Historical Facts of Port Hadlock Tri-Area Communities

The Business Hub of East Jefferson County on the
Olympic Peninsula of Washington State

  • Port Hadlock was established in 1870
  • Fort Flagler Post Office was established in 1900
  • Marrowstone Lighthouse began as a red lens on a white pole in
    October 1888. In 1896, a red bell was added, and in 1962,
    the Lighthouse became automated
  • Nordland on Marrowstone Island was founded by a Norwegian immigrant in 1892
  • In 1925 the North Star ferries first trip, with tourist aboard, enroute to the Strawberry Festival in Nordland
  • Portage Canal Bridge was constructed in 1952 that linked the mainland with Indian Island
  • Irondale Steel Plant was the only smelter in the state in 1902.  The steel used in the construction of the Bon Marche building in Seattle (now Macy’s)
  • Irondale News, came off the presses on February 5, 1910


History of Port Hadlock

Samuel Hadlock, the founder of Port Hadlock, moved west in the 1850’s. Finally landing in the Port Hadlock area in 1870.  He contracted with the Washington Mill Company to build a sawmill on a spit of land off the Bay, on a low bank, but deep enough waters for tall ships to moor.  Hadlock established a large lumber mill.  Lumber from the mill was shipped to San Francisco, and as far away as Australia and Hawaii.  Two of the remaining buildings of the Washington Mill Company are; the first one known today as the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building.  The second building was the residence of Samuel Hadlock, presently known as the Ajax Cafe.

On the waterfront near the mill was a general store, post office, barber shop, livery stable, laundry, two hotels and two saloons. The saloons were frequented by sailors from all over the world as well as local mill workers, long-shoremen, and loggers. There was little law enforcement and it was life in the Wild West.

In 1909 construction started on the alcohol plant.  It was completed in 1910 when it began manufacturing wood alcohol from sawdust. The operational costs of this venture proved too costly and the plant suspended operation about 1913. Today the The Alcohol Plant has been renovated into a first class Resort, which includes an Inn, Restaurant, Marina and Art Gallery.

The residential section was in upper Hadlock.  After the lumber mill burned, businesses began to move uptown.  William Sehrs of Sehrs Shipyard built the Masonic Temple in 1911.  Sehrs completed other projects such as the Nordland ferry and bridges across the Chimacum Creek.  The Tri-Area was a growing, viable township.

Subsequent industries have included a boat building yard, and a clam cannery. In 1946 Melvin Kively established the first businesses at the Hadlock intersection – a second hand store and a Signal Service Station.