The small town of Kingston, Washington was once known as Appletree Cove.
Once a logging town, this town of just over 2,000 residents is now an economic and social center at the north end of the Kitsap Peninsula.
The median sales price for homes in Kingston WA in late 2015 was $257,500, which was a 10.5% increase over prices in late 2014.
Single family homes in Kingston are offered for sale beginning at about $100,000 up to the mid $500s for homes off the water. Waterfront homes are offered from approximately $700,000 up to $1.5 million.
While there are condominiums in Kinston, few were offered for sale as of late October.
A bit of history…
The first known white settler to the area now known as Kingston was Benjamin Bannister, who founded the city in 1853 and called it Appletree Cove. In 1869, W.S. Ladd and his wife, Caroline settled and built a cabin, which they sold to Michael king in 1878.
King moved in with ten men and ten oxen and began slowly logging the hills surrounding Appletree Cove. By 1880 it had become a lumber town. Although the shingle mill remained in operation until early in the 20th century, by 1882 King had moved on, leaving behind the small buildings and shacks that had been built to house the workers and their animals.
These buildings became home to drifters and squatters and the locals began jokingly referring to the area as the “King’s Town.” Eventually the name evolved into Kingston, which it has been called ever since.
Logging continued, and a logging railroad brought logs from the inland forests of the peninsula to a dock on the cove. From there, ships carried many of the logs to area sawmills. The Kingston Shingle Company provided employment for a large number of area residents through the first two decades of the 20th century.
A few primitive roads connected the towns on the Kitsap Peninsula, but until the Tacoma Narrows Bridge opened in 1940, most travel and shipping was by water. While many residents owned their own small boats, steamships became more common as the towns grew. Although owned by various companies, this group of steamships became known as the Mosquito Fleet.
Kingston, which is situated on one of the few sheltered harbors between Seattle and Port Townsend, was a convenient stop for passenger and freight lines. In addition to the steamships,
the sternwheeler State of Washington connected Kingston to Port Gamble and other Hood Canal towns.
The presence of a steamship dock helped Kingston grow into a freight and passenger hub. The Kingston dock was the most convenient place for area loggers, farmers, and sawmill workers to bring their goods and produce for shipment to market and/or to depart for trips. Residents from larger towns also came to Kingston for day trips or holidays.
In the 1920s, demand for car ferries increased and in 1923 the 12-car City of Edmonds was added to the Kingston route.
In June of 1951 Washington State took over the privately run ferries on Puget Sound and rented the Port of Kingston’s dock. This arrangement is still in place.
Today in Kingston
Today a large marina owned by the Port of Kingston adjoins the dock. The marina is complete with a marine products supply store, an electric boat hoist, fishing boat rentals, an on-site shipwright, a guest dock, space for kayaks and small boats, and a picnic space for day visitors.
Here also is the Washington State Ferries terminal for auto and passenger service to Edmonds.
Mike Wallace Park
Next to the marina, the Port developed Mike Wallace Park, offering picnic and restroom facilities. Mike Wallace Park, named in honor of a beloved former resident, is also the venue for number of public events, including the weekly farmer’s market, which is open every Saturday from May to October.
In July and August Kingston Rotary Club and the Port of Kingston co-sponsor “Concerts on the Cove.” Here musicians from all over the state put on free family-oriented performances from 6 to 9 each Saturday night. A variety of vendors supply food while the Rotary sponsors a no host beer and wine garden.
Other events hosted by the Park include Kites Over Kingston, Paws Fest, Paddle Kitsap, the North Kitsap Arts and Crafts Festival, Country Christmas, and of course an annual Fourth of July Celebration.
A short walk from the Ferry Terminal and the park is Main Street, with a charming assortment of shops, pubs with local brews, and a variety of restaurants. For those who want to know more before exploring Kingston and the Kitsap Peninsula, the Kingston Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center can be found directly in front of the ferry terminal.
A unique business found on Kingston’s Main Street is Main Street Market, which is no ordinary grocery store. Main Street Market grows the vegetables and herbs they offer both in the store and via weekly food baskets, purchased on a semi-annual basis.
They also bake fresh bread and pastries and specialize in low-gluten baked goods. Other area producers furnish flour, honey, eggs, coffee, and more.
Out of respect for the environment, they use bicycles both to get materials around on their farm and to deliver veggie baskets to their members.
Main Street Ale House is also more than the name suggests. Along with serving beer, wine, and cocktails, they offer items such as freshly beer battered fish & chips and award winning clam chowder, plus a surprise weekly special.
While the bar and the front dining room are reserved for adults, kids are welcome in the back dining room and on the patio, which offers a beautiful view of Apple Tree Cove.
Friday and Saturday nights are karaoke nights, and visitors are welcome to sing along with the locals.
Also downtown… The Firehouse Theater, which is a state of the art movie theater; Kingston Adventures, offering bicycle and paddleboard rentals as well as guided trail tours; and Almost Candid Photography, a Fine Art Gallery.
Shopping in Kingston
While Kingston offers a wealth of small boutiques, specialty shops, and grocery stores, there are no major shopping outlets.
The White Horse Golf Club is a premier Pacific Northwest Golf Destination. Recognized by Golf Digest as one of the Top Ten best new public golf courses in 2007, it is also a bit unusual.
Each hole offers five sets of tees to choose from, which makes the course playable for every skill level. Amid the quiet serenity of old growth fir, pine and cedar trees, golfers are also treated to frequent sightings of local wildlife.
After golf, the Cedar Ridge Grill beckons, offering food, beverages, and stunning views. A free golfers’ shuttle from the Kingston Ferry Dock makes White Horse easily accessible for golfers arriving by ferry.
North Kitsap Heritage Park, just a few miles from town on Miller Bay Road, offers hikers and nature lovers 809 acres of largely undeveloped land, traversed by trails and logging roads. The park is for daytime use only, with no overnight camping.
Education in Kingston
Kingston is a part of the North Kitsap School District. There are 2 Kingston elementary schools, 2 middle schools, 3 high schools and 4 preschools.
While there are no post-secondary schools in Kingston, there are 7 colleges/universities within 15 miles. In addition, the Kitsap Regional Library offers test and exam monitoring services for those patrons who study either on line or by correspondence.
A slightly larger percentage of Kingston residents hold Bachelor’s Degrees than does the general population in Washington State.
While there are no hospitals in Kingston, there are 7 hospitals, nursing homes and rehab centers located within 10 miles.
The Kitsap Medical Group has offices in Kingston, and there are at least three dental clinics and two eye care centers. There are at least three veterinary clinics, including one that specializes in equine care.
Getting to work
The majority of Kingston residents report travel time of 35 minutes or less to get to work. However, a few report times of up to 2 hours or more. The vast majority drive their own cars while approximately 10% work from home and don’t travel at all.
While the per capita income of Kingston residents is less than the Washington State average at $30,515, more than 37% report earnings of $75,000 or more and 48% have earnings over $50,000.
Kingston is served by one private airport, with one runway and no tower.
Does Kingston sound like the right place for you and yours? If so, get in touch. I’ll be happy to help you locate the home that fits both your lifestyle and your budget. In the meantime, click here for a preview of homes offered for sale today. (link to Kingston search)