5/31/2012. Alexander’s Castle is the oldest building in Fort Worden State Park. A fairy tale castle of red brick with a crenelated tower, it was never meant for the U.S. Army. It was built for love of a woman . . . though the woman in question never set foot across the threshold. Who was the romantic suitor who designed and built such a unique home for his lady love? A Scotsman by the name of John B. Alexander.
Reverend Alexander served as a rector at St Paul’s Episcopal Church in Port Townsend WA from 1882 to 1886. In 1883, he bought ten acres of land overlooking the water near Point Wilson and built a residence that reminded him of his Scottish homeland. It was a home he hoped to share with his intended, but when he sailed back to Scotland, he discovered that his bride-to-be had married another during his absence. He returned to Port Townsend alone.
Was the star-crossed Scotsman forever devastated by the loss of his fiance? There’s no indication that he ever married, but neither did he waste away in the New World pining for his lost love. He went on to live a fairly full and prosperous life.
In 1884, John B. Alexander accepted the post of Honorary British Vice-Consul, a position created by the British government to facilitate maritime trade in the region. Then, in 1882, he was appointed Her Majesty’s Consul and moved to Tacoma where the newly established Consulate office was located. Though he visited his country home many times after moving across Puget Sound, he never again took up permanent residence at the castle. He finally returned to England to assume guardianship of his niece and died there in 1930.
The castle and surrounding acreage was acquired by the U.S. government in 1897 and construction of Fort Worden began that same year. Through the years, the Army used the brick structure as an observation post, a post exchange, a tailor shop, and for family housing. The sprawling army base was decommissioned in 1953 and ownership was eventually transferred to the WA State Parks and Recreation Commission. It’s now part of Fort Worden State Park, a popular tourist destination on the Olympic Peninsula.
** Special Note: Alexander’s Castle has one bedroom, 1.5 baths, incredible views from most of its windows, and is currently available as a vacation home. The perfect romantic getaway! For details, please check the Fort Worden State Park website.