Olympic Peninsula Timeline

History of Olympic Peninsula timeline to 1900. 

Corrections and additions welcome.

55 to 15 million years before present (YBP): Undersea deposits of sandstone, shale and basalt form what would become the Olympic Peninsula YBP: Six separate glacial periods advance and retreat across the Olympic Peninsula.

From 70,000 to 60,000 YBP and from 16,500 to 11,000 YBP: The formation of continental ice sheets lowered the sea level to expose the 600-mile wide Bering Land Bridge between Siberia and Alaska.

20,000 YBP: The ocean coastline of the Olympic Peninsula is located 20-25 miles offshore from its present location.

14,000 the ice sheet covering the North Olympic Peninsula elts.

13,000 YBP: Manis Mastodon Site in Sequim. The remains of a butchered mastodon and a spear point in a rib bone were discovered with other species of Pleistocene megafauna. 

11,000 YBP: The Bering Land Bridge is covered by rising sea level.

9,000 YBP: Archaeological remains on James Island at mouth of Quileute River.

6,000 YBP: Elk hunters camp made of posts and cattail mats with stone oven for baking camas located on the edge of the Sequim Prairie.

3,000 YBP: Hoko Rock Shelter is inhabited.

2,500 YBP: Tse-wit-sen village is built at the west end of Port Angeles Harbor. The 335 human remains and over 100,000 artifacts unearthed by a construction project represent the largest pre-contact burial site in the Pacific Northwest.

219 BC: Chinese tradition tells of a mysterious foreign land to the east of Japan they called “Fousang.” 

1285: Marco Polo heard of a new land to the east called “Anian.” The fabled Straits of Anian were said to reach across the continent. Renaissance explorers were sure this was a shortcut to the Orient, a land rich in gold, spices and souls waiting to be converted to Christianity.

1492: Columbus discovers America, which he thinks is India.

1513, September: Balboa discovers “The Western Sea,” later named the Pacific Ocean, and claimed all of the lands that it washed for the king of Spain. 

1579: Sir Francis Drake was raiding Spanish ships full of treasure they had looted from the New World. To avoid pursuers, Drake sailed around the tip of South America and up the West Coast looking for the “Northwest Passage,” a shortcut to England. Along the way, Drake landed in a harbor he named “New Albion” to claim the land for the queen of England, repair his ship and bury 17 tons of treasure. The debate has raged since then whether Drake’s “Port Albion” was the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

1592: Apostolus Valerionos, a Greek navigator working for Spain under the name Juan de Fuca, claims to have discovered the strait that bears his name for the viceroy of Mexico.

1639: Japanese government decreed all junks must be built with open sterns and large square rudders that were unfit for ocean navigation, causing countless Japanese to be shipwrecked on the West Coast of North America.

1700: A subduction event occurs as the Juan de Fuca plate slides beneath the North American Continental plate, creating an earthquake estimated to be greater than magnitude 9.0 that sent a tsunami that reached Japan. All tribes on the Olympic Peninsula have an oral tradition of floods, which may have originated as the result of a subduction event. 

1700: An Ozette village is buried in a mudslide. An archaeological dig at the site in the 1970s found a European bead and some brass tacks that could have come from Drake’s ship or Juan de Fuca or other unknown Europeans. 

1741: The Russians Vitus Bering and Aleksei Chirikof reach North America.

1770: Juan Perez, first Spanish explorer on the Northwest Coast, reaches Queen Charlottte Islands and Nootka Sound. While off the coast of the Olympic Peninsula he observes a mountain called, “Sun a do” by the Hoh people which he names, “Sierra de la Rosalia.” It is later named Mt. Olympus.  

1775: First landing on the Olympic Peninsula by a European takes place near Pt. Grenville. Captains Bruno Heceta and Bodega y Quadra sailed north from San Blas, Mexico. On July 14, Heceta lands north of Pt. Grenville, plants a cross and buries a wax sealed bottle to take possession of the land. This was observed by the native inhabitants, who must have understood the implications of the ceremony.  

