Outdoors

Walking Washington

History on the hoof

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

“Located in the most remote corner of the continental United States, hunkered below a wilderness cascading down from the mountains, early Bellingham… had ambition,” writes historian Judy Bentley in jer new book, Walking Washington’s History.

Bellingham is one of 10 Washington cities that Bentley provides brief but engaging historical overviews for, along with walking routes that explore our region’s past on foot (or bicycle). Seattle, Olympia, Walla Walla, Everett, and Yakima are other destinations that Bentley—who also wrote the bestselling Hiking Washington’s History—explores and interprets for her readers.

Each tour is a loop from two to seven miles long, with each city chosen to represent a distinct chapter in the post-European settling and development of the Evergreen State: Vancouver as the earliest significant settlement in the Pacific Northwest, Port Townsend as an important port of call for sailing ships in the mid-1800s, Spokane symbolic of urban renewal and reinvention efforts of the 1970s, and so forth.

Bellingham, in a chapter subtitled “Reluctant City,” is symbolic of the many frenzied waves of resource extraction that created booms and busts throughout our region: coal, gold, timber and salmon.

The walking route begins at the totem “story pole” in front of the Whatcom County Courthouse depicting settlers Henry Roeder and Russell Peabody in a canoe with Lummi tribal leaders Ts-likw and Cha-wit-zit. It then crosses Pickett Bridge, taking in Whatcom Falls before strolling the Old Village Trail up Peabody Hill to the Pickett House—the oldest wooden building in Washington state still on its foundation. This short section of the walk proffers tales of early U.S. Army presence in the Washington Territory, sawmills and timber economics, a utopian commune from Kansas and relations with the local tribes.

The history tour continues through downtown, follows the waterfront to Fairhaven, then circles up South Hill, winding around the Western Washington University campus before bringing the sojourner back to the courthouse. Along with directions and a map, Bentley interprets what you are seeing all along the way, and why it matters in the century-and-a-half story of Bellingham’s development.

Did you know the City of Subdued Excitement has the first and oldest brick building in Washington state? Do you know why downtown has so many odd triangle intersections? Interested in knowing how Railroad Avenue got its name, where the Sehome coal mine was or the story behind the Big Tin Rock between the shoreline and the Boulevard over-water walkway? Curious about which city park was designed by the famous Olmsted Brothers and which library was funded by steel magnate Andrew Carnegie?

As Bellingham continues to transform itself again, it is wise to remember where we’ve come from. There are stories in the ground beneath our feet, dashed dreams lingering in the air, as well as legacies of benevolent forethought from a not-so-distant past all around us.

Bentley’s new book is available through the University of Washington Press and at local bookstores.

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Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

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Bellingham Beer Week

12:00pm|Throughout Bellingham

Essence of Bellingham Photo Competition

10:00am

Robin Hood, a Musical

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Eurydice

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Unstable By Design

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Chanticleer Authors Conference

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Valley Writers

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SPA Talk with Bradley James Lockhart

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Linuxfest Northwest

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Peace Vigil

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First Friday Art Walk

5:00pm|Historic Fairhaven

Poetry Party

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Building Dreams Dinner and Auction

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Raise the Roof Auction and Trashion Show

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North Cascades Community Orchestra

7:30pm|Central Lutheran Church

The Coronation of Poppea

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Mainstage

Skagit Community Band

7:30pm|Maple Hall, Anacortes-Westminster Presbyterian Church

Genre Legends, Hot Dogs

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Neil Berg
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Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

10:00am|Skagit Valley

Bellingham Beer Week

12:00pm|Throughout Bellingham

Essence of Bellingham Photo Competition

10:00am

Robin Hood, a Musical

7:00pm|Sedro-Woolley High School

Eurydice

7:00pm|Squalicum High School,

Unstable By Design

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Chanticleer Authors Conference

12:00pm|Hotel Bellwether

Linuxfest Northwest

3:00pm|Settlemyer Hall

Genre Legends, Hot Dogs

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Skagit Community Band

7:30pm|Maple Hall, Anacortes-Westminster Presbyterian Church

The Coronation of Poppea

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Mainstage

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Post #154

Dealer Demo Day

9:00am|Fanatik Bike Co.

