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

Smuggling

Hidden History

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

Was there smuggling in Port Townsend?

Until 1911 Port Townsend was a Customs Port of Entry for the United States. Goods from foreign ports arriving in Puget Sound had to stop in Port Townsend and pay taxes. Avoiding customs was common among those carrying heavily taxed goods like liquor or illegal substances. Concealing undocumented people for entry into Port Townsend became a lucrative business as well after the Exclusion Acts which restricted immigration from China.

One way to smuggle goods was to anchor north of what is now North Beach and west of what is now Fort Worden. Goods and people were lowered into small boats and rowed stealthily to shore for transport inland. The ship then continued to port with the remaining, legitimate cargo.

The cat-and-mouse conflict between smugglers and the customs agents who chased them was the stuff of local news and legend alike. Larry Kelly, an infamous smuggler, was known for bringing opium and wine down from Victoria. He was eventually tracked down and caught by Customs Inspector Fred Dean.

"It is openly declared on the streets that the
Smuggling Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., August 2, 2021
2. Smuggling Marker
Click or scan to see
this page online
smugglers are a more honorable class of men than the Customs House officers." - S. L. Lupton's report to the Secretary of the Treasury, May 11, 1889.


[Photo captions, top to bottom, read]

• Customs Inspector Fred Dean with a U.S. Customs launch.

• US Customs House and Post Office
 
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 these topic lists: Industry & CommerceLaw Enforcement. A significant historical year for this entry is 1911.
 
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 left when traveling east 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. Railroad (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
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(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 . . .
1. An Early Chinatown Is Revealed Through The Discovery Of Artifacts (The Seattle Times, 1990). (Submitted on August 16, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. The Cheerful Sinners of the Pacific Northwest's Wildest Port City (Carrasco, 2018). (Submitted on August 16, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. Smuggling. (Submitted on August 16, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 16, 2021. It was originally submitted on August 16, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 41 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 16, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

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Jan. 28, 2022