1775: Captain Quadra and his ship, Sonora, lose a landing party of seven men who went to shore for wood, water and a new mast. Captain Quadra said they were murdered and their boat cut up for the metal. The Native Americans claim the crew deserted the ship. Quadra named a nearby island the Natives called, “Hob to la bish,” the “Isla de Delores,” or the Island of Sorrows. It is known as Destruction Island today.

1787: The English Captain Charles Barkley sent a long boat crew from his ship the Imperial Eagle to shore near the mouth of a river called, “Ohalot,” by the natives. The crew either deserts or is massacred by the natives depending on conflicting reports from either side. Barkley names the river, the “Destruction River” and “Destruction Island.”

1778: Captain Cook, looking for the fabled Northwest Passage, sails past the mouth of the Strait of Juan de Fuca in the fog. Cook named Cape Flattery for what he called “The pretended Strait of Juan de Fuca.”

1779: The name Oregon first appears on a map. It is given to a river in the Pacific Northwest by an English map maker. 

1782: Smallpox epidemic among the S’Klallam.

1787: A longboat crew from the English Ship Imperial Eagle is attacked and massacred near the site of the Quadra attack at the mouth of the Hoh River. English Captain Charles Barkley names Destruction Island and The Destruction River (Hoh) for the incident. Barkley sails north and discovers the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

1788: English fur trader John Meares observes Juan de Fuca’s stone pillar at the mouth of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Meares replaces a broken spar with a local fir to become the first European logger on the Olympic Peninsula.

1788: Robert Duffin, one of Meare’s officers, is sent on a longboat expedition from Nootka on Vancouver Island down the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the site of present-day Port Townsend. Duffin was attacked by what were presumed to be S’Klallam Indians west of Discovery Bay with arrows, clubs and stone bludgeons. Several of the crew were wounded. The longboat was said to be pierced “in a thousand places with arrows.”

1789: The American captains John Kendrick and Robert Gray, the latter of which would later discover the Columbia River, enter the Strait of Juan de Fuca and go as far as Clallam Bay . On his first circumnavigation of Vancouver Island, Gray trades an old iron chisel for sea-otter furs worth $8,000 dollars in China. Gray trades the furs for tea, which he sold in Boston. Gray became the first American to sail around the world.

1789: The English captains James Colnett and William Douglas are arrested at Nootka Sound for violating Spain’s territory. This became known as the Nootka Incident.

1790, July: Manuel Quimper purchases berries and salmon “of a hundred pounds weight” from natives off the mouth of the Elwha River. Quimper plants a cross at what is now Jamestown and later at Neah Bay to claim possession for Spain. 

1790, Oct. 28: The Nootka Convention is forced on Spain by England under threat of a war. It establishes a joint occupation between Spain and England where sovereignty would be determined by occupation and represents the high-water mark of the Spanish Empire.

1790, August: Quimper names a cove south of Cape Flattery as Boca de Alava to honor Jose Manuel Alava, the commissioner for Spain at the Nootka Convention.

1791: Spanish military post is established in Discovery Bay.

1791: Port Angeles is discovered by Francisco Eliza who names it Puerto de Nuestra Senora de Los Angelos. The name is later shorted to Los Angelos, then changed to False Dungeness.

 1791: An unidentified schooner fires cannons at the Klallam village at Jamestown for no known reason.

1792, May:Salvador Fidalgo Captain of the Princessa anchored in Neah Bay with some seventy seamen and thirteen soldiers. Fidalgo had been sent with instructions to monitor shipping in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and build shelters, an infirmary, storehouses and an oven to bake bread for the crews of visiting Spanish ships that were anticipated to reinforce their claims to the land. Nunez Gaona is considered the first settlement by Europeans in the American Pacific Northwest. There were seven Peruvian Indians aboard the Princessa so we might assume they brought the potatoes that were grown by the Native People of the Olympic Peninsula ever since.

1792: Dionisio Alcala-Galiano and Cayetano Valdez, the last Spanish explorers to visit what is now the Olympic Peninsula, name the most westerly point Cape Alava.

 1792, Sept. 29: Nunez Gaona is abandoned by the Spanish, leaving the British, Russians and Americans to fight over who owns the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

1792: Robert Gray discovers the Columbia River and names it for his ship.

