James and Hastings Building

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A male entity has an appreciation for merchandise and women.





These two buildings were both built in 1889, but are very different in aura and color. The Hastings Building is a most lovely, four story brick and stone structure with blue trim. It was made complete with gorgeous bay windows, and fancy, intricate stone work, all done in the elaborate Victorian style. It has been called the most beautiful building in downtown Port Townsend.

The Hastings Building is described as “an elaborate building with three stories and a basement, that cost $35,000-45,000 to build in 1889,” which was quite a chunk of change in those days. While the first floor has small shops as tenants, the second and third floors are empty for the time being, in need of some renovation. Most of the restoration of this building has been the outside structure up to this point, and it looks stunning, a real eye-catcher!

The James and Hastings Building has been completely renovated and restored, enjoying full occupancy. It is huge, rectangular and made of solid brick and stone, three stories tall, with a basement. It is decorated with handsomely carved stone trimmings around the Victorian era windows, and at the top of the building as well. The customary dentils along the roof line are well done. All the stonework is painted a lovely gold, that looks fantastic with the bricks. While not as intricate as The Hastings Building, it is still a truly glorious, yet sensible, and handsome Victorian commercial/residential building, that has benefited from the efforts of past owners.


During the 1990s, and early 2000s the past owner, Keith Jackson, did major restoration and repair work to the outside of this structure. He sold it to the current owners, JSW Group, who gave the first floor businesses a face-left inside, and renovated the inside space of the second and third floors as well, making attractive, residential in-town condos/apartments. This impressive commercial Victorian building now has a restaurant and various retail shops on its first floor, and has residential tenants occupying the second and third floors.

It is truly a beautiful building, that has long been used for mercantile/office/restaurant/hotel/and residential purposes, and was built to last a very, very, long time. The people of Port Townsend value their Victorian buildings, and have preserved both uptown and downtown Port Townsend, reaping the financial benefits of a healthy tourist trade; very much like the town of Cape May, in New Jersey. Residents from the Seattle and Puget Sound communities also love to come to Port Townsend to enjoy all the businesses, entertainment, and festivals that are held here.



The land upon which this grand building now sits, was the location of the first two-room log cabin in Port Townsend, built by two hardy pioneers, Alfred A. Plummer and Charles Bachelder, in 1851. A few years later, a dry-goods store replaced the log cabin, as Water Street was turning into a commercial center for the people of Port Townsend. The dry good store was replaced during the economic boom of 1889, when mover and shaker Francis James and Lucinda Hastings, widow of rich merchant Loren B. Hastings, invested their money in a deal that built the James and Hastings Building. The James and Hastings Building’s beautiful structure and ideal location has attracted many businesses to its doors, as well as tenants who rent spaces as offices and lodging through the years.

As Hastings made his fortune through his mercantile business, The L. B. Hastings Company, it made sense in the beginning that the main tenant on the first floor would be Smith & Ellis, which offered clothing and dry goods, hardware, stoves, tin wear, boots and shoes. As The L. B. Hastings Company made lots of money selling hardware, steam-boat supplies, logger’s supplies, tableware, etc., this was a good choice for a tenant. Other smaller businesses also rented space here.

In 1889, the floors above the mercantile store were used as offices and lodging opportunities. In 1890, offices for companies such as Smith & Ellis, City Surveyors and Civil and Mechanical Engineers, Port Townsend Gas and Fuel Company, and L. B. Hastings & Company were located in the upper floors. In 1897, J.J. Fenton, the liquor merchant, had a saloon and club rooms in the building.

In 1900, the building changed from businesses and offices, to being a hotel, restaurant and bar. The Vienna Hotel and Bar opened in the main floor, and some of the upper floors. The German Embassy is said to have moved into some of the office space as well, for a limited time.

This establishment, The Vienna Hotel and Bar, evolved into The Olympic Hotel, by 1920. In 1921, The James and Hastings Building was placed back on the real estate market, and it was bought by a Portland businessman, J. F. Canady.

By 1930, offices and businesses were once again drawn back to this handsome building, and they consistently stayed throughout the decades until it became a major fixer-upper opportunity. As to be expected, by 1970, it was in need of a boatload of money to restore it to its former glory. While owners have always done their best to keep up with the building’s issues over the years, it was a losing battle after a certain point, for not enough money was coming in to support the major restorations and renovations needed to attract present day businesses and rentals of space.

Fortunately for The James and Hastings Building, and many other structures in the downtown and the uptown area as well, the people of Port Townsend loved their old Victorian buildings, and found ways with the help of the local, state and federal government, to raise/borrow money to help independent owners restore and renovate their town’s historical treasures.

In 1976, The James and Hastings Building, along with many other structures in town, was designated a National Landmark. The city of Port Townsend itself was designated a Historic District by The National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Keith Jackson bought The James and Hastings Building, and he took its restoration seriously. During the 1990s and early 2000s, he did major restoration and repair work to the outside of the structure. In 2000, the building won “The Great American Main Street Award.”

