Now & Then: Chetzemoka Park

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Port Townsend was a very different place in 1917. Soldiers drilled on the parade grounds at Fort Worden and the sound of cannons dug in to bluff-top bunkers rumbled across the Admiralty Inlet.

But then, as now, when the duties of every day service relaxed, people headed to a popular green spot, 10 acres of gardens and picnic grounds known since 1904 as Chetzemoka Park. In this yesteryear photo, World War I era soldiers peer out from the rustic shelter at the park, on leave for the moment from wartime duties. Chetzemoka Park was established in 1904 when civic club volunteers cleared the hillside parcel.

According to historical accounts, 200 people showed up to do the work on the newly donated land. In the years since, additional property was purchased by the city and added to the site. The shelter in this yesteryear photo is long gone.

Today in its place are gardens and a gazebo with wide views of Admiralty Inlet, the Cascade Mountains and this sheltered path under a trellis.

The park is located on Jackson Street between Garfield and Roosevelt streets. The park takes its name from Chief Chetzemoka, a Native American leader who was friendly with the settlers of Port Townsend.
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