1792: Quimper enters Dungeness Bay, trading with the Indians for fish, venison and mats. 

1792: Captain George Vancouver anchors in Dungeness Bay. The Indians ignore him. Vancouver is so impressed with the beauty of the area he names it Dungeness after his home in England.

1793, July 22: Alexander Mackenzie completes the first journey by land across the North American continent to the Pacific Ocean at the mouth of the Bella Coola River.

1793 the Spanish viceroy, Revilla Gigedo, wrote a report about the Northwest coast that said once the sea otter were gone, there would be few reasons to colonize the area. There was no gold. It was too forested for farming and there were no major rivers to the interior so there was no reason to keep other countries away.

1800: Klallam tradition relates that a British man-of-war anchors in front of the Klallam village at Port Discovery. Two Klallam men are taken aboard the ship. One is dressed in European clothes then shot. The other Klallam escapes to shore. The villagers scatter into the forest. That night, 11 sailors from the ship go to shore to spend the night in one of the longhouses, where they are clubbed to death. The sailors are taken aboard the next morning and the ship sails away.

1805: The Americans Lewis and Clark reach the mouth of the Columbia River. While neither of these explorers took a formal possession of the land, their right of discovery gives their country a competing claim. 

1808: Captain Nikolai Bulygin and the ship The Saint Nicholas (Nikolai), had been sent by the Russian America Company to explore the coast of what the Americans called Oregon Country, between the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Columbia River. Bulygin was hunting for sea otters, but he was also looking for anchorages for large ships and farmland that could supply Russian Alaska with the fresh food needed to prevent scurvy. The Nikolai wrecked just north of the Quileute River. The survivors include the captain’s wife, Anna Petrovna, the first European woman on the Olympic Peninsula, Aleuts and Hawaiians who flee south to the Hoh River where they are captured by the Indians and traded as slaves to other tribes south to the Columbia River and north to Cape Flattery. 

1810, May 6: Captain T. Brown of the ship Lydia anchors at Neah Bay and is able to purchase 13 of the Nikolai survivors. Petrovna is not among them.

1812: The Russians give up on the Oregon Country and go south to California, building Fort Ross near Bodega Bay.

1812: The United States declares its first war, on Britain. As the War of 1812 ground to a stalemate, Great Britain learned the United States could not be bullied.

1818: Britain and the United States agree to a common boundary that followed the 49th parallel west to the crest of the Rockies. The disputed Oregon Country would be jointly occupied by both countries. It was a diplomatic ploy the British had used to eliminate the Spanish at Nootka Sound. 

1819: Under terms of a treaty, Spain agrees to stay south of the 42nd parallel in California, ending all land claims in the Pacific Northwest.

1824: The Americans counter the British with another joint occupancy treaty, this time with Russia, which agreed to move north of the 49th parallel into territory that was claimed by Britain. This left the Strait of Juan de Fuca with two rivals for ownership until the Oregon Treaty of 1846.

1826: The Hudson’s Bay Company establishes Fort Vancouver on the North shore of Columbia River.

1828, July: Chief Factor Dr. John McLoughlin of The Hudson’s Bay Company at Fort Vancouver sends an expedition of 60 men under Chief Trader Alexander McLeod to punish the S’Klallam, who were accused of murdering five company men and kidnapping a woman on Hood Canal. The expedition attacks a S’Klallam village at the portage at Indian Island and then meets the ship Cadboro at Port Townsend. The Cadboro sails to Dungeness Bay, anchors in front of a village and begins negotiating for the release of the woman. The village is shelled by cannon fire and burned by a landing party that destroys 46 canoes. Twenty-seven Klallam including women and children are killed. The kidnapped woman is returned to the Cadboro three days later. On their return voyage, the Cadboro burns a S’Klallam house at Port Townsend that was reported to be over 200 paces in length. The expedition is criticized as excessive by the Hudson’s Bay Company. As a result, McLeod is not made chief factor.

1833: Three Japanese shipwreck survivors from a crew of 14 wash ashore just south of Cape Flattery after drifting across the ocean for 14 months. The Japanese are rescued and enslaved by the Makah, then purchased by the Hudson’s Bay Company, which tries to return them to Japan. 

