The History of Bellingham WA

In 1792, Captain George Vancouver named the bay he found as he was chartering Washington State’s northwestern waters, Bellingham. This was in honor of Sir William Bellingham, who was the British Navy’s chief accountant, responsible for providing George with the supplies he needed for his explorations. The inland sea was then named Puget Sound after Lieutenant Peter Puget who served under George Vancouver. Joseph Baker sighted a majestic snow-capped mountain Vancouver quickly named the region Mount Baker.

The original inhabitants of present-day Bellingham were Lummi Indians. They lived far from the land harvesting plants, fish, shellfish, deer and many other game animals. As captain Vancouver was going about his explorations, he found an entire community of over 3000 residents living here. Most of the people who are from the coastal area are descendants of the group of people who made the great trek to the land that connected North America and Asia more than 12,000 years ago.

Approximately 60 years after sir Vancouver’s voyage, some two gentlemen showed up from San Francisco in search of lumber to meet their town’s ever-growing needs in the year 1852. They asked the Lummi Indians they found there if they know of a place where water fell from a high hill. They were led to Whatcom by the residents’ chief. These gentlemen constructed a saw mill and immediately got into lumber production until 1873 when the saw mill burned. Roeder, one of the settlers from San Francisco, and his wife, became the first ever white settlers to establish themselves in Whatcom county. their son, by the name Victor Roeder established the Bellingham National Bank and in the year 1903, he built a state-of-the-art craftsman style home that is today listed among the most historic sites in the National Register of Historic Places. This home was donated to Whatcom county in 1971 for special use as a social and cultural center.

Captain George E. Pickett was sent to the region, accompanied by infantries to protect settlers there from Haida Indians in 1856. It was at this time that he constructed Fort Bellingham, the first bridge in the city.  he also erected a wooden home for himself and his wife. In 1859, he stood strong and fought the Britons who were claiming the land that formed San Juan Islands. His home remains an important historic site in the city. By 1889, the region had four strong townships; Fairhaven, Bellingham, Whatcom and Sehome. It was only natural for there to be disputes in regards to the mineral sharing. Eventually, the communities merged in 1904, forming Bellingham City.

Today, Bellingham is home to about 72,000 residents. It has quite a unique blend of old and new, giving residents a great shopping experience and a perfect opportunity to enjoy the city’s rich history. Over the years, it has grown into a popular tourist destination, welcoming visitors from all over the globe.

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