Port Angeles has been around for a long time! In fact, just recently some tangible evidence has emerged that confirms the idea that this stretch of land has been inhabited since before the birth of Christ! This is just another one of the reasons that you should come and visit us at the George Washington Inn. There is much to learn about Port Angeles history.
- The Port Angeles area was first explored in 1791 by Spanish explorer Francisco de Eliza. Upon entering the Strait of Juan de Fuca, he claimed the area and the surrounding waters for Spain and named it Puerto de Nuestra Senora de los Angeles. Of course, time has whittled the name down and we know the area today simply as Port Angeles. The whole Spanish name is now written in the annals of Port Angeles history.
- There were many indigenous people already living all along the Pacific Northwestern coast. The local Native Americans hailed from the Klallam tribe and at that point, there were two main villages – I’e’nis and Tse-whit-zen. Port Angeles was formally founded in 1862 when a group of settlers came to the area and lived among and traded with the Klallam people. At that time, Port Angeles was just a small marine village, mostly dedicated to whaling, fishing, and trade. As anyone can see, it’s grown tremendously since then.
- During his presidency, Abraham Lincoln agreed to reserve 3,520 acres of land in Port Angeles to be used for a lighthouse, a military presence, and other federally sanctioned purposes. In fact, downtown Port Angeles was designed by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The only other city in America who had the same claim to fame was Washington DC! Since that time, there has been an active Coast Guard presence in Port Angeles.
- In 2003, the largest prehistoric Native American burial site in the United States was found while excavating to build a new bridge along the shore of Port Angeles. When the human remains were found, construction stopped and a team of archeologists were commissioned to discover what lay beneath the layers of soil. What they found was an amazing burial ground encompassing over 300 graves. Some of the bones dated back about 2,700 years and they also found that whole families had been buried together. It is believed that the American settlers brought smallpox and other diseases with them. These virulent viruses killed entire communities of Native Americans who had never encountered such illnesses before and thus many of the graves that were found were group graves.
There is history all around us here at the George Washington Inn and we are grateful for it. Our Inn, a replica of George Washington’s beloved Mt. Vernon, celebrates all that is good and honorable about our nation and we are excited to share it with all of you!
Make your reservations today and experience some Port Angeles history and the warm elegance of the George Washington Inn!