2007 Homes Tour
Frank A. Bartlett House, 1883
314 Polk Street
A true Victorian architectural treasure, the Bartlett House is one of the first in Port Townsend to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In a prominent spot overlooking Port Townsend and the bay, its striking Mansard roof and Italianate detailing are guaranteed to lure curious tourists to the uptown historic area.
Frank A. Bartlett was the son of Port Townsend merchant Charles C. Bartlett and a descendant of Josiah Bartlett, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Frank was a wealthy young businessman when he built this home, but suffered a reversal of fortune during the depression of the early 1890s and moved to a less elegant house. The current owners have restored the home’s 14 spacious rooms, which include five bedrooms and a carriage house. They have lovingly brought back the house to its former elegance by adding wallpaper and wainscoting, refinishing the fir floors to their original beauty, remodeling the kitchen while retaining the charm of the period, and painting the exterior and interior to reflect traditional colors of the Victorian days.
Albert Bash House, 1890
1428 Monroe Street
This impressive Queen Anne style home was completed in 1890 for Albert W. Bash and his wife, Flora. Albert Bash was appointed by President Garfield as a customs collector for the District of Puget Sound and was also a friend of Benjamin Harrison who, while a U.S. Senator, visited the Bash family in Port Townsend. During Bash’s term as an inspector, Congress appropriated funds for the erection of Port Townsend’s custom house, which serves now as the post office.
Current owners of the Bash House purchased it in 1997 and have been working in six carefully planned phases to restore it to its original elegance. They first had to overcome years of neglect by repairing leaks and reinforcing the foundation.
A second story 1930s remodel was removed and construction of a new roofline gave the home an appearance similar to the original structure. Interior walls were replastered or drywalled, then painted, stenciled and/or wallpapered to recreate the way it would have been decorated in the Aesthetic Movement style.
Boasting an unusually fine collection of stained glass windows, the home provides magnificent views of Port Townsend Bay from its hillside location.
The Bishop Victorian Hotel, 1890
714 Washington Street
Built by William Bishop, a British sailor who jumped ship near Victoria to homestead in Port Townsend, the Bishop Block has housed many interesting businesses in its heyday, including a cigar store (the "Owl Cigars" sign remains on the side of the building), a tavern, a garage and a furniture store. In 1940, the U.S. Navy bought it and converted it into a rooming house to shelter civilian workers during WWII.
Today it is an elegant hotel, restored to reflect the Victorian period, with antique furniture and glass, paintings and flowers. Most of the period pieces gracing the guest rooms and lobby were purchased locally. Two of the hotel’s suites are on the ground level so are easily accessible. The layout of the suites and common areas of the three-story hotel is designed to encourage guests to feel at home and wander freely through the building.
The Bishop’s award-winning formal Victorian Garden has hosted many beautiful weddings and community events.
James B. Hogg House, 1891
932 Pierce Street
James B. Hogg was born in Connelsville, Pennsylvania in 1857 and came west as an engineer on the Cascade Division of the Northern Pacific Railroad. He grew interested in Port Townsend when he was named Chief Engineer of the Port Townsend Southern Railroad and was charged with exploring, locating and overseeing construction of its line.
Hogg built a large home that remains among the city’s surviving historic structures and moved into it when he wed his first wife, Lucy McIntyre. She was 16 years old, he was 34 and the wedding brought out “the brightest and best in Port Townsend’s society,” according to the local newspaper.
Unfortunately, at the turn of the century, the marriage ended in divorce and Hogg returned to his birthplace.
Mount Baker Block Building, 1889
Water and Tyler Streets
Completed in 1889 by Charles Eisenbeis, the four-story Mount Baker Block Building was originally intended to be a 96-room, five-story hotel with a projected cost of $100,000. However, competition with another hotel and a lack of funds forced a scale-back of the project to a four-story office building containing eight ground-level stores, 69 offices and an elevator, and costing $80,000. Another blow to Eisenbeis’ plans came just as the building was nearing completion: word that the railroad terminus would not come to Port Townsend caused the few businesses inhabiting the ground level floor to close. Construction stopped, leaving the top two floors unfinished for 110 years when, in 1999, the interiors of floors three and four were completed.
Today, the building has enjoyed a renaissance, with most of its office and retail spaces occupied with a variety of businesses.
Designed by Seattle architects Whiteway and Schroeder, the huge stone structure is the cornerstone of Port Townsend’s downtown area.
Ann Starrett Mansion, 1889
744 Clay Street
This magnificent mansion, built by George Starrett for his wife Ann VanBokkelenn is renowned for its architecture, frescoed ceilings, and a mysterious three-tier free-floating staircase, which leads to a rare solar calendar that the sun lights up four times a year. An eight-panel fresco features four dancing nymphs painted in Ann's image depicting the four seasons and four maidens depicting virtues. The scantily clad winter nymph shivering in a blizzard caused much gossip in Victorian Port Townsend.
Ann Starrett adorned her home with frescoes and stained glass, as well as carved lions from her family crest, doves and ferns which makes it more than any other Port Townsend house not only of local, but national significance.
Fenn House, 1889
It’s no accident that Fenn House looks so comfortable beside Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church. As the original rectory, it was designed to be architecturally compatible with the church. First occupied by Rev. Jesse Taylor, it provided housing for the rectors and vicars of Saint Paul’s until 1989. It retains much of the original wood moldings, sashes and floors as well as the lovely stained glass window in the hallway entrance. In the 1990s, the kitchen was removed and a parish hall and church office were added. Today, Fenn House is used as the rector’s office, nursery, children’s chapel and for meetings.
Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1865
Jefferson and Tyler Streets
The oldest Episcopal Church in the State of Washington, Saint Paul’s is an example of Gothic Revival style. When built, it was situated on a bluff overlooking the harbor but in 1883 at the request of the town council, it was placed on logs and moved to its present location with horses and a windlass.
Captain James W. Seldon of the U.S. Revenue Cutter Wyanda donated a ships’ bell to the church, on condition that it ring as a signal on foggy days. The bell guided many seamen safely to port and still rings at the conclusion of all services, Sundays and weekdays.
A. Horace Tucker, the contractor who built the church, constructed many of the town’s buildings. His own home on the corner of Franklin and Quincy was built for his bride, whose wedding inspired the building of St. Pauls.
Samuel Brooks, who constructed the church’s beautiful roof trusses, was a seaman and the interior structure reflects this. The center Gothic arches combine with graceful curved side members to give the appearance of the frame of a sailing ship. Unlike popular conceptions of Victorian architecture, the church is almost completely devoid of ornament and relies on vertical proportions for its effectiveness.
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.
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.