PORT GAMBLE — You can soon own a piece of Pacific Northwest history.
On May 18 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Port Gamble will sell pieces of its past to make room for an expansion of the Port Gamble General Store. The owners of the general store have signed a lease to expand, converting the adjacent Pope Resources timber office into a bar and dinner restaurant. The expansion will open May 1, 2014, Port Gamble general manager Shana Smith said.
The result: The Port Gamble Historical Museum, located on the lower level of the general store building, will lose some storage space. Many of those treasures will be sold May 18.
There are windows from the Hotel Puget, and old bottles unearthed when the hotel was demolished in 1963. There are directional signs and sign frames, 20 ornate balusters (also called spindles or stair sticks) from the Walker-Ames House, old wood chairs, barrister lamps with green shades, art prints, and large, framed reproductions of early Port Gamble photos. Oh, and a pump organ someone donated to Port Gamble.
“I’m kind of a softy,” Smith said. “An older gentleman called me and said he had an old pump organ. It had nothing to do with Port Gamble, and I broke the cardinal rule that [a museum should] never take something that’s not related to the time period it represents.” (Here’s a fact that will encourage the buyer: According to Smith, the donated pump organ is in better shape than the pump organ on display from the old Port Gamble School.)
As a keeper of things historical and offbeat (besides that pump organ, you can buy an art print of a view of North Kitsap from space), Smith continues a tradition started by Pope & Talbot, which founded the mill town in 1853 and is the forerunner of today’s Pope Resources.
“Pope & Talbot didn’t get rid of anything,” Smith said. “In the past, we had a maintenance sale — not museum stuff, but old clawfoot tubs, old windows and doors.”
Smith is careful about what she’s selling. Like those cool, old windows from the Hotel Puget, circa 1903. “We’re going to keep one. There’s no reason to have any of the others,” she said. Photographs? She’ll keep an original and two copies. And so on.
Smith said the oldest items directly connected to Port Gamble are likely the 1903 windows. Some of the bottles are believed to date from the 1900s.
The pump organ — the non-Port Gamble one, not the one from the old school — could outdate the windows. The organ was manufactured by A.B. Chase Organ Co. According to AntiquePianoShop.com, A.B. Chase was established in 1875 by Allen B. Chase of Norwalk, Ohio; the company built pianos and organs in the last quarter of the 19th century. “By 1900, organs were discontinued, and they went on to build a large selection pianos and player pianos for over 100 years.”
Smith said letting go of pieces of Port Gamble’s past is tough.
“The hardest part of it is, should we keep it in case we need it down the road?” And, “Will we let something go for too low of a price and see it on eBay?”
There are no early birds. But you’ll want to be there at 10 a.m. sharp. Smith was fielding calls from antique buyers weeks before the sale. And the 1,200 recipients of Port Gamble’s newsletter received a coupon to use at the sale.
The Port Gamble Historical Museum features artifacts, images and reproduced settings that help tell the story of Port Gamble and the lives of those who lived and worked here.
Among the reproductions: A Coast Salish house; a cabin and hold from a Pope & Talbot ship of the late-1800s; rooms in the Hotel Puget, built in 1903 and demolished in 1963; and various mill work stations.
Indigenous artifacts on display include Northwest Coast Native baskets and a carved and painted canoe paddle presented by Port Gamble S’Klallam Chairman Gerald J. Jones to Pope & Talbot Chairman Peter Pope in 1993.
Hours and admission: www.portgamble.com/shops/museum/