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Port Townsend in Jefferson County, Washington — The American West (Northwest)
 

Railroad

Hidden History

 
 
Railroad Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., August 2, 2021
1. Railroad Marker
Inscription.  

Did Port Townsend have a railroad?


1880s Port Townsend was a booming seaport and Washington's Port of Entry. Great efforts were made to connect the city with the nation's expanding railway systems. Local business owners and citizens invested their fortunes hoping to entice rail companies to choose Port Townsend for their terminal. They believed the city's future rode on the rails.

The first attempt at a rail connection ended with only one mile of track. The second made it as far as Quilcene, 27 miles, before going bankrupt. Hopes were dashed when Portland and Tacoma were named the transcontinental line terminals. A rail line did eventually make it to Port Townsend, but not until 1923. Parts of the old rail line survive as the Larry Scott Trail.

In the 1890s Port Townsend boasted its own urban streetcar. Passengers rode between outlying residential areas like North Beach to the Uptown and Downtown shopping districts. Sadly, the population could never financially support the Port Townsend Electric Railway Co.

The jig is up. Reliable word reached me.... This kills all
Railroad Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., August 2, 2021
2. Railroad Marker
Click or scan to see
this page online
hope that [rail]road will be extended. - James Swan, 1890.


[Photo captions, top to bottom, read]
• Crowd greeting first train in Port Townsend, 1923.

• Port Townsend Electric Railway Co.
 
Erected 2021 by Main Street Port Townsend, City of Port Townsend, Olympic Peninsula Steam, and Jefferson County Historical Society.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Railroads & Streetcars. A significant historical year for this entry is 1923.
 
Location. 48° 6.873′ N, 122° 45.391′ W. Marker is in Port Townsend, Washington, in Jefferson County. Marker is at the intersection of Water Street and Taylor Street, on the right when traveling west on Water Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 844 Water Street, Port Townsend WA 98368, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Smuggling (here, next to this marker); Citizens Independent Telephone Company (a few steps from this marker); Hastings Building (within shouting distance of this marker); Union Wharf (within shouting distance of this marker); The Belmont (within shouting distance of this marker); Site of Port Townsend's First Settlers' Cabin (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Haller Fountain (about 300 feet away); Port Townsend (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Port Townsend.
 
Also see . . .
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 Railroad: Connecting Port Townsend to the Nation. (Submitted on August 15, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 16, 2021. It was originally submitted on August 15, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 52 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 15, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

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Dec. 1, 2021