Fire Bell Tower

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 1999

Location: Port Townsend, Jefferson County

Port Townsend’s Fire Bell Tower is a 75-foot wooden structure built in 1890 to hold a 1,500 pound brass bell and the city’s then-new $900 fire engine. The ringing bell rallied the community to fight fires, and provide a coded signal as to the location and severity of the blaze using a system of alarm boxes. The bell tower was also used for fog soundings for the ferry dock below until the early 1960s.

The tower was threatened in 1950s and 1970s, but in both instances funds were raised to restore the structure. The tower was threatened again by collapse in 1990s, and the Washington Trust assisted with the Most Endangered Places listing in 1999 and a 2001 Valerie Sivinski Fund grant. This led to the 2003 restoration by the Jefferson County Historical Society and City of Port Townsend.

Read more from our “40 for 40” featured story from the Washington Trust’s 40th anniversary in 2016.

Fowler House

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 2007

Location: Port Townsend, Jefferson County

Port Townsend’s uptown residential district demonstrates much of the Victorian sensibility of the commercial district it overlooks.  The Fowler House, however, predates much of the late nineteenth century construction and stands as a rare example of Civil War era building.  Greek Revival in style, the circa 1858 residence was home to Captain Enoch S. Fowler who constructed his house in a manner familiar to him as a native of Maine.

The house fell into disrepair in the 2000s, prompting the listing as a Most Endangered Place. Finally, in 2020 the house was rescued, moderinzed, and put on the market.

Hastings Buildings

Status: Still Standing

Year Listed: 2007

Location: Port Townsend, Jefferson County

Ask Washington residents which city in their state is most noteworthy for its Victorian-era architecture and the answer will likely be Port Townsend.  The downtown commercial center boasts one of the state’s finest collections of late nineteenth century commercial structures, comprising a historic district recognized as a National Historic Landmark.  Located at the corner of Water and Taylor Streets, the Hastings Building serves as the anchor to Port Townsend’s historic downtown.  Constructed in 1889 and named for Captain L.B. Hastings, the architectural details and ornamentation adorning the Hastings Building illustrate the flamboyance and optimism of the early 1890s.

Point Hudson

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 2003

Location: Port Townsend, Jefferson County

Located adjacent to what is now downtown Port Townsend, local Indian tribes used the Point Hudson area long before Captain Vancouver’s party came ashore in 1792. The site as it currently exists began in 1934 as a U.S. Quarantine Station. Today it’s a tourist attraction and a boaters’ safe haven. The site is home to the Wooden Boat Festival, restaurants, a moorage, small businesses, a bed and breakfast, and private residences. The Port of Port Townsend has owned the property since 1956 but has leased it to private management until last year. In 2003, Port officials approached the City of Port Townsend seeking demolition permits for all but three of the buildings on the site, citing prohibitive costs to bring the buildings up to code. The Port backed off on plans for demolition, and the City and local preservationists are working with the Port to seek alternatives for compatible new development and re-use of existing historic structures.

Read more about Point Hudson.