2008 Homes Tour
George W. Downs House, 1886
538 Fillmore Street
The property that the house sits on was originally purchased by Hector Ann Downs, the wife of George W. Downs and when the house was built it originally had a small open porch where the stained glass window now is. This made an awkward entry because of the proximity to the staircase, so Mrs. Downs had the original porch enclosed and the present porch and entry to the side as it is now. The house is a frame structure built of native woods, has eleven foot nine inch ceilings and four fireplaces. The carved wood mantelpiece in the living room surrounds a brown ceramic tile framed fireplace. The stairway, rail and newel post, hall light fixture, and shutters are all originals
In later years another major change took place when the cupola and widow’s walk on the top of the house was removed when a leak was discovered and the roof was repaired. The solarium and carriage house were added in recent years around the 1960s and at one time the carriage house was an antique shop. It has been renovated to a private residence and will not be on the tour this year.
One of the previous owners noticed a cut in the kitchen floor boards, and on lifting out the flooring, found a combination cistern and well under the house. In the well were some 175 bottles of all kinds, some tracing back to an early-day pharmacy.
Trinity United Methodist Church, 1871
609 Taylor Street
Although Port Townsend’s Methodists organized in 1853, their first minister was not appointed until the following year. The first building was built in 1871 at Clay & Taylor and has been identified as a “Primary” building - one with “strong architectural or historical qualities.
In the early part of 1871, the Presiding Elder of the Puget Sound District, J.F. Devore, secured a lot and the first building was erected. Three years later plans were entered upon to improve and beautify the structure. It was weather-boarded, lathed and plastered, and papered; pews were placed, and it was furnished with carpets and chandeliers.
Then in 1884-85, the building was enlarged and in 1900 it was turned on the lot and used as part of a new structure which is the present church. It was at this time; the stained glass windows were added. Since then, kitchen facilities and accommodations for serving wedding receptions, etc. have seen added in the basement. Additions have been made to provide needed Sunday school rooms including a “Crib Room” for small children, and the Sunday school building behind the church along Taylor Street was built sometime between 1928 and 1945.
City Hall, 1891
540 Water Street
The Jefferson County Courthouse and City Hall were both conceived at the peak of Port Townsend’s prosperity and completed just before the fatal Panic of 1893. City Hall was built downtown on Water Street with Classic and Romanesque details. It was pretty much a local production although the contractors, Bamber, Grolier & Colllins were out-of-town boys. All the materials, including the sandstone, sills, lintels, bricks, and cedar that were used on the building were from local areas. The estimated cost for the building was $30,000; however, the eventual cost was $85,000.
A visit to City Hall is a must if you want to go back in time to view the chamber where councilmen “chewed the rag”; check out the police courtroom, where unfortunate vagrants, common drunks, and other petty offenders told their tales of woe before being taken away to join the chain gang and see where the faithful firemen slide down the slipping-pole when the alarm sounded at the fire house.
The original tower and third floor received a serious blow in the form of a violent southwesterly storm in 1945 and the decision was made to remove the third floor and replace it with a flat-built up roof.
Before you exit make sure you visit the museum and get lost in Port Townsend’s “picturesque” past for hours.
Jefferson County Historical Museum Building, 1892
540 Water Street
On March 1, 2007, the JCHS Museum re-opened with beautifully redesigned exhibits in the magnificently restored 1892 City Hall building. Housed in the former municipal court room, fire hall and jail spaces, the Museum’s exhibits illustrate the lively history of communities born in waterfront forests over 150 years ago.
The museum’s location in the historic City Hall is the ideal location for history to come alive. Its strong, direct connection to area history creates opportunities for moods, moments and feelings representative of a time now gone yet near.
One can go down a stairway of uncertain destination, encounter the subterranean smell of cold masonry and then stand in a murky jail cell; navigate through a work of nooks, crannies and levels bedecked with historical significance; or stand on a stair leading to the hayloft, look out across a large wooden room filled with horse-drawn conveyances and maritime artifacts and see century-old brick buildings through a window on a misty day.
Siebenbaum Building aka Bergstrom Antique Auto Museum, 1917
815 Washington Street
Manager: Robin Bergstrom
In the late 1880’s and in the 1890’s this was the site of a house and a store, both occupied and identified as being of Chinese lineage. Both structures still stood around 1905, when the property belonged to John Siebenbaum.
John Siebenbaum owned the property and in 1917 had Harry Cotton, a local contractor build this first fireproof garage in Port Townsend. The new building was first occupied by the Peninsula Motor Company, of which Siebenbaum was a partner. He later became sole owner and hired W.J. Buhler as the manager in 1922. Mr. Buhler opened a Chevrolet-Oldsmobile dealership and this building was the service department for the dealership whose show room and office was across the street in what is now known at the Antique Mall.
Mr. Buhler purchased the company but not the building and operated it as Buhler Motor Company until 1973, when he sold it to Lee Rae and it became Lee Rae Chevrolet and Olds for the next five year. After this business closed two other auto related businesses were in the building until 1981 when Robin Bergstrom opened his Antique and Classic Autos.
Teahouse at Chapel Bay
(St. Paul’s Episcopal Parish Hall), c. 1860s
We welcome our Homes Tour guests to take a break and enjoy complimentary tea and homemade cookies served by volunteers in period costume at our new Teahouse venue, Chapel Bay.
