Located on a sandy arm tipped by Point Chehalis, which bounds Grays Harbor on the southwest. Headquarters for a fishing and crabbing fleet it is popular with sports fishermen and surfers. The name is descriptive of the town’s location.
Its wide, wind-swept street is bordered on one side by small store buildings. Modest cottages and summer homes are shaded by great fir and pine trees. The town looks down upon a sheltered cove, the harbor for a crab and salmon-fishing fleet of 200 boats. Ducks and geese are numerous along the saltwater marshes.
The site of Westport was named Peterson’s Point for Glenn Peterson, first settler in 1858, but with the growth of the settlement the name was changed to Westport. Established here in 1860 for the protection of white settlers was Old Fort Chehalis, long since in ruins. A tablet erected on the site commemorates the services of Company A, 4th United States infantry, occupants of the fort in early days.
The first school in the county was established here in the late 1850s. At Damon’s Point, Government engineers in the 1940s were building the existing jetty out into the ocean, to prevent the blocking of the harbor channel. Beaches of powdery sand stretch away on every side, sloping down to a smooth, hard floor that disappears under a thundering surf. A low white lighthouse looms dimly, and the intermittent wail of a fog horn comes through the mist that seems ever present.
With the jetty complete, Westport now serves as a seasonal playland. Its broad beaches attract visitors and, with easy access to the Pacific, the snug marina abounds with charter fishing boats. Souvenir shops near the marina sell Jolly Roger flags in a kitschy homage to Westport’s maritime heritage, while burger stands and motor inns provide room and board in a 1960s style that has disappeared in most places.