This area, located just west of Port Angeles, has one of the most intriguing histories just by virtue of what you don’t see when you arrive in the area. Yes, the area is breathtakingly beautiful with a large bay edged with forest and unspoiled beaches. It’s only when you start researching the area that you realize that this bay once housed homes, hotels, large docking system and a boardwalk spanned Crescent Bay.
Behind the Photo
The shallow beach combined with a low tide gave this beach a wonderful mirror effect. The fog rolling up from the Strait of Juan de Fuca caught the setting sun turning the sky to fire. I got low to the beach to capture as much of the reflection as I can and not being sure just how I wanted to expose this photograph I shot a 3-shot bracket under and over exposing by ½ a f-stop.
Ultimately, I choose the underexposed version as I liked the rich colors of the setting sun and the slightly ominous feeling of the dark woods.
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. All but deserted, the town of Port Crescent died by fire. A careless beachcomber left an unattended log fire on Crescent beach, which spread into the oil soaked ground of an old oil house, ate its way along the boardwalk to the hotel and torched that structure which spread to the remaining buildings.