1841: The United States’ Wilkes Expedition explores Puget Sound. This is the first government expedition sent to the Pacific Northwest since Lewis and Clark on a mission of scientific discovery and geographical mapping. It establishes an American land claim to the area. Wilkes reports potatoes being grown in Discovery Bay by the S’Klallam.

1843: The city of Victoria, an important trading center with the Olympic Peninsula, is founded.

1843: The Provisional Government of Oregon is formed, consisting of what is now Oregon, Washington and Idaho. The Olympic Peninsula was called Twality County.

1844: The Oregon Territory, which included the Olympic Peninsula, is created with Jason Lane as territorial governor.

1844, Dec. 24: The Neal family settles in the Hood River valley in Oregon Territory.

1845: Hudson’s Bay Company census of the Klallam tribe tallies 1,300 people.

1846: The Oregon Treaty makes the middle of the Strait of Juan de Fuca the boundary between the U.S. and Britain.    

1846: When the northern boundary of Oregon was moved to the 49th parallel, the Hudson’s Bay Company found itself in American territory so they move to Victoria on Vancouver Island.

1847: Paul Kane, an Irish artist commissioned by the Hudson’s Bay Company to paint the Indians of North America, describes the S’Klallam village I-E-Nusw at the west end of Port Angeles harbor as strongly defended with two pallisades. The outer one is 20 feet high, the inner one 5 feet, enclosing a space 150 feet square, entirely roofed over and divided into cubicles for separate families. Kane finds 200 people living there. 

 1847: Tatoosh Island Lighthouse is built. George Gerrish is the first keeper.

1848: Measles and dysentery epidemic among the S’Klallam.

1848: President James Polk signs an act that created the Oregon Territory, a vast area of land that included what is now Oregon, Washington and Idaho. 

1849: The Bureau of Indian Affairs is transferred to the War Department.

1850, Sept. 27: Congress passes the Donation Land Law that provided a survey be made of all public land and grants of 320 acres be given to any citizen willing to settle it.

1851: Alfred Plummer and Charles Bacheller land at Port Townsend where they are welcomed by 500 S’Klallam. 

 1852: Colonel Isaac Ebey of Whidbey Island is appointed Puget Sound customs inspector. Ebey declares Port Townsend as the port of entry. On June 9, Ebey observes a great deal of smoke coming from the Olympic Peninsula, which he supposes was caused by Indians setting fires to maintain their prairies. 

1852: Jefferson County is created by the Oregon Territorial legislature, named after President Thomas Jefferson. 

1852: The town of Dungeness is started at Whiskey Flats. 

1853: President Millard Filmore establishes the Washington Territory. The population is 3,985, not counting the Native Americans.

1853: John Donnell is the first white settler on the Sequim Prairie.

1853: Captain Elijah McAlmond brings the bark John Adams into Dungeness Bay for a load of piling bound for San Francisco. The Klallams murder the master and steward of the John Adams.

1853: McAlmond and Captain Thomas Abernathy are the first to file homesteads at the mouth of the Dungeness River. 

1853: President Franklin Pierce appoints Isaac I. Stevens governor of Washington Territory. Stevens’ duties include signing treaties with all the Indian tribes west of the Rockies and north of the Columbia River, and surveying the route of the Northern Pacific Railroad. 

1853: Captain William Talbot and Andrew Pope sail into Port Ludlow to build the first sawmill on the Olympic Peninsula.

1854: A fight between the Klallam and Army troops in Dungeness leaves four dead: two Klallams, an Army lieutenant and an Army captain. Three Klallam are arrested. They later escape from Fort Steilacoom and are followed to a Klallam camp on Hood Canal that is destroyed, killing seven Klallam.

1854: The first session of the Washington Territorial Legislature creates Clallam County. Clallam is an Indian word meaning “Strong People.” Whiskey Flats, also known as New Dungeness, is the county seat.

