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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Port Townsend in Jefferson County, Washington — The American West (Northwest)
 

Fire!

Hidden History

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

How was early Port Townsend affected by fire?

Port Townsend's earliest buildings were tightly packed wooden structures, that were both lit and heated by fire. The threat of disastrous, multi-building fire was ever-present. Entire city blocks could be lost in a few hours, taking lives and devastating the city. The fire department began as a volunteer company, but by 1882 the city had taken on the responsibility. Over the decades, the fire department expanded to include alarm systems and multiple fire stations. The wooden fire bell tower on Jefferson Street is one of only a few surviving examples across the country.

August 23, 1871
- S'Klallam village of qatáy burned by order of the US federal government

September 6, 1885
- A blacksmith fire destroys nearly 20 buildings

June 17, 1900
- Fire levels Uptown's commercial district along Lawrence Street

September 24, 1900
- Fire consumes the city's Chinese and Chinese American district.

April 6, 1923
- W. H. Learned Opera House lost to fire, nearby structures
Fire! Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., August 2, 2021
2. Fire! Marker
At location of former fire station in Historic City Hall
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August 4, 2003
- Aldrich's Market, Uptown business since 1896, burned in entirety - was rebuilt

"Since June we have had five fires with two blocks burned. Three have been proven to have been caused by incendiaries."
-- Annie Louise Barthrop, 1900


[Photo captions, top to bottom, read]
• Fire that took the Chinese and Chinese American district, Washington and Madison streets, 1900.

• Firemen with horse-drawn fire pump, adjacent to where you now stand at Historic City Hall.
 
Erected 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: Charity & Public WorkDisastersSettlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1882.
 
Location. 48° 6.959′ N, 122° 45.216′ W. Marker is in Port Townsend, Washington, in Jefferson County. Marker is on Madison Street north of Water Street, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 540 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. Historic City Hall (within shouting distance of this marker); U.S.S. Marvin Shields (DE-1066) (within shouting distance of this marker); Marvin Glenn Shields
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(within shouting distance of this marker); Crimping (within shouting distance of this marker); Jefferson County Memorial Athletic Field (within shouting distance of this marker); Historical Marker (within shouting distance of this marker); Village at Memorial Field (within shouting distance of this marker); The čičməhán Trail (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Port Townsend.
 
Also see . . .  Port Townsend's Hidden History. (Submitted on August 18, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 18, 2021. It was originally submitted on August 18, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 45 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 18, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

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Dec. 1, 2021