This lovely building—one of Port Townsend’s oldest structures—has a history of travel. Perched on a bluff overlooking Port Townsend and the bay, it was barged from Bellingham in the 1800s to serve as St. Paul’s parish hall. When the church built its new hall in the late 1990s, it was rescued by its current owner and moved to its present location.
Sitting atop a daylight basement, the Gothic-style Chapel Bay has been refurbished with the original windows and wainscoting. In its latest role is as a Victorian wedding chapel and event center, Chapel Bay links Port Townsend’s past and present.
Rothschild House, 1868
Taylor and Franklin Streets
Step back in time to the beginning of Port Townsend as you enter one of the city’s oldest homes and one of Washington State’s smallest state parks. Perched on a bluff overlooking the historical district, the Rothschild House was built for his family by merchant D.C.H. Rothschild, or the Baron as he became universally known. Born in Bavaria, Henry Rothschild settled in Port Townsend in 1858 after traveling extensively around the world. Ten years later, after living with his family over his downtown store, he built the home where it now stands. His widow, Dorette, lived there until her death in 1918 and allowed only minor changes, such as the instillation of a bathroom. Her daughter lived in the home for nearly 78 years until her death in 1954. The last surviving member of the family, Eugene, donated the house to the Washington State Parks Department and in 1962, it opened to the public as an historic site. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is managed for the park system by the Jefferson County Historical Society.
An excellent example of Greek Revival architecture, the home is virtually unchanged from the way it was nearly 150 years ago and is an accurate reflection of our early culture. The home embraces original furnishings and artifacts of the family down to the most common objects. The children’s room looks like the children have just stepped outside to play; the parlor waits for visiting callers; and the dining room table is set with the family’s best plates. Outside, roses from earlier generations still bloom and herbs still rise in the springtime.
James W. Stockand aka Grace House, 1887
110 F Street
This beautiful home was built in 1887 by 26 year old James W. Stockand with the help of his brother-in-law Thomas Drummond, a Port Townsend contractor. The house and its carriage house were completed in 1890 at a cost of $3,400. Restoration of this house which included a new foundation and roof was completed in 1978. Further renovations in the late 1980's were recognized by the Jefferson County Historical Society and the owners received the Mary Johnson Award of Appreciation.
Over the past several years the current owners who moved into this house in 2001, have continued the careful restoration of the interior of this home. The house has a new roof, rebuilt chimneys, new wiring and plumbing and refinished wood floors as well as historically accurate hand-screened Victorian wallpapers by Bradbury & Bradbury.
Recently completed is a new downstairs bath with its antique dresser sink and a mosaic tile floor consisting of 6 colors and 4000 separate pieces of tile requiring more than 3000 separate cuts. The upstairs bathroom which was carved out of attic space in the early 1900's is now an elegant master bath with Jacuzzi tub, propane fireplace, original claw foot tub and angel tile wall mural. This house is a fine blend of Victorian charm and modern amenities.
Frank W. Hastings House aka The Old Consulate Inn, c. 1890
313 Walker Street
Senator Frank Hastings was the second son of Port Townsend founder Loren B. Hastings. Frank began building this big red mansion in 1889. His plan was to build a $10,000 mansion to impress his fiancé, but he went broke in the depression of 1891 and was forced to abandon its construction before completion. He managed to get the house weather tight - roof, walls, and windows – and to get three rooms livable with the last of his money. He lived in the unfinished house until he lost it for back taxes in 1904 to Mr. Olsen, the county tax assessor.
Mr. Olsen finished the house and rented a room to August Duddenhausen, the German Consul, from 1908 until 1911. Duddenhausen was allowed to do his official business in the parlor. The Hastings House is now a lovely Bed & Breakfast called The Old Consulate Inn. It is a fine example of Queen Anne style architecture and has commanding view of Port Townsend Bay, Mount Rainier and the Historic Court House.
Newton W. 0'Rear House, 1891
1932 Washington Street
Owners: Frank & Pat Durbin
Although built during the Victorian period, the house surprises you with interior construction features of mostly Craftsman detailing. The house was built in 1891 as a carriage house with attached windmill for the F.W. Hastings (The Old Consulate Inn) home. Originally the building faced Jefferson Street at the corner of Walker. In the early 1900s, when the Hastings property was sold for back taxes, C.A. Olson purchased the buildings and six lots on the block. He kept the Hastings house but sold the carriage house and the two lots where the house now sits to Newton O’Rear, a former editor of the Port Townsend “Leader” and a Custom’s Inspector at the time of the property’s purchase.
By 1906, Mr. O’Rear had the carriage house turned 180 degrees, moved to the new location on Washington Street and placed on a half basement foundation. The tower’s Mansard roof was the original windmill’s water tower. A tank sat in the top, with the windmill mechanism going through what is now the entry hall and master bedroom. O’Rear had the structure converted into a seven-room residence with three bedrooms. The tower space, then, as now, was used as attic storage. The house originally had gas lighting, two wood stoves and no fireplaces.
The current owners have just completed an eight year restoration done in four major phases that added space but duplicate the details of the original period. Projects still remain to be done, but the interior is nearly complete and displays a forty year collection of antiques and collections.
Saunders House, 1891
2365 E Sims Way
This large and impressive home has a colorful history and many unique features. It retains its Victorian charm despite having several owners over the years with differing ideas of renovation and decorating. Commanding a hillside lot overlooking the waterfront, the home has a wrap-around porch. A third story was used at various times for dancing, showing movies, and a girls' dormitory. An unusual feature of the home is the dining room fireplace, which has a window in the middle of the chimney.