Port Angeles, WA - Federal City?

What’s the deal with Port Angeles being a “Federal City”, the only one in the U.S. besides Washington, DC?

From googling, I determined that Abraham Lincoln declared it a federal city and it would serve as the nation’s Capital in the event of some major national tragedy. Not sure exactly what else the designation entailed, or whether the US ever held the land as a separate district, outside the bounds of what is now the state of Washington.

But what sort of national tragedy was imagined in Lincoln’s time to porvoke this action? A rogue meteor, early discovery of nuclear weapons, swarms of mutant rabid possums??

And why was Port Angeles chosen as the backup national capital over a larger or more central town? It is a pretty small, unassuming (but beautiful) town even today!

Also, does Port Angeles still have “Federal City” designation? If not, is there another city with “backup Capital” designation?

I don’t know. What <cough>Robert E. Lee</cough> could have been <cough>Army of Northern Virginia</cough> going on that might have made Lincoln concerned about losing Washington, DC? It’s a mystery to me. :slight_smile:

I could swear this question was covered, oh maybe about a year ago. But damned if I can find it in a search.

It’s always dangerous to depend on it, but my shaky memory tells me that there’s nothing very special about Port Angeles. As best I can recall from the other thread, Port Angeles got a customs house or a federal courthouse or some such thing during the Lincoln administration, but so did a lot of other cities. It was never designated as the alternate national capital.

I’m pretty sure you’re right. The search engine is very quirky. It seems to work pretty well where user names are concerned, but misses a lot on keyword searches.

I think your assessment of the conclusion from the earlier thread is correct, too.

If this site can be trusted, it was a bit more complicated than I remembered.

The last bit sounds to me like it might be an example of Lincoln’s famous wit and not an actual plan to relocate the capital there in case of emergency.