Port Gamble Post Office

Port Gamble Post OfficeBWPort Gamble Post Office

Back in time to Port Gamble with its Post Office. Port Gamble represents one of the few remaining examples of company towns, thousands of which were built in the nineteenth century by industrialists to house employees. Founders Josiah Keller, William Talbot, and Andrew Pope planned the town to reflect the character of their hometown, East Machias, Maine, where many of the early employees originated. For 142 years, the community existed to support sawmills that produced lumber for the world market. The mill closed in 1995, but as a National Historic Site, the townsite has been preserved to reflect an authentic company mill town.

The first known residents of Port Gamble were members of the Nooksclime, Clallam, or S’Kallam tribe who fished and gathered food along Hood Canal. The S’Klallams belonged to the linguistic group, South Coast Salish, which populated Puget Sound. Tribes traded and intermarried and generally experienced little conflict except for raids from outside the region. In 1841, a U.S. Navy expedition led by Lieutenant Charles Wilkes (1798-1877) named the two-mile-long bay at the mouth of Hood Canal after Navy Lieutenant Robert Gamble, who was wounded in the War of 1812.

In the summer of 1853, San Francisco lumber merchant and sea captain William Talbot (1816-1881) spotted the sand spit at the mouth of the bay as a likely place for a lumber mill. Talbot was a partner of Josiah Keller (d. 1862), Andrew Pope (1820-1878), and Charles Foster in the Puget Mill Company. They planned to cut the abundant trees of Oregon Territory into lumber for sale in California and across the Pacific. The sand spit sheltered ships and was close to stands of timber.

S’Klallams already lived on the spit and on the bluff above. Keller induced the natives to move across the bay to Point Julia in exchange for free lumber, firewood, and Christmas gifts. The S’Kallams called the site Teekalet, “brightness of the noonday sun,” for the way the water and sand reflected light on sunny days. Talbot borrowed that name for the mill.

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Here is the oldest photo of the building I could find.

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Port Gamble Post Office

Port Gamble

Port Gamble Church in Color Port Gamble Church Port Gamble Water Towers - colorPort Gamble Water Towers

Out and about buying fabric to make Easter Dresses for my three Granddaughters, with camera in hand, Port Gamble is such a lovely piece of our local history.  Originally built as a sawmill town, there are rows of houses built for employees and managers of the Port. the Walker Ames House, which I drew last week was the owners original home.

In the next week or so, I will be drawing the General Store, owned by friends of mine with some of the best food in the area.  The fabric store Quilted Strait is often one of my favorite stops, as they have a lovely and varied selection of cotton, more designed for quilts, but work great for “Granddaughter” dresses.

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Port Gamble

Walker Ames Historical House in Port Gamble, Washington


Walker Ames House BW
 Walker Ames ColorThis beautiful Victorian home in Port Gamble, Washington is stately and beautifully designed.  It has not been used as a residence in many years.  In 2008 a group interested in paranormal activity came and definitely felt the presence of “ghosts” in the house.  Built in 1888 it was the home for William Walker, master mechanic,and his wife Emma, daughter Maude, and son-in-law Edwin Ames. The house was close to the mill so Walker was nearby in case of emergencies. Ames was the resident manager from 1883-194 and then general manager until 1931.

This is the rear of the house. It faced the waterfront to welcome ships and captains.

When I was teaching Interior Design at The Art Institute of Seattle, I had the good fortune to teach a class called Adaptive Reuse.  My students had the choice of redesigning this or another structure.  It was wonderful to see this elegant home come to life as a Wine Bar, a Bed & Breakfast, a Wedding site and several creative venues.  It is too bad that zoning makes most of that impossible and for the most part the building sits empty and sad.

1888

Here is a photo of the house in it’s 1888 glory time.  There are no color photos from that time for obvious reasons.  I love to draw historical houses and places and you will see more of these in the future.

My drawings are available for purchase at Liberty Bay Gallery in Poulsbo, or from me.

www.dianakingsley.net

Walker Ames Historical House in Port Gamble, Washington