The Ghost Town of Port Crescent

Port Crescent’s prosperity and future, like so many others on the Olympic Peninsula, was depended on the placement of the tidal exodus of the railroad terminus rumored to built on the peninsula.

Port Crescent - Now and Then

I’ve been coming up to camp and explore in the area west of Port Angeles for over thirty years and I still am finding new things every time. An area that’s popular with surfers and where I’ve launched my kayak is Crescent Bay. It’s a long stretch of moon shape beach. A county park bookends the east side with private property on the west side. In the middle is an old cemetery which is all that’s left of the once-thriving community of Port Crescent.

Port Crescent was first envisioned as a deep-water harbor for ocean-going vessels, particularly for timber cruisers for the loading of logs to be shipped to foreign ports. There was news of railroads building northwest from Tacoma into the Olympic Peninsula, which fanned rumors of a coming boom for the area.

A promotion company was formed in 1892 and laid out an ambitious townsite consisting of 20,000 lots on 166 blocks in a neat rectangular pattern. The town had two saloons, the Markham House, a modern hotel at the time, the Port Crescent Hotel, stores and all the amenities of a frontier town. The town had a few more ups and downs during the early 1900s until the late 1920s.

The hoped-for railhead never appeared and when the highway was placed south of the community all the residents eventually moved toward the commerce. Once abandoned the Army razed the town during WWII as part of its coastal defense system against invasion.

The old cemetery is all that is left, but it’s worth a visit. Some of the graves are dated back to the mid-1800s before Washington was granted statehood.

Support

Our mission is a labor of love, but it does come with overhead. If you’d like to support our efforts we’d certainly appreciate it. Currently, we’re actively participating in the following field research:

  • COASST Beached Bird Surveys
  • Wild and Scenic River Project

Thank you.

Lake Crescent - North Shore

Another wonderful area to explore is Lake Crescent which is nestled in the Olympic National Park. This area is full of waterfalls, old forests, and enough trails to get truly immersed in all of the above.

One of our favorite places to visit is the old Spruce Railroad trail which runs along the north shore of the lake. As I write this there is a notice on the Park’s website about the closure of the trail from March 2020 through November 2020 for maintenance.

Port Crescent’s prosperity and future, like so many others on the Olympic Peninsula, was depended on the placement of the tidal exodus of the railroad terminus rumored to built on the peninsula.

Affiliates

We are the learned society for geography and geographers.
as-seal-gr
Working to provide opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to make a difference as they play in the outdoors.
coasst-logo
Working to translate long-term monitoring into effective marine conservation solutions.
Sea Grant Washington
Provide integrated research, communication, and education to coastal communities that lead to the responsible use of the nation’s oceans.

Latest Instagram

Fort Flagler is a historic fort that was built at the turn of the last century. Despite being built for military purposes, it never fired a shot in anger. By the time the fort was completed, it was already obsolete, and its guns were shipped to the East Coast to take part in World War I.⁠ Media Description: Fort Flagler ...

I woke up to a spectacular clouds show this morning. It was ever-changing and dramatic. I think it was due to a front moving in and then hitting the Olympics. ...

Boarding the MV Coho bright and early for a journey to Victoria, British Columbia. ...

Did you notice the breathtaking sunrise this morning? It was a refreshing change to see it without any rain. ...

Camping at Fort Worden this weekend. Nice to have the temperatures moderate and get outdoors. Even had a spot of sun as we passed the lighthouse on our walk. ...

It's sunny, but man, it's frigid out there! ...

We are enjoying the tranquility of a waterfall deep in the Olympic National Forest. ...

Taking a break on the trail to Goat Rock's summit for coffee. The trail leads from the park under the iconic Deception Pass Bridge. ...

Near the Tieton River bank, we found a blooming Brittle Prickly Pear (Opuntia fragilis). Visit our website for more details and photos from this trip. ⁠ Media Description: Brittle Prickly Pear ...

Hey, we're going camping this weekend at Fort Flagler State Park. Looks like there's a wild front coming through and the winds are really starting to howl. The good news is that we pretty much have the whole campground to ourselves. ...

Yellow Salsify reminded us of our childhood, and yes, we spent considerable time blowing the seeds into the breeze.⁠ Media Description: Yellow Salsify. You can find more photos and read about this adventure with the link in the bio. ...

This set of pillars made from columnar basalt at the terminus of Frenchman Coulee is popular among rock climbers.⁠ Read more about this in the link in bio. ...

We started our hike to the Frenchman Coulee Waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge early in the morning to beat the heat. However, when we reached the bottom of the waterfall, it was already scorching hot. Follow the link in the bio to read more. ...

Point Wilson Lighthouse at night. This is a hand held shot with the new iPhone. Hard to believe where tech has taken us. ...

Large waves from the evening storm crashed against the rocks at the base of Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. ...

We’ve hiked the trail from its east end many times, but have never had the time to explore the trail from end to end. That changed this time due to brining along our Rad Power Bikes. I love the range and mobility that these bikes give us and this was trail played to their strengths. We were able to explore the trail’s west end which as a real treat. I’d highly recommend a visit if you’ve never had the chance.

Please share this:

More to explore

Port Gamble Fire Station
Journal

How Did Port Gamble Stay Off The Radar?

Looking for a new adventure? Try taking a right instead of left sometime. In our case, we found a close, quaint little community that for practical purposes have been doing their best to hide from us.

Read More »
Theresa searching
Journal

Three Children Go Missing Near Carbonado

The entire time we were photographing on the riverbed we could hear the whistles and shouts from a group on the bridge. We found out 3 kids had wandered off on their own and hadn’t been seen for the last half hour.

Read More »

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.