Dirty Dan Harris

Dirty Dan Harris

I last visited Bellingham when I was in college and visited student activists at Western Washington. As a retiree, it was interesting to walk the downtown streets and arts district. The old City Hall, now a museum, is a distinctive historical building dating from 1892. The Mount Baker Theatre is also very idiosyncratic. I enjoyed spotting a Carnegie mural on the back of the former library. Another colorful mural also caught my attention. It was also interesting to pass a café where a chess game was in progress. We walked through the Maritime Park where we encountered a very hungry young buck. Below a totem pole we learned about the “Legend of Salmon Woman and Her Children.” A downside of this visit was the number of homeless, especially in the park. On a later day, we visited Fairhaven, a subdivision of Bellingham. Dirty Dan Harris, founder of Fairhaven, was an unusual character. We were told that originally 17 of some 20 buildings were devoted to houses of ill repute. Fairhaven was one of four small communities on Bellingham Bay that merged in 1903-1904 to become Bellingham.

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