|Late 19th-century buildings on Water Street|
Just as bustling Cripple Creek in its 1890s heyday was served by several railroads and a streetcar system, Port Townsend's boosters saw it destined to be Puget Sound's major port.
|On Port Townsend's waterfront|
But the railroad never arrived, and Port Townsend stagnated, although the arrival of the Coast Artillery Corps at Ford Worden made a difference. From 1902 through World War Two, batteries at Fort Worden, Marrowstone Island, and Whidbey Island ensured that any foreign battle fleet entering Puget Sound would be triangulated by multiple guns.
On successive family visits, we would always take the ferry to Port Townsend, gawk at the Victorian buildings awaiting the restorationist's paint brush, check out the maritime restoration projects ongoing among the wooden-boat cultists, and eat some seafood.
The folks moved back to Colorado in 1990 and, in essence, gave us a vacation by flying us out to bring back Dad's Jeep, which we drove home via the Klamath National Wildlife Refuge and San Francisco. But first we loaded it on the Keystone ferry to Port Townsend, ate a bowl of cioppino (me), and paid Downtown one last visit.
|Where poetry is cute.|
I saw fewer wooden hulls and more expensive motor yachts. The town is now billed as an "arts community," whatever that means, and it attracts prosperous retirees—I can't blame them.
Fort Warden is —has been for a long time — a state park with beaches and trails, a conference center, and you can even rent a house on Officers Row for your vacation stay.
In a town where "shangai" was once a verb, now it is the name of a restaurant at the marina.