Everson Garden Club Plant Sale

9:00am|Everson Elementary School

Have a Heart Family Fun Run

9:00am|Edgewater Park

Anacortes Vintage by the Sea

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NSEA Work Party

9:00am|Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association

Independent Bookstore Day

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Rise Against Hunger

9:00am| St. Luke's Community Health Education Center

Seedlings, Starts and Garden Goodies Swap and Giveaway

10:00am|Van Zandt Community Hall

Backyard Habitat Native Flora Fair

10:00am|Fairhaven Village Green

WoodFest

10:00am|Sedro-Woolley High School

Contemplative Brush and Japanese Washi Papers

10:00am|Blaine Harbor Center

Local Author/Illustrator Open House

10:00am|South Whatcom Library

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Sumas Writers Group

10:00am|Sumas Library

Dia de los niños/Dia de los libros

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We Are Skookum Scavenger Hunt

10:00am|Downtown Bellingham

Dakota Art Store Anniversary Art Expo

10:00am|Dakota Art Store

Vaisakhi Festival

11:00am|Guru Nanak Gursikh Gurdwara

Tomato Growing Tips and Tricks

11:00am|Joe's Gardens

Getting Your Hand Dirty

11:00am|North Fork Library

The Greatest Sideshow in Sedro-Woolley

12:00pm|Hammer Heritage Square

Learn to Grow Fruit Trees

1:30pm|Cloud Mountain Farm Center

Little Farm Homegrown

2:00pm|Everson Library

Garage Wine Company Tasting

2:00pm|Seifert & Jones Wine Merchants

Sudden Valley Jazz Series

3:00pm|South Whatcom Library

Interwoven Lives

4:00pm|Village Books

FiberFest

4:00pm|Maple Hall

April Brews Day

6:30pm|Depot Market Square

Guemes Island gets lit

6:30pm

Contra Dance with Heliotrope

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Poetry Duo

7:00pm|Village Books

Swing Into Spring

7:00pm|Pioneer Pavilion Community Center

Bellingham Community Band's Appalachian Spring

7:00pm|Syre Center

Jennifer Scott, Rene Worst, and Bill Coon

7:30pm|Jansen Art Center

Skagit Valley Chorale's American Journeys

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Artrageous

7:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Village Books Trove Web
Sunday
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

10:00am|Skagit Valley

Bellingham Beer Week

12:00pm|Throughout Bellingham

Essence of Bellingham Photo Competition

10:00am

Eurydice

7:00pm|Squalicum High School,

Chanticleer Authors Conference

12:00pm|Hotel Bellwether

Linuxfest Northwest

3:00pm|Settlemyer Hall

Skagit Community Band

7:30pm|Maple Hall, Anacortes-Westminster Presbyterian Church

The Coronation of Poppea

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Mainstage

WoodFest

10:00am|Sedro-Woolley High School

We Are Skookum Scavenger Hunt

10:00am|Downtown Bellingham

Contemplative Brush and Japanese Washi Papers

10:00am|Blaine Harbor Center

FiberFest

4:00pm|Maple Hall

Skagit Valley Chorale's American Journeys

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

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8:30am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Brews Brunch

9:00am|Boundary Bay Brewery

Parkscriptions Day

9:30am|Throughout Whatcom County

Great Lego Build-Off

10:00am|Pioneer Pavilion Community Center

Dirty Dan Harris Festival

10:00am|Historic Fairhaven

Mitzvah Day Used Book Sale

10:30am|Congregation Beth Israel

Langar in Lynden

11:00am| Guru Nanak Gursikh Gurdwara

Easter Brunch at Semiahmoo Resort

11:00am|Semiahmoo Resort

Bellingham Handmade Market

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Coffee with Local Artists

12:30pm|Museum of Northwest Art

Books by the Bay Book Festival

1:00pm|Hotel Bellwether

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1:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Allegro Strings Benefit

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Sanford-Hill Piano Series

3:00pm|Performing Arts Center Concert Hall

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Sinful Sunday

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