1854: At a conference of chiefs from all over Washington Territory, Chetzemoka speaks against war with the whites, saying “If you wanted to kill off the whites, you should have struck long ago. Now it is too late.” Born in 1808 in the S’Klallam village of Ka Tai, at what is now Port Townsend, Chetzemoka was called The Duke of York by white men who had trouble pronouncing his name. He is said to have visited San Francisco in 1851. During this visit, Chetzemoka was greatly impressed by the great numbers of white people. He knew any attack on the settlers would trigger an overwhelming counter attack from a superior military force that could exterminate the S’Klallam. Chetzemoka spoke of the effects of trade between whites and Indians. The S’Klallam traded for Hudson’s Bay blankets instead of weaving them from dogs that had been raised for wool. They raised potatoes instead of digging camas and steel axes instead of a beaver tooth adze. 

1855: Captain Abernathy finds a schooner off Diamond Point with 32 deserting British sailors who had died of smallpox.

1855: Chetzemoka is chosen by Territorial Gov. Isaac Stevens as chief of the S’Klallam. This meant he was to sign a treaty and be held personally responsible for the good behavior of his people.

1855: Point-No-Point Treaty is signed by S’Klallam, who give up 750,000 acres.

1855, Jan. 31: Makah and Stevens sign the Treaty of Neah Bay. Makah give up 300,000 acres in return for fishing and whaling rights.

1855: Indian Agents Michael T. Simmons and Benjamin F. Shaw claim to have crossed the Olympics by way of Enchanted Valley on the south fork of the Quinault River.

1856, Jan. 25: Chief How-yak signs a treaty in Olympia where the Quileute of La Push give up 800,000 acres of land and agree to be moved to the Quinault Agency. The Quileute refuse to move. 


1856: Chetzemoka cuts the hangman’s rope at a lynching in Port Townsend of a young S’Klallam who had been unjustly accused of murdering two soldiers. 

1856: Rufus Holmes is the first permanent settler in Port Angeles, which is called “False Dungeness” at the time.

1856, Oct. 20: The American warship USS Massachusetts orders a large encampment of Canadian Indians threatening a sawmill at Port Gamble to return north. When they refuse, the Massachusetts opens fire, killing an estimated 50 people including the Chief and destroying all their canoes and provisions. The survivors are taken to Victoria and released.

In 1859 the Schooners Blue Wing and Ellen Marie were attacked with 17 people murdered and the ships burned and sunk on the west side of Vashon Island. American officials went to Victoria to demand the guilty Indians be turned over but were refused.

1857: A combined force of Haida and Snohomish Indians attack a Chemakum village, killing 400. The Chemakum tribe did not survive.

1857: The Dungeness Lighthouse is built. Charles Blake is the first keeper.

1857: A party of Canadian Indians murders Colonel Isaac Ebey, a former customs collector at Port Townsend, at his home on Whidbey Island to exact revenge for the killing of their Chief at Port Gamble two years earlier.

1857: A war party of western S’Klallam plan to attack Port Townsend. Chetzemoka stops them from exterminating the new town, saying if they killed the whites, the army would come to wipe them out. After a nine-day discussion, Chetzemoka sends a message to Port Townsend from Signal Rock saying, “The Danger is Passed.”

1857: Fort Townsend is completed. When terms of the treaties begin to be enforced, the Indians rebel. Major Granville O. Haller is sent with a company of the 4th infantry to erect a fort of hewn timbers at the head of Port Townsend Bay.

1859: The bark What Cheer sails north from San Francisco carrying smallpox up the West Coast. Natives Americans caught the disease retrieving bodies, bedding and clothing that were thrown overboard. The resulting epidemic devastated the Peninsula tribes from Ozette to Port Townsend.

1859 the Schooners Blue Wing and Ellen Marie were attacked by Northern Indians with 17 people murdered and the ships burned and sunk on the west side of Vashon Island. American officials went to Victoria to demand the guilty Indians be turned over but were refused.

1860: The Territorial Legislature passes the first liquor control act to prevent the sale of adulterated liquors. 

1860: First election held in Clallam County restores the name “Whiskey Flats” as the county seat. B.L. Madison gave the town its name by selling whiskey to the Indians.

1860: Captain Thomas Abernathy and Elliot Cline bring a pair of calves and an 18-month-old heifer across the Strait of Juan de Fuca in a dugout canoe, starting the dairy industry in Dungeness.

