About Our Campus

Located at the corner of Water Street and Monroe Street in downtown Port Townsend, our waterfront campus was designed by the Miller Hull Partnership and completed in 2009, after many years of planning, fundraising, and community support. From our unique site on Port Townsend Bay at the entrance to Admiralty Inlet and Puget Sound, you can see the Olympics, Mt. Rainier, Glacier Peak, and Mt. Baker from one spot!

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Site History

The land where this building now stands was once a tidal lagoon and sand spit; the area was a popular clamming beach for S’Klallam people and a landing point for tribes from locations across the Olympic Peninsula and beyond. From the 1850s through the 1890s, Native Americans were displaced, sometimes forcibly, by non-Native settlers who established their own buildings and businesses at the end of a bustling and growing downtown.  

In 1927, the Union Oil Company of California (Unocal) bought the property, since it had excellent water access for shipping. It was used by Unocal, Signal Oil Co (Texaco), and Thomas Oil Company for temporary bulk storage of fuel products until the late 1980s.  

The site was labeled an ‘intrusion’ into the Point Hudson National Landmark Historic District, and various proposals were brought forward in the 1990s to redevelop it with condos, or even a large hotel/spa with an underwater restaurant!

Simultaneously, the Wooden Boat Foundation had been working on plans to buy or build a permanent home. The Port Townsend community wanted to maintain public access to the waterfront and develop the site in a way that was compatible with the historic downtown, but modern in its expression and function.  

Soon the Northwest Maritime Center was established. We purchased the site and pier in September of 2000 and spent many years working on cleanup, design, zoning, and construction. The new buildings, designed by architects Miller Hull Partnership, opened at Wooden Boat Festival in the fall of 2009.