The area is the ancestral home of the Lummi, Nooksack, and Semiahmoo tribes. George Vancouver anchored just to the north in Birch Bay in 1792. The first major influx of Euro-American peoples came with the Fraser River gold rush of 1858. By the 1880s the area was well settled, with the economy based on timber, coal, fishing, canning, and farming. Bellingham had a railroad connection to the trans-Canada line.