Inspired by Judy Bentley’s Walking Washington’s History: Ten Cities, our staff is going on a series of history walks of featured Washington State cities (see a similar series at Northwest Public Radio). In this guest post, 2016-2017 Mellon University Press Diversity Fellow Niccole Leilanionapae’aina Coggins explores Bellingham.
Learn more about Washington’s urban history and celebrate the publication of Walking Washington’s History at these author events:
Thursday, August 4 at 6:30 p.m., REI Olympia, Olympia, WA
Tuesday, August 23 at 7 p.m., REI Seattle
Thursday, August 25 at 7 p.m., KCLS-Renton Library, Renton, WA
Wednesday, September 7 at 7 p.m., Leschi Community Council, Central Area Senior Center
Thursday, September 8 at 6:30 p.m., REI Issaquah, Issaquah, WA
In keeping with the summer plan to try out the various walks featured in Judy Bentley’s book, I volunteered for the next outing. Since I’m new to Washington State and have a car, my colleagues suggested Bellingham. Bentley wrote that Bellingham is a combination of four villages, Whatcom-Sehome-Bellingham-Fairhaven, that “grew along the waterfront of Bellingham Bay and rode every boom and bust that swept the Pacific Northwest in the late 1800s and early 1900s.” The villages eventually merged together and took the name of the bay as their own. The cornerstone markers along the route, like the one between Whatcom and Fairhaven, highlight the historical boundaries of where one town ended and the other began.
The Bellingham Loop is seven miles roundtrip (may be done in parts) and the Extended Walk: South Hill and Western Washington University is three miles one-way, with elevation gain. As luck would have it, this walk is the longest one in the book. Along with two family friends, I opted for the middle part of the loop.