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Located on the Kitsap Peninsula in Kitsap County, WA, this old historic company mill town was founded and built in 1853 by Josiah Keller, William Talbot, Andrew Pope and Charles Foster, to house the mill employees. Together these men formed the Puget Mill Company. The mill became the oldest continuously operating sawmill in the U.S, closing its doors in 1995 making it a 142 year run.
William Talbot was a sea captain and a lumber merchant, who spotted a piece of land, that was then called Teekalet by the Native Americans, who already occupied the area.
Joshua Keller then brought the machinery from Maine by boat and that's how the first mill, named the Teekalet Mill, got started.
The buildings in town resemble the ones in Maine, because the company tried to keep the mill workers from getting too home sick. as lot of them were from Maine. House style depended on if the employee was single, had family or was a manager or a superintendent in the company. Some houses were built,some brought from Port Ludlow.
In 1853 Josiah Keller passed away and Cyrus Walker took his place as the new superintendent . The town started to grow adding a second mill and a school. In 1868 the town name was changed to Port Gamble.
In 1888 Edwin Ames became the new superintendent.
The company took good care of the towns people and their needs.
Early 1900 brought Depression and Panic and business was no longer profitable. So the mill was sold to Charles R. McCormick Lumber Co in !925. He was not successful running it and soon fell into debt and the mill was closed in 1935 temporarily..
1938 the Puget Mill Co.took it back .
In 1940 Puget Mill Co. became Pope & Talbot and in 1985, due to asset separation, Pope Resources Inc. took over the Port Gamble town site and the mill.
After the mill closed in 1995, Pope Resources took on the responsibility to maintain the town. Today it is maintained by the Olympic Property Group.
It was added on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966 and designated as National Historic Landmark District.
Today,all the old buildings that used to occupy the mill employees, have been leased by various businesses.
Taking the rich history of the town, it has a lot of residual energy and many spirits still call it home. Disembodied voices and footsteps, unexplainable noises, whispers, objects moving by themselves and apparitions are just a few things that are common in many of the buildings.
You can take the Ghost Walk tour, led by Pete Orbea of the Port Gamble Paranormal, to hear all the wonderful stories about each building, what activity has occurred in them and who stayed behind. The employees of each building will gladly tell you about all the ghosts and activity in them as well.
We were able to capture some of the ghost kids in the Painted Lady, the old New York House, on our voice recorder simply by walking through the store.
You can read about some of the activity in some of the stores under the pictures.
Port Gamble is well worth a visit if you are in the area. Be sure to visit the two Museums when in town. The people are super friendly and will have a lot of interesting stories to tell. Check out the Port Gamble calendar of events for some fun things to do while in town.