PORT TOWNSEND — Neighbors and residents from around the city stood in shock on the uptown streets Monday morning and watched as Aldrich’s store — the heart of the community for more than a century — lay broken and burning.
“I felt like we stayed up all night with a dying friend,” said Barbara Bogart, who lives a block away.
“I lost an old friend,” said Dennis Brooks, watching from behind the yellow tape strung across Tyler Street.
“It was the sense of community it held.”
Brooks, who lives on the block behind the store, was one of the first people who knew that Aldrich’s, which has occupied the corner of Lawrence and Tyler since 1927, was on fire.
“I woke up when the transformer blew,” Brooks said.
“It was like fireworks — boom, boom, boom. I looked out the window, and could see flames shooting 30 to 40 feet in the air.
“I knew something bad was happening.”
A Port Townsend institution, the original Aldrich’s, built in 1889, was used as a dry goods store in uptown Port Townsend in 1895.
—————–The rest of the story appears in the Tuesday Peninsula Daily News.