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Rothschild House History

Step through the kitchen door of the Rothschild House and step back to the 1800's. Located at the corner of Jefferson and Taylor Streets in uptown Port Townsend, the Rothschild House is virtually unchanged from a hundred years ago.

houseD.C.H. Rothschild, or the Baron as he became universally known, was born in Bavaria in 1824. After traveling extensively around the world and engaging in several business enterprises, he settled in Port Townsend in 1858 and began a business under the name of "Kentucky Store."  It was soon changed to the Rothschild and Co. Mercantile, selling varied merchandise.  

Throughout the years, the business became increasingly marine-oriented, and by the early 1880's, exclusively so.  The two older sons became partners. Rothschild died in 1886, and the two sons took over, moving the store to the other side of the Sound.

For the first several years the family lived over the downtown store.  In 1868 Mr. Rothschild had this family home built where it now stands.  His widow Dorette remained in the house until her death in 1918, allowing only minimal changes, such as the installation of a bathroom. Her daughter lived there for nearly 78 years, until her death in 1954.

bedOccupied only by the Rothschild family, the last surviving member, Eugene, donated the house to the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission.  It opened to the public as a historic site in 1962, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The house has been left intact, as the family remembered it from its early years. As such, it is a surprisingly accurate reflection of our culture 100 years ago. The children's room looks like the children have just stepped out for a few minutes. The parlor waits for visiting callers. Outside, the roses of earlier generations still bloom; the herbs still rise in the springtime.

The Rothschild House is managed by Jefferson County Historical Society. The JCHS staffs the house, while Washington State Parks provides maintenance and oversight.