1861: Victor Smith, commonly referred to as “The Father of Port Angeles” by some and a “Federal fed parasite foisted upon us” by others, moves with his family from Port Townsend to Port Angeles.

1861: Captain Elijah McAlmond builds first frame house on the Olympic Peninsula on the bluffs above the mouth of the Dungeness River.

1862: “Old Bill Law” builds first saloon in Dungeness.

1862: Victor Smith has Port Angeles declared a Federal Reserve and “Second National City” by President Abraham Lincoln. 

1862: Smith moves the Customs House records from Port Townsend to Port Angeles with the help of the cutter Shubrick. Port Angeles becomes the official port of entry to Puget Sound.

1862: McAlmond builds the first two-story house on the Olympic Peninsula at Dungeness where 500 Klallams had been camped.

1863: Customs House in Port Angeles is destroyed by a flood.

1863: Ediz Hook Lighthouse is built.

1865, June: Confederate Raider Shenandoah destroys brig Susan Abigail southwest of Cape Flattery, taking the crew prisoner.

1865: First Clallam County courthouse is built in New Dungeness.


1866: First Clallam County jail is built at New Dungeness.

1868: The Territorial Legislature forms Quillehute County.

1868: The Dungeness Massacre. Eighteen Tsimshian are returning home to Northern British Columbia from hop picking in Puyallup when they stop to camp on Dungeness Spit where all except one are killed by the S’Klallam.

1869: Quillehute County is abolished by the Territorial Legislature. 

1869: Territorial Legislature passes a memorial to Congress requesting the annexation of British Columbia.

1870: Territorial Legislature passes an act depriving women of the right to vote.

1871, Aug. 31: Chetzemoka is ordered to move from Port Townsend to Skokomish. The Klallam loaded all their posessions in canoes, which were to be towed to Hood Canal by the side wheeler North 

Pacific. The Klallam village of Ka Tai is burned before the canoes are out of sight. Chetzemoka complains to Olympia and is promised full compensation, which never came. 

1875: The Klallam in Dungeness are being threatened with removal to Skokomish by military force. A group of Klallam pool their resources and buy 210 acres of land on the beach north of Sequim for $500. The land is divided up according to how much each had contributed toward the purchase. Called “Jamestown” after Jim Balch, one of the organizers of the settlement, the land is cleared of stumps and planted with potatoes, oats, turnips and wheat. Livestock is raised. Orchards are planted.

1878: Luther Ford homesteads the Forks Prairie. 

1878: First school in Clallam County is built at Jamestown.

1878: The Watkinson Expedition comprising five Hood Canal loggers crosses the Olympic Mountains from Liliwaup to the mouth of the Quinault River in 10 days.

1880: The last Clallam potlatch is held at Jamestown. The potlatch was the most important social function of the tribes in the Pacific Northwest, where they gave feasts and gifts to celebrate the giving of a name, the return of the salmon, burial of the dead or to celebrate a successful hunt. Special houses were built to hold the ceremony. One Olympic Peninsula potlatch house was said to be 600 feet long.

1880: First church in Clallam County is built at Jamestown.

1882, May 22: Lt. Wittich of Fort Townsend leads the first government exploration of the Olympic Mountains by cutting a trail to the two forks of the Dungeness River.

1882: Beginning of the Indian Shaker Church. In the fall of 1882, John Slocum, a Native American, fell into a trance or “died” one morning. Witnesses said his neck was broken. Slocum awoke in the afternoon saying he had gone to heaven and was not allowed to enter because of his wicked life. When he awoke, he began a mission to combine Christianity with native religion.

1883: Jon Smith Blazes a trail from Port Crescent to Lake Crescent.

1885: Billy Everett discovers and names Cream Lake on his first traverse of the Bailey Range.

1885: Lt. Joseph P. O’Neil cuts a trail from Port Angeles up Ennis Creek to Hurricane Ridge then southeast to the headwaters of the Dosewallips.

1886: The American bark Charles B. Kinney, sailing from Port Townsend to Australia with a load of lumber, vanishes off Cape Flattery with all hands.

1887: The first sawmill in Port Angeles is built by members of the Puget Sound Co-operative Colony, a utopian social experiment that built a school, opera house, shipyard and a newspaper based upon the utter cooperation of human beings. It disbanded shortly after it was founded.

