The History of Fort Worden


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.


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


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”.


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.

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



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

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.


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


July 17th: Electric power brought to the post.



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



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.


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


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


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


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.


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


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

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

Centrum founded as non-profit arts and education organization.



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



Marine Science Center opened by local interest group.



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


Fort Worden celebrates its centennial.


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.


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.


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


Fort Worden Hospitality, a non profit organization, is founded to operate hospitality services as Fort Worden State Park through a concession agreement with the Fort Worden Public Development Authority.