Fort Townsend

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Fort Townsend (1856-1861) (1874-1895) - Fort Townsend was established in 1856 by Bvt. Major Granville O. Haller, 4th U.S. Infantry, U.S. Army, for the protection of settlers during the Yakima Indian War.

Barracks at Fort Townsend circa 1885 (University of Washington Archive)
Guardhouse at Fort Townsend circa 1885 (University of Washington Archive)
Fort Townsend Parade & Flagpole

Fort Townsend History

Fort Townsend was first established on 26 Oct 1856 by Major Haller as a blockhouse for settler protection during the Yakima Indian War. In 1859 troops were sent from the fort to American Camp to assist in the San Juan Island boundary dispute commonly known as "The Pig War." The fort was placed in caretaker status between 1859 and 1874 for being "unfit," after an inspection by General William S. Harney, Commander of the army headquarters in Columbia. Brought back to life in 1874, the fort thrived until 1895 when fire - started by an exploding kerosene lamp - destroyed the barracks. The fort was decommissioned but was used during World War II as an enemy munitions defusing station. In 1958 it was turned over to the State Parks Commission.

Current Status

Old Fort Townsend State Park, Jefferson County, Washington. Not much remains except the grounds and a flagpole. Interpretive signs mark the locations of important buildings and places but nothing remains that can be viewed.

Location: On the Olympic Peninsula, approximately two miles south of Port Townsend, Jefferson County, Washington.

Maps & Images

Lat: 48.07628 Long: -122.78789

See Also:



Visited: 19 Jul 2008

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