A Blast from the Past

Originally nicknamed “The City of Dreams,” Port Townsend was officially settled in 1851. Port Townsend was initially supposed to be the largest harbor in the Puget Sound. During the 1880s, buildings were constructed and investors geared up for the city to be born. When trains were introduced, the city started planning a route for the train to connect Port Townsend to other cities for trading and economic strength.

A dark turn arrived when the Depression hit. The construction of the railroad tracks were cut short, despite only reaching the opposite side of the Puget Sound in Seattle.

Today, Port Townsend is seen as a vacation stop. The historic feel of the town gives a quaint and dreamy vibe. The population of residents who live year-round was 9,527 in 2016. The town has invested in tourist attractions like the Jefferson County Historical Museum, a historic fire bell tower from 1890, and countless local businesses in order to increase visitors.

“There is an ice cream shop [in Port Townsend] that is super cool, it has a 50s style. I got deep fried ice cream,” junior Mai Schrock-Manabe said.

Schrock-Manabe recently visited the town with her brother and found the historic feel of the area to be fun and original.

The buildings haven’t been remodeled since the 1890s, so the town seems to have a trapped-in-time spell over it.

One building in Port Townsend was originally a hotel. When it was sold to a developer, the new owner remodeled the streetlevel of the hotel for local businesses. The building still stands today and so do some of the businesses.

There have also been ghost sightings in the Palace Hotel. Previous guests have reported drinking glasses falling, sheets being pulled, and boat horns being blown. This historic hotel has stood since 1889, built by Captain Tibbal, a retired sea captain of his time.

There have been numerous reportings of a woman in a blue dress whose portrait hangs on the second floor. She has been known for walking the halls and haunting Room Four. The hotel has a “ghost file” about a group of four friends who stayed in Room Four. Late at night, they were all asleep and the door was shut and locked, yet in the middle of the night the door swung open. The guests ran down to the manager’s desk in fright.

“I don’t know about the portrait one because I don’t know the background,” junior Anees Ali said. The lady in the portrait has a vague profile, the information they do know was translated through a psychic medium named Robin Alexis.

“When I see a ghost, I’ll probably believe in ghosts,” junior Nathan Sponaugle said.

Staff member Cheryl Heller has reported many different ghosts. There is a homeless man who sleeps in the basement, a boy named Adam who is looking for his mother, a father mourning the loss of his child, and Captain Tibbal, along with his wife.

“Well, the child [ghost] I believe because I think he’s trying to find his parents,” Ali said. “I hope his mother comes back and I hope the dad comes back too, and then they can be a ghost family.”

Not everyone believes in ghosts and, of course, most people staying at this hotel will not experience any sort of haunting, but the hauntings of Port Townsend give this “City of Dreams” a unique history.


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