Fairhaven, Washington

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Fairhaven Historic District
B'ham Fairhaven 03.jpg
Fairhaven, Washington is located in Washington (state)
Fairhaven, Washington
Location Roughly bounded by 10th and 13th Sts., Columbia and Larrabee Aves.
Nearest city Bellingham, Washington
NRHP Reference # 77001363
Added to NRHP August 19, 1977

Fairhaven (or the Fairhaven Village) was founded in the late 1880s, but about two decades later it became part of the City of Bellingham, Washington, United States.


The Fairhaven area is situated on the south side of Bellingham,[1] and borders Bellingham Bay on the west and Western Washington University on the northeast.

Since 1989 Fairhaven has been the southernmost terminus of the Alaska Marine Highway System, Alaska's state run ferry system. The Bellingham Cruise Terminal is also the departure point for summer passenger ferry service to the San Juan Islands and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada operated by Victoria/San Juan Cruises. Nearby is Fairhaven Station, a small transportation hub which serves as Bellingham's Amtrak Cascades station stop[2] as well as the Greyhound bus depot.[3] Connections can be made to local taxis or local transit. Whatcom Transportation Authority recently upgraded Fairhaven's bus service to every 15 minutes as part of its Red Line. Fairhaven also plays outdoor movies every weekend during the summer at the Pickford Outdoor Cinema in Fairhaven's historical district.

Historical district[edit]

In the center of the Fairhaven area is the Fairhaven Historical District, which features a seasonal farmer's market as well as numerous restaurants and shops. The district is a popular tourist destination. All newly constructed buildings are required to conform in outward appearance to the community's traditional 19th-century style as defined by Bellingham Municipal Code, Design Review District, section 20.26.


Fairhaven in 1890

First arriving in the area in 1854, Daniel J. Harris bought property along the coast and founded the town of Fairhaven in 1883.[4] By 1889, he had sold all his interests to developers such as Nelson Bennett and C. X. Larrabee, who were intent on building Fairhaven into a major city on the scale of Seattle or Tacoma.[5]

Fairhaven, like many other coastal Washington cities, competed with other Washington cities for the position of terminal city of the Great Northern Railroad, but that title ultimately fell on Seattle. During this period of competitiveness, which lasted from the late 1870s through mid-1880s, Fairhaven adopted its iconic 19th century style and took on an aesthetic appeal to architecture and design. Even after it was decided that Seattle would house the Great Northern Railroad terminal, population and aesthetically-minded construction continued to boom until the late 1890s. Fairhaven was officially incorporated on May 13, 1890. On October 27, 1903, citizens of Fairhaven and citizens of two neighboring cities on Bellingham Bay, Whatcom City and Sehome, voted to consolidate into one city named Bellingham. On December 28, 1903 the new city of Bellingham was officially established.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About Fairhaven.com". fairhaven.com. Ben Kinney. Archived from the original on 2015-08-13. Retrieved 29 Aug 2015. 
  2. ^ "Bellingham, WA (BEL)". Amtrak.com. Amtrak. Retrieved 29 Aug 2015. 
  3. ^ "Historic Fairhaven District". bellingham.org. Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism. Retrieved 29 Aug 2015. 
  4. ^ Bourasaw, Noel V. (March 31, 2011). "Introduction to legends of Daniel J. Harris, his character and accomplishments as founder of Fairhaven". Skagit River Journal of History & Folklore. Retrieved April 18, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Fairhaven". Bellingham's Centennial: Exploring the Foundations of Our Community. Retrieved April 18, 2017. 
  6. ^ "Fairhaven Historic District". cob.org. City of Bellingham. Retrieved 29 Aug 2015. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 48°43′05″N 122°30′25″W / 48.71806°N 122.50694°W / 48.71806; -122.50694