Whatcom and Fairhaven merge to form Bellingham on December 28, 1903.

  • By Priscilla Long
  • Posted 3/17/2003
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 5431
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On December 28, 1903, the towns of Whatcom and Fairhaven merge to form the town of Bellingham.  Bellingham is the county seat of Whatcom County.  It is located on Bellingham Bay in Northwest Washington, and is the last major town before the U.S.-Canadian border.

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.


WPA Papers (papers used in preparation for Washington: a Guide to the Evergreen State), Box 13, Folder 2, Bundle 2, p. 3, Washington State Historical Society; "History," Bellingham, Washington, Website (http://www.bellingham.org).

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