About

Fort Worden is the kind of destination that stays with you for a lifetime. Amidst the magnificent natural setting and the influence of its military past, Fort Worden is home to inspiration, education and personal transformation. People gather here to participate in arts and music events, woodworking classes, conferences, camping and outdoor activities, family reunions, weddings, and much more. Once you explore this picturesque park, you’ll leave with enriching experiences you’ll never forget.

Originally designed as a military base to protect Puget Sound, Fort Worden evolved into an iconic and cherished state park. The fort – featuring 100 historic structures – spans two miles of saltwater shoreline with views of the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, and the San Juan Islands. The fort offers exceptional meeting space, comfortable accommodations and delectable dining options, all within a campus-like setting. Located within a couple of miles from historic downtown Port Townsend, shopping and sightseeing opportunities are just minutes away.

History
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1879
Point Wilson Lighthouse Built

Point Wilson Lighthouse was built – before Fort Worden itself – and continues to aid marine traffic today. Point Wilson marks the western entrance into the Puget Sound.

1902

May 14th: By general orders from Fort Canby, the Army post at Fort Worden was officially established by the United States Government.

1902

May 3rd: Steamer, Majestic, arrived from Seattle with 87 enlisted men of the 126th Company under the command of Captain Manus McClosky of Fort Canby, Washington.

1903

A communications system was installed to connect forts Flagler, Casey and Worden by cable. A power house was also built to supply electricity to the fort at a cost of $60,000.

1904

September: Headquarters of the Harbor Defense of Puget Sound transferred from Fort Flagler to Fort Worden.

1920

May 23rd: Balloon flights tested and tests proven satisfactory.

1921
Balloon Hangar

A balloon hangar was built at Fort Worden, symbolizing the shift in seacoast defense strategy. The balloon company’s stay was brief as it was soon discovered that wind conditions were not conducive to balloon flight.

1959

December 3rd: Navy jurisdiction of fortified areas ends — Army retains command of these areas.

1962

October: Fort Worden selected as an emergency site in case of atomic war, for use as one of the command posts of the civil government.

1973

Centrum founded as non-profit arts and education organization.

1973

August 18th: Dedication of Fort Worden as a State Park.

1981
Marine Science Center opened

Marine Science Center opened by local interest group.

2002

Fort Worden celebrates its centennial.

2012

The Port Townsend Public Development Authority amends its charter and name to focus solely on Fort Worden. The Commission adopts the updated Fort Worden Public Development Authority’s (FWPDA) Business and Management Plan in October. The Commission directs State Parks staff to negotiate a master lease for the campus portion of the Park.

clear
1883

Episcopal rector, Reverend John B. Alexander, builds Alexander’s Castle.

1896

The Secretary of War was authorized by Congress to fortify three points – Fort Worden, Fort Casey, Fort Flagler – for the protection of Puget Sound. These forts are also known as the “Triangle of Fire”.

1903
23 buildings completed

Summer: 23 buildings, including barracks, under construction — completed March, 1904, at a cost of $59,450.

1907

July 17th: Electric power brought to the post.

1917
WWI and Ft Worden expansion

April 6th: World War I declared — Fort Worden expanded with construction of six new buildings: Two 66-Man Barracks, Mess Hall, Latrine, and Officers quarters

1953

June 30th: Fort Worden officially closed, ending a 51-year period of military activity.

1958

June 24th: Official opening and dedication program as Fort Worden Diagnostic and Treatment Center.

1965

November 5th: State Parks acquires additional Fort Worden lands (209 acres) — for future development for camping and recreation areas.

1973

August 10th: 50-unit campground opened with full hook-ups.

1976

Puget Sound Coast Artillery Museum opened by the 248th Coast Artillery Association.

1982

Commanding Officers’ Quarters Museum opened under the direction of The Heritage Group.

2013

The Commission approves a master lease with the FWPDA for the 90-acre campus area of the Park pending the accomplishment of specific transition milestones.

2014

The FWPDA accomplishes required transition milestones and takes over day-to-day operations of the 90-acre campus on May 1. 

1879
Point Wilson Lighthouse Built

Point Wilson Lighthouse was built – before Fort Worden itself – and continues to aid marine traffic today. Point Wilson marks the western entrance into the Puget Sound.

1883

Episcopal rector, Reverend John B. Alexander, builds Alexander’s Castle.

1896

The Secretary of War was authorized by Congress to fortify three points – Fort Worden, Fort Casey, Fort Flagler – for the protection of Puget Sound. These forts are also known as the “Triangle of Fire”.

1902

May 14th: By general orders from Fort Canby, the Army post at Fort Worden was officially established by the United States Government.

1902

May 3rd: Steamer, Majestic, arrived from Seattle with 87 enlisted men of the 126th Company under the command of Captain Manus McClosky of Fort Canby, Washington.

1903
23 buildings completed

Summer: 23 buildings, including barracks, under construction — completed March, 1904, at a cost of $59,450.

1903

A communications system was installed to connect forts Flagler, Casey and Worden by cable. A power house was also built to supply electricity to the fort at a cost of $60,000.

1904

September: Headquarters of the Harbor Defense of Puget Sound transferred from Fort Flagler to Fort Worden.

1907

July 17th: Electric power brought to the post.

1917
WWI and Ft Worden expansion

April 6th: World War I declared — Fort Worden expanded with construction of six new buildings: Two 66-Man Barracks, Mess Hall, Latrine, and Officers quarters

1920

May 23rd: Balloon flights tested and tests proven satisfactory.

1921
Balloon Hangar

A balloon hangar was built at Fort Worden, symbolizing the shift in seacoast defense strategy. The balloon company’s stay was brief as it was soon discovered that wind conditions were not conducive to balloon flight.

1953

June 30th: Fort Worden officially closed, ending a 51-year period of military activity.

1958

June 24th: Official opening and dedication program as Fort Worden Diagnostic and Treatment Center.

1959

December 3rd: Navy jurisdiction of fortified areas ends — Army retains command of these areas.

1962

October: Fort Worden selected as an emergency site in case of atomic war, for use as one of the command posts of the civil government.

1965

November 5th: State Parks acquires additional Fort Worden lands (209 acres) — for future development for camping and recreation areas.

1973

August 10th: 50-unit campground opened with full hook-ups.

1973

Centrum founded as non-profit arts and education organization.

1973

August 18th: Dedication of Fort Worden as a State Park.

1976

Puget Sound Coast Artillery Museum opened by the 248th Coast Artillery Association.

1981
Marine Science Center opened

Marine Science Center opened by local interest group.

1982

Commanding Officers’ Quarters Museum opened under the direction of The Heritage Group.

2002

Fort Worden celebrates its centennial.

2012

The Port Townsend Public Development Authority amends its charter and name to focus solely on Fort Worden. The Commission adopts the updated Fort Worden Public Development Authority’s (FWPDA) Business and Management Plan in October. The Commission directs State Parks staff to negotiate a master lease for the campus portion of the Park.

2013

The Commission approves a master lease with the FWPDA for the 90-acre campus area of the Park pending the accomplishment of specific transition milestones.

2014

The FWPDA accomplishes required transition milestones and takes over day-to-day operations of the 90-acre campus on May 1.