Place:Bellingham, Whatcom, Washington, United States

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NameBellingham
Alt namesFairhaven
Whatcom
Sehome
TypeCity
Coordinates48.75°N 122.475°W
Located inWhatcom, Washington, United States     (1852 - )

Bellingham was created by the merger of Fairhaven and Whatcom in an election held November, 1903.

November 4, 1903
Whatcom and Fairhaven have wisely decided to consolidate and will henceforth be known as Bellingham. The growth of these towns has been rapid and substantial. In 1900 the total population of both cities was about 11,000. A reliable estimate of the present population of Whatcom and Fairhaven places the number of inhabitants at 26,000. Bellingham becomes the fourth city of the state in population and is certain to continue its growth and become an important city and port. The people of Bellingham are to be congratulated upon the result of yesterday's election. --Tacoma Ledger.

source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Bellingham is the county seat and most populous city of Whatcom County in the U.S. state of Washington. Located 52 miles (84 km) southwest of Vancouver, 90 miles (145 km) north of Seattle, and 21 miles (33 km) south of the Canada-US border, Bellingham is in between two major metropolitan areas, Seattle and Vancouver BC. The city’s population was 80,885 at the 2010 United States Census. With an April 1, 2018 population estimate of 88,500 per the Washington State Office of Financial Management, Bellingham is the twelfth-most populous city in the state of Washington.

The city of Bellingham was incorporated in 1903 through the consolidation of Fairhaven, Whatcom, Sehome and Bellingham: four historic towns that settled beside Bellingham Bay. The bay, where the present-day city and the former town of the same name derive their names from, was named Bellingham Bay by George Vancouver upon arriving to it in June 1792. Its namesake, Sir William Bellingham, was the Controller of Storekeeper Accounts of the Royal Navy during the Vancouver Expedition.

Today, Bellingham is the northernmost city with a population of more than 50,000 people in the contiguous United States. The city is a popular tourist destination known for its easy access to outdoor recreation in the San Juan Islands and North Cascades. Bellingham is undergoing redevelopment on more than 100 acres of former industrial land in its Waterfront District with a hotel, conference center, condos, retirement living, retail and commercial development planned for the site.

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Prior to Euro-American settlement, Bellingham was in the homeland of Coast Salish peoples of the Lummi and neighboring tribes. The first Caucasian immigrants reached the area in 1854. In 1858, the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush caused thousands of miners, storekeepers, and scalawags to head north from California. Whatcom (one of the original four towns that were eventually incorporated as Bellingham) grew overnight from a small northwest mill town to a bustling seaport, the basetown for the Whatcom Trail, which led to the Fraser Canyon goldfields, used in open defiance of colonial Governor James Douglas's edict that all entry to the gold colony be made via Victoria, British Columbia.

Coal was mined in the Bellingham area from the mid-19th to the mid-20th centuries. It was Henry Roeder who had discovered coal off the northeastern shore of Bellingham Bay, and in 1854 a group of San Francisco investors established the Bellingham Bay Coal Company. The mine extended to hundreds of miles of tunnels as deep as 1200 feet. It ran southwest to Bellingham Bay, on both sides of Squalicum Creek, an area of about one square mile. At its peak in the 1920s, the mine employed some 250 miners digging over 200,000 tons of coal annually. It was closed in 1955.

Bellingham was officially incorporated on December 28, 1903 as a result of the incremental consolidation of four towns initially situated around Bellingham Bay during the final decades of the 19th Century. Whatcom is today's "Old Town" area and was founded in 1852. Sehome was an area of downtown founded in 1854. Bellingham was further south near Boulevard Park, founded in 1853; while Fairhaven was a large commercial district with its own harbor, also founded in 1853.

In 1890, Fairhaven developers bought Bellingham. Whatcom and Sehome had adjacent borders and both towns wanted to merge; thus they formed New Whatcom. Later, on October 27, 1903, the word "New" was dropped from the name, because the Washington State Legislature outlawed the use of the word new in city and town names. At first, attempts to combine Fairhaven and Whatcom failed, and there was controversy over the name of the proposed new city. Whatcom citizens wouldn't support a city named Fairhaven, and Fairhaven residents would not support a city named Whatcom. They eventually settled on the name Bellingham, which remains today. Voting a second time for a final merger of the four towns into a single city, the resolution passed by 2163 votes for and 596 against.

In the early 1890s, three railroad lines arrived, connecting the bay cities to a nationwide market of builders. The foothills around Bellingham were clearcut after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake to help provide the lumber for the rebuilding of San Francisco. In time, lumber and shingle mills sprang up all over the county to accommodate the byproduct of their work.

In 1889, Pierre Cornwall and an association of investors formed the Bellingham Bay Improvement Company (BBIC). The BBIC invested in several diverse enterprises such as shipping, coal, mining, railroad construction, real estate sales and utilities. Even though their dreams of turning Bellingham into a Pacific Northwest metropolis never came to fruition, the BBIC made an immense contribution to the economic development of Bellingham.

BBIC was not the only outside firm with an interest in Bellingham utilities. The General Electric Company of New York purchased Bellingham's Fairhaven Line and New Whatcom street rail line in 1897. In 1898 the utility merged into the Northern Railway and Improvement Company which prompted the Electric Corporation of Boston to purchase a large block of shares.

Bellingham was the site of the Bellingham riots against East Indian (Sikh) immigrant workers in 1907. A mob of 400–500 white men, predominantly members of the Asiatic Exclusion League, with intentions to exclude East Indian immigrants from the work force of the local lumber mills, attacked the homes of the South Asian Indians. The Indians were mostly Sikhs but were labelled as Hindus by much of the media of the day.


Bellingham's proximity to the Strait of Juan de Fuca and to the Inside Passage to Alaska helped keep some cannery operations here. Pacific American Fisheries (P.A.F.), for example, shipped empty cans to Alaska, where they were packed with fish and shipped back.

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