles from Seattle, but a car trip is 87.5 miles, unless you desire to take the Kingston Ferry (fee). Both trips will take you about a bit over an hour and one half. If you aren't committed to your car, a ferry (Kitsap Fast Ferry) and taxi ride takes less than one hour, but will cost you $28-52.
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What is There Now
Restored lumber village that's registered as a National Historic Landmark. One hundred and twenty acres of quaint village shops, views of Puget Sound, and a respite from the normal hectic work days. Examples include the Port Gamble General Store and Cafe, the Port Gamble Historic Museum, the Olympic Outdoor Center, and the Painted Lady antique shop.
There's also summer theater at the Port Gamble Theater Company, established originally in 1906. Hiking trails and biking trails abound as well.
When Open and How Much
Port Gamble is a town, not a single historic site or park. Hours vary depending on the establishment. The Port Gamble Historic Museum charges $4 for adults, $3 students, free 6 and under, as an example.
Fees subject to change.
The national parks of Washington State are in the area, of course, including Olympic National Park, Mount Rainier National Park, and the San Juan Islands twosome around nature and a Pig War. Suffice it to say, there's plenty to see. Smaller history sites include the Newberry Hill Heritage Park, a wildlife refuge, Tracyton, another logging town, and Blake Island State Park and Tillicum Village.