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Bite-Sized History: The General Store Building

Although there is nothing bite-sized about this building, it was constructed in 1916 for $23,106.87. This building is the 5th store in the company’s history in Port Gamble. One of the first buildings constructed by Pope & Talbot in 1853 when the sawmill was established was a store. Pope & Talbot descended from families who owned stores in Maine as well as investments in sawmills and ships which explains why there was so much importance placed on having a General Store in Port Gamble from it’s beginning. In 1903, a “market” was established where The Artful Ewe business is located today. This marked the first time a store was established off of the mill site. The market’s location allowed the town residents to safely visit the store for their supplies without having to traverse the sawmill.

When the general store building was constructed in 1916, it stood not only has a hub of local commerce, but also as a symbol of strength and success of the township and sawmill. The building happened to also house the company’s mill offices on the ground floor which became the historic museum in 1976, and the North part where the Hood Canal Tree Farm office was held until 2013. This part of the building is now home to Scratch Kitchen which has amazing food and views to boot. Photos of the store’s interior taken during the 1920’s and 1930’s reveal a wide variety of goods. Groceries are displayed in the southeast corner of the main floor, shoes and buttons towards the entrance. The mezzanine contained numerous shelves filled with dry goods and clothing. In one photograph, and oriental carpet hung at the top of the staircase.

Today, this steadfast Kitsap icon houses the Port Gamble General Store & Café, Of Sea and Shore Shell Museum, the Port Gamble Historic Museum, and the delicious Scratch Kitchen.

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