1887: The Indian Homestead Act, aka the Dawes Act, allows Indians to homestead land if they give up their reservations.

1887: The sealing schooner Active founders in a gale 30 miles west of Cape Flattery. The captain and all 28 of the crew are lost. 

1889: The Quileute tribe gets a 1-square-mile reservation at La Push. The village is burned while they are away picking hops in Puyallup.

1889, Nov. 11: Washington becomes a state.

1889: Port Crescent is platted with 166 city blocks, a dock and a newspaper. It eventually grew to include a sawmill, saloons, hotels, grocery stores and about 30 homes. 

1889, Dec. 13: The Press Expedition begins its exploration of the Elwha River by building a scow with green lumber purchased from the locals who have told the expedition there is a lake surrounded by a large prairie just up the river.

1890: Thomas Aldwell comes to Port Angeles and begins buying and homesteading land along a narrow gorge on the Elwha River that would become the future site of the Elwha Dam.

1890, March: Norman R. Smith builds what is reported to be “The Shortest Railroad in the World!” Built 15 feet long to “Hold The Pass” that Smith figured the railroad would need to approach the south side of Lake Crescent. Unfortunately, it is decided that the railroad would go around the north side of the lake.  

1890: Scandinavian immigrants Nils Andrews, Ole Boe and Ole Klaboe homestead along Big River near Lake Ozette. 

1890, May: Chris Morgenroth claims homestead 28 miles upstream from mouth of Bogachiel River.

1890: Homesteader William Wooding and friends shoot 15 or 20 elk on what is now known as Elk Mountain near Hurricane Ridge.

1890: Norwegian homesteader Ole Erickson builds a cabin on Lake Ozette on a bay that now bears his name.

1890-91: John Banta and S. Price Sharp establish a colony, Evergreen, on the Queets River with more than 100 settlers claiming 64 homesteads until 1940 when they were removed by Olympic National Park.

1891: The Port Angeles Opera House is built.

1891: The 4,300-foot-long Dungeness Dock is completed.

1892: John Huelsdonk, “The Iron Man of the Hoh,” settles on the upper Hoh River.

1892: E.F. Neilson homesteads the 22-acre Tivoli Island in Lake Ozette, naming it after Denmarks’s Tivoli.

1893: The Panic of 1893 forces The First National Bank of Port Angeles to close, taking people’s savings with it.

1893, Oct. 4: The Chilean bark Lenore wrecks on the rocks near La Push. A few survivors reach shore.

1893: The Hoh Reservation is established.

1894: Swan Post Office is established in Allens Bay at Lake Ozette.

1894: D.W. Starret, A.M. Godfrey and W. Daggett explore the upper Hoh River by way of Elwha.

1894: The 1,610-ton American ship Ivanhoe carrying coal from Seattle to San Francisco vanishes off Cape Flattery with the captain, 11 crew members and 4 passengers. 

1894, July 10: William Dawson is named postmaster of Piedmont on Lake Crescent.

1895: Port Angeles Harbor hosts the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Squadron for summer maneuvers. For the next 40 years, the town’s social life is enlivened by 5,000 up to 20,000 sailors.

1895: Some farmers set to work with picks and shovels to dig a ditch and build a flume to carry water from the Dungeness River to the Sequim Prairie.

1896, May 1: The first irrigation ditch brings water to the Sequim Prairie. The pioneers celebrate with an Irrigation Festival that would become the oldest community celebration in Washington.

1897: Ray Northrup at age 16 leads a party that includes his mother, three brothers, two sisters and all their worldly goods and livestock by trail from Clallam Bay to their Clearwater River homestead.

1897: President Grover Cleveland establishes Olympic Forest Reserve, which ends homesteading by private settlers.

1897: Prospector W.A. Hall climbs out of the Elwha Valley on a windy day to name Hurricane Ridge.

1898: The 511-ton American bark Forest Queen bound for San Pedro from Tacoma vanishes with the captain and a crew of 11 off Cape Flattery.

1900 The Dodwell-Rixon survey and timber cruise of the Olympic Forest Reserve is completed