Port Gamble sits near the Entrance of Hood Canal in NW Washington. The entire town is National Historic Landmark. In the mid-1800s industrialist determined that the great expansion of the west, especially California and the rest of the Pacific Coast, was going to require large quantities of lumber for building. The Port Gamble sawmill was built and soon owned by Wm. Talbot and Andrew Pope. In 1853 it would become the Pope and Talbot Sawmill which would employ up to 1,000 people. The Company built employee housing, a general store, church, theater, professional offices, a mansion for the manager and a graveyard. The graveyard’s earliest resident was killed by British Columbia Indians on Gamble Bay in 1856. EVERYTHING was Company owned.
This longest running sawmill in the world closed in 1995 after 142 years of operation. At the end, with timber becoming scarce, the mill had only 71 employees. The town remains as a big museum. All the houses remain as built more than 100 yrs ago. At one time there were many ‘company owned’ towns in the United States. Today there are but a few. If you get a chance visit this beautifully tranquil place. You’ll never forget its historical significance.