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America's Greatest Main Streets

America's greatest main streets: Port Townsend

Christina Pivarnik

Port Townsend, WA

Expecting a shipping boom, 19th-century residents built out Port Townsend in high Victorian style starting in 1851. The town found itself on the wrong side of Puget Sound when the railroads connected to Seattle, 40 miles across the way. Yet much of the original exuberance remains; the historic town of 9,000 has been reborn as an arts center. Its most photographed landmark remains the blue-and-white Hastings Building with bay windows at 833-839 Water Street.

Worth a Stop: Rose Theatre, a 1907 former vaudeville theater lovingly restored and now showing contemporary movies. Worth the ticket price for gawking alone.

—Wayne Curtis


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