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Bite-sized Port Gamble History: A Presidential Visit

Each month, we'll be including a small piece of history from Port Gamble and I hope you will find it interesting! One hundred and forty years ago, the year 1880 was long remembered for the visit of President and Mrs. Rutherford B. Hayes during their trip to Puget Sound. President Hayes was the first President to travel beyond the Rockies.

One Port Gamble resident wrote about the presidential visit; “the mill was closed down and school children with red, white, and blue ribbons pinned to their shoulders were on the dock as part of the reception committee.

Maude Walker (daughter of William & Emma Walker of the Walker-Ames House) presented Mrs. Hayes with a bouquet of flowers, the cannon was fired and flags were flying high. Mrs. Hayes shook hands with every school child…The mill men stood on the lumber piles and cheered as the President’s ship, the GEO. E. Star left the dock.”

William “Will” Walker was the sawmill’s master mechanic who was well known for lighting off the fireworks for Independence Day each year. The federal census schedule for 1880 shows the town’s population at 421.