Port Gamble’s got the goods

The Daniel B. Jackson House is one of the sights to be seen during Port Gamble’s home tours today. - Brad Camp/Staff photo
The Daniel B. Jackson House is one of the sights to be seen during Port Gamble’s home tours today.
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff photo

Town hosts third annual Historic Home Tour.

PORT GAMBLE — From slinging moonshine to Chinese menservants to “red light” brothel houses, the historic town of Port Gamble had it all in the late 1800s.

Today, the town is sleepy. Children’s bicycles lay toppled on the grass and locals wander to the General Store for coffee or a bite to eat. However few know the stories of those who lived in those homes or worked in those stores more than 100 years ago.

Today, Kitsap Arts and Crafts is hosting a tour of six homes between noon and 4 p.m. Tickets are $12 and include admission to the Port Gamble museum, located below the General Store.

Stationed at each of the homes are volunteers such as Corinne Miller, 82, to tell stories and give a glimpse into the past.

Miller loves history, especially if it has to do with the homes of Port Gamble.

Most of the stores and some of the homes have signs telling tidbits of those who first moved to the town.

Still, there are other homes where little is known about their first families.

Miller said there are missing records for some of the homes, which were built in the mid- to late 1800s.

Miller, who used to work at the visitors’ bureau which was located in the old schoolhouse, searched for the stories by looking up records, old newspaper archives and talking to past residents to get a better idea of life and the ways of the first Port Gamble community.

Walking around the block of homes, Miller points to the outside signs decorating the carefully manicured lawns and flower gardens.

One of which belongs to the Hirschi House. The tale tells how Mr. Hirschi worked 49 years straight never taking a day off, manufacturing family moonshine and earning the nickname “Ace in the Hole,” through his singing abilities.

Walking the gravel road by the Hirshi House, Miller points across the street. “There was the red light house over there. It was the house of ill repute,” she said. “Any mill town back then had a house like that.”

Many of the signs don’t tell the full story.

Walking by the Dauntless Bookstore — the original home of Estes and Ava Crouse — Miller whispers, “that was his third wife.”

This is the third annual Historic Home Tour, Miller said. Last year about 200 people attended.

“These are historic homes that aren’t usually open to the public because people still live in them,” she said.

Miller said there will also be demonstrations and ghost stories told by some of the merchants who claim to experience spooky happenings.

For more information contact Miller at (360) 297-2490.

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