A train whistle blew in the distance as we walked out onto Fairhaven’s Village Green plaza with Chuck Robinson, Owner of Village Books. The historic district in Washington State’s Whatcom County is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a part of Bellingham, ever since it amalgamated with the town of New Whatcom back in 1904.
Founded in 1883 by Daniel Jefferson Harris (aka “Dirty Dan”) Fairhaven is located at the North end of scenic Chuckanut Drive and just off exit 250 from the I-5. The brick-laden town centre is about six blocks around and centered at 12th Street and Harris Avenue.
Home to several well-tempered yet restored buildings from the turn of the 20th century, newer buildings have been designed to fit in with the neighbourhood. Looks can be deceiving as a seemingly heritage apartment block might be younger than you are.
A beauty parlour, pharmacy, woodcraft co-op, cafes, a bounty of tea shops, and a central book store all add to the life and character of downtown Fairhaven. Village Green (at 10th and Mill) is home to outdoor movies and events, there’s a farmers market every Wednesday in the summer, and a host of festivals and celebrations throughout the year.
The Bellingham/Whatcom County region boasts the country’s second largest number of arts businesses per capita after Santa Fe.
Fairhaven has some of the architecture you would find in Victoria or Seattle but the town has a unique, enterprising history thanks to founder “Dirty Dan” Harris.
While we have John “Gassy Jack” Deighton in Vancouver, Fairhaven’s Dirty Dan has a much different story and it’s one I’ll tell at a later time thanks to the research of Fairhaven locals Ralph Thacker and Constantine Papadakis.
Fairhaven is just one stop on my current tour of historic places and storied attractions in Whatcom County, Washington. View the rest of my photos on Flickr. Follow some of my posts about this region and the rest of county using my tag: Whatcom.