Port Gamble: A Historic sea-side town in the Pacific Northwest

Today, the little town of Port Gamble, where it all started, still survives, and now offers a retreat from the bustle of daily life for tourists.

Port Gamble today from the air. The former mill location is below the town on the point, and the main part of the town is surrounded by lawns and trees

Port Gamble still is owned by Pope Resources, the former lumber company’s property arm, and the town was providentially designated a National Historic District in 1966, which has been a major force in keeping the town’s character intact.

The two old water towers in the center of town welcome visitors, and the general store, which also houses a wonderful seashell museum on its upper mezzanine, and a history museum in its basement, is a destination not to be missed. Local history downstairs, and ice cream cones upstairs, makes a good combination for sightseeing.

Two green water towers welcome visitors at the head of Rainier Avenue, which leads to the ocean at the far end of the street.

A map of Port Gamble, showing the main street at right, with its small cluster of commercial buildings shown in orange. Some houses have been turned into Antique shops, but there is also a General Store and a Post Office. Residences are shown in blue.

A row of houses on Rainier Avenue. Some of these houses date from as early as 1871 and are a mixture of Italianate and Craftsman style designs. Some of the houses are now antique shops.

The Port Gamble General Store on Rainier Avenue was built in 1916. Upstairs is a Shell Museum, and in the basement is a historical museum. The main floor sells gifts, clothing and ice cream cones, and has a small café. This is the fifth store building in the town.

Inside the general store a staircase rises to the top. Visitors can explore the mezzanine and the displays of sea shells and marine life.

This staircase leads to the third floor, which is closed to the public.

Part of the sea shell museum, with an Alaska King crab prominently displayed.

A showcase of spiky sea shells attracts the attention of visitors.

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