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General Store and Café

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Pope and Talbot Office and General Store
1916. 32400 N. Rainier Ave.
  • (Photograph by Thomas Veith)

The General Store was the most important building in the daily life of Port Gamble, apart from the mills. It is located at the northeast end of North Rainier Avenue, across from the community center. On the north side of the building, a road curves down to the mill site. The building was, and remains, the visual anchor of the commercial district, as well as its principal retail establishment. Here, mill workers were paid, business records were kept, and residents bought necessities for everyday life. The store, built in 1916, sold everything from food, clothing, and housewares to tools and hardware. It also sold goods to ship captains and crews, settlers around Puget Sound, the S'Klallam Indians, and logging camps.

The building is a two-part block form, divided horizontally into two sections. Although the store and the single-story office on the north end were built as a single unit, they appear to be separate structures when viewed from the street because of differences in height and facade treatment. The store has a three-story facade with large display windows, transom windows, and a flat canopy. It is clad in drop siding. The building sits at the edge of a steep slope, with a daylight basement facing the former mill site. The office section has a single-story facade at the street elevation but a two-story facade at the opposite side of the building, accentuating its visual prominence when viewed from the former mill site below. The office block was expanded to the north sometime after the 1920s; the addition is of similar design and construction. Company records do not identify an architect and the design may have been based on stock plans.

The interior features a central court with broad staircases up to two mezzanines faced with decorative metal grates. Several original wood display cases remain in use. The building's lower level, with an entry on the mill side, now contains the Port Gamble Museum. The office section has been remodeled and now serves as a café.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Mimi Sheridan
Coordinator: 
J. Philip Gruen
Robert R. Franklin
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Data

Timeline

  • 1916

    Design and construction

What's Nearby

Citation

Mimi Sheridan, "General Store and Café", [Port Gamble, Washington], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/WA-01-035-0089-02.

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