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Vanishing Towns and Old Settlements of Washington

Of towns that once had the promise of a great future, Whatcom is one. It was named after a chief of the Nooksack, whose grave is a mile above the Bellingham Bay coal mine. For a short time during the Fraser River furore it had 10,000 people, and a fleet of vessels coming and going. The order of Douglas, turning traffic to Victoria, caused all the better portion of the buildings to be taken clown and removed thither. The single brick house erected by John Alexander remained, and was converted to the use of the county. Eldridge’s Sketch, MS., 31-2; Coleman, in Harper’s Magazine, xxxix. 796; Waddington, 8-9; Rossi’s Souvenirs, 156-7. After this turn in the fortunes of Whatcom it remained uninhabited, except by its owners and the coal company, for several years, or until about 1870, when the N. P. R. Co. turned attention to Bellingham Bay as a possible terminus of their road, and all the available land fronting on the bay was bought up. In 1882 the agent of a Kansas colony, looking for a location, fixed on Whatcom County and town, and made arrangements for settling there 600 immigrants. The owners of the town site agreed to donate a half-interest in the town site to the colonists, but refused after the latter had complied with the stipulations. New Whatcom was thereupon laid off on the opposite side of the creek, and also a town called Fairhaven west of that, while other colonists settled at Sehome, named after a chief of the Samish tribe, and laid off by E. C. Fitzhugh, James Tilton, and C. Vail,...

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