Lynden is the second largest city in Whatcom County, Washington, United States. Named and established in 1874 on the site of the Nooksack Indian village Squahalish (Nooksack: Sqwehálich), the town of Lynden began as a pioneer settlement headed by Holden and Phoebe Judson.
Lynden is approximately south of the U.S.-Canadian border, with Lynden-Aldergrove operation and port of entry hours between 8:00 a.m. and midnight. It is also located about north of Bellingham, and about north of Seattle. The population was 11,951 as of the 2010 United States Census. Residents of Lynden are known as "Lyndenites". Lynden is also home to the Northwest Washington Fair.
Lynden is located at the end of the Milwaukee Road (now BNSF) railroad spur from Hampton.
Lynden was begun in 1871 and established in 1874 by Holden and Phoebe Judson near the site of the Nooksack Indian village Squahalish (Nooksack: Sqwehálich). It was named by Phoebe Judson after the riverside town in , a poem by Thomas Campbell, stating:
According to her book, A Pioneer's Search for an Ideal Home, she changed the spelling of "Linden" to be more visually appealing. The town was officially incorporated on March 16, 1891.
The town lies in a broad valley along the winding path of the Nooksack River, which empties into nearby Bellingham Bay. The surrounding area is filled with dairy, raspberry, strawberry, and blueberry farms. Even though not founded by them, the region saw significant Dutch immigration in the early and mid 1900s, spurring the growth of dairies. Now, many of the dairies have been converted into raspberry, blueberry, or strawberry fields. Today, Lynden pays homage to some of its partial Dutch heritage through locations such as buildings on Front Street,and commercial building codes, where some businesses have been made-over with a Dutch/European theme, complete with a windmill. Along that street, you'll find a Dutch bakery, Dutch restaurant and numerous antiques stores. Some local supermarkets contain small Dutch food sections, but Dutch is spoken by very few of the town's residents today. In the last two decades, the population has nearly doubled in size, and most of the residents are a mix of standard American ethnicity, with Dutch being more predominate than other ethnic ancestry.(see 2010 census figures).
The Raspberry Festival is held the third weekend in July every year. The festival includes the Curt Maberry 3-on-3 basketball tournament, the Razz & Shine Car Show, The Raspberry Fun Run, tours of raspberry fields and wineries and the ever popular Raspberry & Ice Cream All Day social. Other notable events are the Farmer's Day Parade, the Sinterklaas/Lighted Christmas Parade, the Antique Tractor Show, and many other events that can be seen in more detail at Lynden's website calendar.
The town is noted for its manicured lawns, Dutch/European architecture and abundance of churches. In August, the Northwest Washington Fair lures over 200,000 people, and allows Whatcom County residents to display their agricultural products, art, crafts and wares. This regional fair is highly regarded as one of the best family friendly fairs in the state.
In 2005, Lynden gained renown for its infamous Lynden Drug Tunnel, built by a band of Canadian drug-smugglers in the basement of a residence 5 miles north of Lynden along the Canadian border.
Lynden is one of the few cities in the world whose main entrance is in between two cemeteries. At one time, Lynden held the world record for most churches per square mile and per capita, though unsubstantiated. That title currently goes to Wheaton, Ill. Due to the town's large population of those who attend or are members of Lynden's many churches, the town has had a long tradition of most businesses closing on Sunday. This was voluntary, never by ordinance however. It has changed over time, and there are various businesses open on Sunday now, as in other communities. A law prohibiting Sunday alcohol sales that was on the books for 41 years was repealed on October 20, 2008, due to changes in the population thinking concerning this matter as well.