Our Building

Waterman & Katz Building Renovation Concept

See the Case Statement for our building plan . The video below shows the design concept for renovation of the Waterman & Katz building (first floor) for the Northwind Arts Center. Below the video is the history of the building.

The 1885 Waterman & Katz Building

After 13 years of operation in rented property on Jefferson Street, Northwind Arts Center bought and moved to the first floor of the 1885 Waterman & Katz Building at 701 Water Street in February 2015. The purchase was made possible thanks to an overwhelming response to our intensive 6-month capital campaign.

Business partners Sigmund Waterman and brothers William and Israel Katz operated the Waterman & Katz mercantile business in a wooden building on Water Street (location of the current Boiler Room), starting in 1862. The current 3-story brick Waterman & Katz Building was built next door in 1885 at a cost of $20,000. What is now known as the Cannery building was originally a storehouse for the mercantile’s supplies, and a dock extended out from that building. Waterman died of a lengthy illness in 1888, and William Katz drowned in a boating accident that same year. While living a stormy and interesting personal life Israel Katz ran the business for the next 25 years.

At age 36, Israel Katz traveled to Germany to wed Adele Moss. Moss, 17, was in love with a cavalry officer who killed himself the day before Katz arrived. When Moss came to Port Townsend, she was not impressed. The streets were unpaved and the house was much smaller than she was used to in Germany. After two of their children died, Adele went back to Germany. By the time she returned to Port Townsend, the town had gone bust when it was decided that the railroad was not coming to Port Townsend.

Adele took up with a military man at Fort Worden and divorced Israel. They ran a successful spa in San Francisco until the soldier ran off with one of the spa employees and all of Adele’s money, leaving her penniless.

Meanwhile, Israel Katz served two terms as mayor of Port Townsend. He disappeared without a trace shortly after his second term ended in 1917. His glasses, his vest and other things he never left the house without were still there. Rumors of sightings popped up over the years, but no one ever heard from Katz again.

After Katz' disappearance in 1917, the Waterman & Katz Building was vacant for many years. In 1945 the main floor began to be used for automobile storage, while the upper stories were vacant. James Weir was the owner from 1959 to 1995. Roderick Weir published the Jefferson County Herald here from 1952 to 1959, while James Weir published the Port Townsend Tradesman until the 1960s. The building remained empty again for many years, and fell into disrepair. Ballenas Project Management purchased the Weir estate in 1997 and extensively remodeled the building. Peninsula College and the City of Port Townsend temporarily occupied offices on the upper floors. Ancestral Spirits Gallery and offices of the Puget Sound Energy were on the first floor for a time. Northwind Arts Center purchased the entire first floor in 2015.