Name: John Trumbull House
Year Built: 1891
Location: 925 Wilson Street
Area: Uptown Port Townsend
The Trumbull family and their six children came from Glasgow, Scotland in 1866 and settled in Cresco, Iowa. A number of the older sons later moved to Port Townsend and Port Angeles. The parents continued to live in Cresco for 27 years and had six more children. The senior Mr. Trumbull died in 1893. His wife left Iowa in 1903 to join her sons in Port Townsend. She died in 1921.
At one time or another a number of well-known local historical figures held title to the land on which the Trumbull House stands. The original 1867 land grant shows that approximately 320 acres were granted to Thomas and Sarah Hammond by President Andrew Johnson in 1867.
The senior Trumbull's sons John and Thomas, and their wives, jointly built the Trumbull House, although apparently, only John and his family actually lived in it. In 1891 before completion of the house, the failing economy took its toll and the Trumbulls almost lost the property because of problems with liens and nonpayment of taxes. The cloud on the title was subsequently lifted with the help of two lending institutions, called sureties in those days.
John Trumbull was a lawyer and was the recipient of some notoriety when he stood trial in Seattle for issuing false certificates to admit illegal Chinese laborers. He was acquitted of all charges, but soon left Port Townsend to practice law in Seattle. Not much more is known of him or his family.
The house had a checkered history after the Trumbulls sold it. It has changed hands many times, for as little as $8,000 and as much as $250,000. Some notable residents included the paper mill superintendent, the Norris's, who also owned Manresa Castle, and the Gauthiers (the longest residents of record, at 42 years).
Once, the house survived a fire caused by a pot belly stove that became red hot and fell through the floor. In the 1960s it was a rental and a rooming house; many Port Townsend residents report having lived there in their younger days. Over the years, the house fell victim to neglect and "modernization." The current owners, the Brydons, have photos showing its sad decline.
Fortunately, retired Colonel Stanley Anderson and his wife came along and saw the possibilities in the neglected house. They found and refurbished the original doors, windows, and Queen Ann ornamental trim, and the house came to life again. They even restored the white picket fence.
In 1972 they installed an upstairs bathroom in a space that had been a small bedroom. A large kitchen was created from a former downstairs bedroom; the original kitchen had earlier been redone to provide the home's first indoor bathroom. In 1978 the Andersons were rewarded for their work with the coveted Mary Johnson Award. They continued working on the house, and in 1985 they successfully petitioned the U.S. Department of the Interior to grant the Trumbull House the attention and prominence it richly deserves. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Note the plaque on the porch railing that attests to this honor. Following its sale by the Andersons, the house suffered again. The current owners have done more than their share in restoring the stately home again and adding their own authentic touches. A new room was carved out by raising an attic roof; it was outfitted with woodwork and heirlooms from the same era, which the Brydons brought with them from California. Mr. Brydon also built a number of spacious and charming closets. Homes of that vintage were not built with closets, because people used free-standing armoires.
In 1991 a photo of the Trumbull House was selected from 200 entries to appear on the cover of Alaska Airlines Magazine. On an Alaska Airlines flight, the current owners, who knew nothing of the photo's submittal to the contest, were surprised to see a picture of their house on the magazine cover. On several other occasions, the house has been featured in magazines and advertisements as a shining example of Port Townsend's Victorian architecture.
Data modified from the National Register of Historic Places, the former Victorian Festival Heritage Home Tour, property owners and other sources. All material copyrighted by PTguide.com.