Name: Francis W. James House
Year Built: 1889
Location: 1238 Washington Street
Area: Uptown Port Townsend

Francis Wilcox James, a businessman with a vision for Port Townsend, arrived in 1853. He held several jobs before opening his own mercantile business. He reportedly made his fortune during the Civil War by converting gold into unsecured green backs at 35 cents to the dollar. He reinvested those gains in U.S. bonds at a 15 percent discount.

James built this house in 1889. It gave him a clear view of Port Townsend and the shipping in the bay. His wife, Mary, died seven weeks after moving into the house. In 1909, he married his housekeeper. He was 77 and she was 24. The marriage ended in divorce, and James died in 1920.

The house originally cost $10,000 to build. It is a fine example of Queen Ann architecture. The complex roof and chimney forms were considered modern at the time it was built.

James built his home with the finest of woods and the finest of views from Levery window. The former owner added her own vision to his with English gardens, and restoration of the original pump house windmill which used to pump water from a deep well to the house.

The James House was the Northwest's oldest bed and breakfast inn, but is now privately owned.

Entry
The beautiful parquet floors are made of oak, walnut, and cherry. Wild cherry was brought in from Virginia around Cape Horn for the stairway bannisters, newel posts, and spindles. Carving was done in the house.

Music Parlor
Located to the right of the entry, there is a player piano and an Edison Victrola with a rare oak horn. Also note the rare Regina music box.

Formal Parlor
Located to the left, the settees are original. The portiers (heavy curtains dividing the rooms) are also original.

Dining Room
Contains an unusually large complete antique dining room set. An original document recording the James Addition in Seattle, recorded Dec. 17, 1887 hangs on the dining room wall. That piece of property is now known as Pioneer quare.

Second Floor
Room 1

This was James' personal suite. Note the woodwork and the ceramic pieces on the fireplace. A sliding window opens to the balcony. The armoire was his.

Room 2
The tall door to the balcony is a recent addition. The dresser and bed came from the Conway family, who owned the famous Farm House Restaurant.

Room 3
This room still has the original cherry furniture that James' daughters used.

Room 4
This was Mary James' dressing room. The bathroom used by Mary's Room guests has silver-plated fixtures.

Third Floor
Alcove

Note the golden oak and mahagony furniture and the brass bed.

Room 1
Oriental nesting tables, a mahagony sleigh bed, and sterling silver ceiling fixture and lamp grace this room.

Room 2
Eastlake period oak furniture dominates this room. Note the burled wood incorporated into the dresser.

Room 3
This room boasts a quartersawn oak dresser.

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.

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