Fascinating Historical Photos of Bellingham from the 1900s

Bellingham was incorporated in 1903 by combining Bellingham, Whatcom, Fairhaven, and Sehome into one city. Whatcom Falls was settled in 1852 when Captain Henry Roeder built a sawmill there. Coal mining began in 1854, and the bay served as a staging area for the ill-fated Fraser River gold rush (1857–58). The “Old Town” area of Whatcom was founded in 1852 with Roeder’s Mill. A coal mine founded in 1854 led to the creation of Sehome, a place of downtown. Dan Harris founded Fairhaven in 1883, and it was a large commercial district and harbor located around his homestead on Padden Creek.

Railway connections and improved harbor facilities in the early 20th Century led to the development of Bellingham’s timber-pulp operations, fish canneries, and pleasure boat building industries. Mountain Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest is near Bellingham, which is also a gateway to the San Juan Islands. Whatcom Community College was founded in 1967 and Western Washington University in 1893. The Whatcom Museum of History and Art contains documents and artifacts on local history in four buildings.

Below are some stunning historical photos of Bellingham from the late 19th and 20th Centuries

#3 Early Whatcom County logging photo showing the tools of the trade

#9 Clark Gable, Jack Oakie, during filming of “call of the wild” near mount baker, 1935

#15 Edens Hall, Western Washington College of Education,1937

#18 After a snowstorm, in downtown Bellingham: holly street, block west of Cornwall (dock St.), 1940.

#22 First Edward Eldridge home, built 1876, burned 1878

#26 Bellingham theater guild presents “sweet charity,” 1948

#31 Miners posing at entrance of blue canyon mine, 1891

#32 An “Indian pow-wow” in Cornwall Park – not an actual gathering of native Americas, but, rather, middle class white kids, 1920

#33 Looking southwest from chestnut street, Sehome, 1889

#35 Clyde banks, preparing to take the first aerial photos of mt. Baker, 1920

#44 Richards building, erected 1858 – oldest brick building north of San Francisco

#46 Engineers Side, Alco 2-6-2 Locomotive no. 1, 1909

#47 3 Truck Shay Locomotive #5 & Willamette Tree Rig Skidder

#51 Sehome grade school, built 1890 on present site of laurel park.

#55 City of Arlington float in 1959 Blossomtime parade

#62 Washington poet Laureate Ella Higginson’s house

#63 Henry Roeder mansion, aka “elmheim,” aka”roeder-roth home”

#68 House built by Jack Holeman, current site of burger kind, telegraph rd., Bellingham.

#71 Military bridge built across Whatcom creek by George Pickett

#74 Montague McHugh building before the coming of the bon.

#75 Sehome grade school built 1890 on present site of laurel park, Bellingham

#77 Boats in Squalicum Harbor, Bellingham Yacht Club building, 1900

#79 Firemans Side, 3 Truck Shay Locomotive #7 & 3 Truck Climax Locomotive #1 With a String of Loaded Log Flats

#82 Mack Truck on Rails at The Landing Getting The Peak Log Loaded, 1926

#86 2-6-6-2 Locomotive #14 With 43 Loaded Connected Log Cars

#88 Cornwall, Leopold hotel and “sanitarium” baths, 1920

#95 Soaping the fountain in the fountain district has been a common prank across the years.

#96 1970s view showing storefronts across from fountain in fountain district

#97 Military bridge across Whatcom creek, build by George Pickett

#99 Bellingham International Airport Maintenance, 1983

#100 Bellingham YMCA delegation in House chamber, 1949

#101 Empty Mack Truck on Rails at The Bottom of The Incline Waiting To be Rigged & Yarded up The Incline, 1926

#103 Gymnasium, Western Washington College of Education, 1937

#120 2 Truck Shay Locomotive #4 CN 820 Leaving Landing With 3 Loaded Disconnect Log Cars

#124 Bellingham Kiwanis visit to Bellingham coal mine, 1935

#125 Bellingham International Airport Fire Station from the front, September 1981

#126 G.S. Williams, William Entwistle, and L.T. Webster at Entwistle Lookout, 1954

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Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.

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