Port Angeles is a city in and the county seat of Clallam County, Washington, United States. The population was 18,397 at the 2000 census, making it the largest city on the Olympic Peninsula. The area's harbor was dubbed Puerto de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles (Port of Our Lady of the Angels) by Spanish explorer Francisco de Eliza in 1791, but by the mid-1800s the name had been shortened and partially anglicized to its current form.
Port Angeles was established as a townsite by Abraham Lincoln in 1862 by executive order which led the Board of Trade in 1890 to call it the "Second National City", Washington DC being the first. Most of the land was held as a military reserve until 1894. Pioneers "jumped the Reserve" in 1890 and congress agreed to sale of lots in 1894. Tributes to Lincoln's influence are found in the naming of Lincoln Street in the heart of town, Lincoln school, and Lincoln Park.
The forest and fishing industries played major roles in the boom and bust economy of Port Angeles. The regenerative forest around Port Angeles supplied the building materials for Seattle, San Francisco and beyond. Trees of mammoth proportions were shipped through the Port as old-fashioned saws cut down the forest. Salmon was king of the Strait and plentiful for all to fish. Commercial fisherman, charter boats, and sport fisherman took their limits easily and returned year after year just as the salmon did. Both industries have slowed some, as concerns over habitat for bird and salmon are analyzed and protective zones and regulations have been developed.
Olympic Forest Reserve was established in 1897. In 1908 President Theodore Roosevelt established the Mt. Olympus National Monument. Olympic National Park was established in 1938 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Generations of tourists and travelers have come to the Olympics for rest and rejuvenation. Two hot springs in Olympic National Park were touted for their medicinal value early in the 1900s and folks from Seattle made the 3-5 day journey by boat and wagon to spend a week at Olympic and Sol Duc Hot Spring Resorts. They would arrive in Port Angeles or Port Crescent on the "Mosquito Fleet" (independent ferries that were the major transport in Puget Sound) and then travel by wagon through the forest.
Port Angeles, WA climate is mild during summer when temperatures tend to be in the 60's and cold during winter when temperatures tend to be in the 40's.
The warmest month of the year is August with an average maximum temperature of 69.10 degrees Fahrenheit, while the coldest month of the year is January with an average minimum temperature of 34.40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Temperature variations between night and day tend to be fairly limited during summer with a difference that can reach 17 degrees Fahrenheit, and fairly limited during winter with an average difference of 12 degrees Fahrenheit.
The annual average precipitation at Port Angeles is 25.72 Inches. Rainfall in is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. The wettest month of the year is November with an average rainfall of 4.40 Inches.
The city is situated on the northern edge of the Olympic Peninsula along the shore of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It features a long and narrow natural sandspit named Ediz Hook that projects north-easterly nearly three miles into the Strait, creating a large, natural deep-water harbor shielded from the storms and swells that move predominantly eastward down the Strait from the Pacific Ocean. The harbor is deep enough to provide anchorage for most kinds of ocean-going ships. The south shore of Vancouver Island and the city of Victoria, British Columbia are visible across the Strait to the north.
Port Angeles is located in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains, which means the city gets significantly less rain than other areas of western Washington. The average annual precipitation total is approximately 25 inches, compared to Seattle's 38 inches. Temperatures are heavily modified by the maritime location, with winter lows rarely below 25 degrees, and summer highs rarely above 80 degrees. However, in winter the city can be vulnerable to windstorms and Arctic cold fronts that sweep across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Port Angeles receives about 4 inches of snow each year, but it rarely stays on the ground for long.
The local newspaper is the Peninsula Daily News, originally the Port Angeles Evening News (founded 1916). The Peninsula Daily News pubishes six days a week.
The Olympic Memorial Medical Center serves the region.
Highway 101 is the main highway in and out of Port Angeles from any direction.
There is a ferry service to Victoria, British Columbia from Port Angeles.
The main airport is William R. Fairchild International Airport.