In 2003, Keith sold this now handsome building to the current owners, JSW Group, who renovated the interior of the building. The first floor got a major face-lift, and the second and third floors were transformed into attractive, residential in-town apartments/condos.

The James and Hastings Building is now a fully viable, great investment, as all three floors, and perhaps the basement, are productive and occupied. It not only has a restaurant and various retail shops on its first floor, but residential tenants occupying the second and third floors, in the heart of downtown Port Townsend.

Yes, indeed, The James and Hastings Building is very attractive to people in this world today, and it seems to have attracted a male entity from its past as well.



For your amusement, here are a list of possible reasons why a male entity is haunting this building.

Entities who once lived/worked in a structure which has been torn down, sometimes just attach themselves to the land itself, and just move into whatever new building is erected.

The James and Hastings Building was constructed on the former location of a two room log cabin, and then a dry goods store.

Either one of the early settlers who lived in the log cabin would be thrilled to see all the items for sale, and probably would still have an eye for the ladies.

Anyone who had an attachment to the dry-goods store may also be present, and may have his own ideas as to where the merchandise should be displayed. He also may have an appreciation for women.

The restoration and renewing of old, historic buildings can entice spirits who once loved the building back into this world to continue to enjoy things that they used to while alive in a limited basis, even if it’s just reliving their memories. It can be a recreation memory, or being in charge of a business, or enjoying all the personal relationships that took place there.

This entity became interested in this world again, when new owners, JSW Group, renovated and restored the inside of all the floors, starting in 2003.

Spirits like to be noticed by the living and get their chuckles from the people in this world around them as well, by playing tricks, moving stuff, and doing other things like opening windows and doors, and playing with the lights.

This male entity wants the store owners aware of his presence, while getting his own personal chuckles too.

Men who were playboys and enjoyed many women, or who were gentle and kind toward women while alive, continue to be so even in spirit-form. Personalities continue when the spirit leaves the body.

Before 1921, there was a large mercantile store, Smith and Ellis, a liquor saloon and club rooms, and a hotel lobby for the Vienna Hotel and bar, which became the Olympic Hotel in the main commercial space on the first floor. After 1921, the whole building reverted to retail on the first floor, and the upper levels were dedicated to business purposes. Recently in the 2000s, a restaurant and probably a bar were added to the first floor, along with the retail shops. Residential condos were also constructed on the upper floors.

Perhaps a patron, a staff member or owner of any of these enterprises fancied himself a ladies man, and still enjoys to make contact with women to his liking. It also explains the other paranormal activity report

Nice living spaces on the upper floors could draw in either an old hotel guest or people who worked in the offices from another era, who like to shop for items and women.



Unknown Male Entity

He is described as being mischievous and very appreciative of females.

He likes to visit all the unique retail shops on the first floor. Perhaps he likes to view all the merchandise.

He moves items around the store, in the spirit of helping the staff, or perhaps to let them know of his presence.

He opens the windows; perhaps the sign of an owner who wants some fresh air in the structure.

He pays friendly attention to the female patrons who shop in these stores, but does no harm.



Probably so, though more evidence should be collected or experienced to fill out this male entity’s description, as he is relatively new to the scene. Just recently, in 2003, he started to be active in our world, and not much is known about him. Store owners, their staff, and some of their female customers have experienced this mischievous, yet charming fellow who likes to be noticed, and perhaps tries to share his thoughts on how things should be arranged.

Plenty of personal paranormal experiences have been reported by the building’s retail staff and owners, and their female patrons. However, I couldn’t find any hard evidence posted online by anyone. Perhaps a private investigation was done, but not allowed to be made public, as they don’t want to scare people away after going to so much trouble and expense to transform the building.



The James and Hastings Building
999 Water Street
Port Townsend, WA 98368

The James and Hastings Building is located on the northeast corner of Water and Tyler Streets.

Note: What is very confusing is that the rich widow, Lucinda Hastings, not only built this large commercial building with Mr. Francis James, but also built her own commercial building, known as “The Hastings Building,” just 394 feet away, only a one-minute walk. Several sources I got a hold of were also confused, and gave the wrong address for The James and Hastings Building, which is the one that is reported as being haunted.

I was in a sort of “Twilight Zone” for a while, until I stumbled upon The Port Townsend Historic Building Plague Project Booklet, found online in PDF format! I was glad that my cloud of confusion and frustration about the address had finally been lifted!


  • Ghost Hunter’s Guide to Seattle and Puget Sound
    By Jeff Dwyer
    Pelican Publications
  • The Port Townsend Historic Building Plaque Project * James and Hastings Building Info Sheet
  • James and Hastings Building on Weatherstone’s Blog
  • A Survey of Port Townsend’s Ghost Signs and Murals

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

Haunts in Port Townsend Haunts in Washington