Port Angeles, Washington 1890's

Did you know Port Angeles downtown was really downtown at one time?
The original "Business District" used to sit at Sea level.

With the turn of the new century, the townsfolk started pressuring the City Council to do something about the odor from high tide and sewers or lack of them??? Any high tide would flood the stores, hotels, and diners with sewage.

This started the "sluicing" of the "hog back". The steep hill east of town was used as fill dirt by washing it down toward Lincoln Street with high pressured sea water. This was no easy task in 1914 and took many hardworking man hours.

photo courtesy Clallam County Museum

First they had to build concrete walls along each side of the street, and of course this concrete was mixed by hand. Then they made temporary dams to contain the dirt so it wouldn't wash away with the powerful force of those jets. This is so unbelievable without the equipment of modern day!

photo courtesy Clallam County Museum

While all this was happening, the businesses of this section of town realized the new streets were going to be 10-14 feet higher. Some of these structures were torn down, but many added onto their buildings with a second story. The "old" store was now a basement. Some store owners rented their basements out to other companies, since most had stair access. In the later years, these "basements" were closed to the public and the city ran the utility lines through them.

Once again the city is up grading our town by replacing the sewer and water lines. Some of the old underground sidewalks had to be filled in and are now closed off to us forever. The city just didn't "see" the need to spend so much money saving an old and ugly part of our history. Before the sidewalks were filled in with dirt, I was lucky to take the tour of this "ugly & old" town! The following photos are from before the sidewalks were closed off by the city. Much of this is no longer there to see.

I did get excited, so put your hard hat on and let's go!!

WOW! Did you know the sidewalk is open under Front Street from Lincoln to Oak Streets except at two driveways?

This is looking at the sidewalk under Front Street on the south side. It was really dusty down there, note the dots on the pictures. (old & ugly, remember)

These two murals are in the basement of a private building once used as a bar and minature golf. Later, it was a Sears Bargain Basement!

Lots of snow on those mountains!

The Forks fire? If walls could talk!

This next area is under Laurel Street. This is one of the oldest store fronts in Port Angeles (1886) and is going to be saved as a historical site. These next photos are the store front and building still under Laurel Street. When you next take a walk on the west side of Laurel Street, notice the square blocks in the sidewalk. These were installed when the "new" sidewalks were made in 1915. The purpose, skylights for the basement stores!

Outside entrance and old doors to the boys boxing gym. (1930s) Daughter Erica shopping at 1886 store.
(She'll shop anywhere!)
In the gym. It's a big room, but smells "ugly" from the old oil burning stoves..

Standing on the old sidewalk underground looking up at the "new" sidewalk.

I hope these few things will be saved for all to enjoy in the years to come.


Thank you all involved in saving our "underground" for others to enjoy. May GOD bless you!