The historic Eisenbeis Cracker Factory was part of the downtown walking tour offered by the Port Townsend Victorian Heritage Festival on Sunday. It was built by Prussian baker Charles Eisenbeis, the city’s first mayor, in 1888. The factory specialized in provisions for ocean-bound shipping: hardtack, ship’s bread, and biscuits.
The present day Cracker Factory has come a long way since its industrial beginnings. Presently for sale, it is described as “newly envisioned” by its artist and contractor owners. The steel oven from the factory remains but the building has been extensively remodeled. The white walls they found inside the building turned out to be not painted but coated with flour from its years as a bakery.
Charles Eisenbeis was quite a successful businessman. He built a number of buildings in Port Townsend and one of his descendents, Fred Eisenbeis, operated a grocery store in what later became known as the Elks Building. It’s not as clear as the First National Bank portion of the ghost signs above but you can see reference to both the Cracker Factory and the Grocery Store in the top ghost sign.