C-SPAN in Bellingham to film history, literary shows to premier Jan. 4-5


Bellingham is going to be in the national news - in a good way.

A producer and two videographers from C-SPAN plan to visit Bellingham today, Dec. 8, through Friday to film a dozen or so segments about the city's history and lively literary scene.

"Bellingham is full of both of those," said Ashley Hill, a producer for C-SPAN's Cities Tour and one of the three visitors.

Now in its third year, the Cities Tour showcases the history and literary scene of smaller communities across the country. Bellingham is one of 20 cities on the current docket.

"It's our way to get outside of Washington," Hill said, referring to the nation's capital, not the state.

One videographer will focus on stories related to local history; the other will produce the literary shows, with a focus on non-fiction writers.

The shows will run on C-SPAN during a Bellingham weekend, Jan. 4 and 5, on BookTV (C-SPAN2, available on Comcast channel 25) and on American History TV (C-SPAN3, available on Comcast channel 150.

After that, the shows can be viewed online at c-span.org.

C-SPAN's visit includes a public gathering Tuesday, Dec. 10, at Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall. Along with welcoming speeches, Hill will unveil all of the topics to be filmed during their visit, and Bellingham author Brian Griffin will give an overview of Bellingham history with an emphasis on J.J. Donovan, an early civic-minded business leader.

Griffin curated the "Treasures From The Trunk" exhibit about Donovan currently showing at Old City Hall. His talk Tuesday, and the question-and-answer period to follow, will be filmed for later showing on C-SPAN.

Hill said George Pickett, the U.S. Army captain who served on Bellingham Bay and was involved in the "Pig War" with Great Britain in the San Juan Islands, will be the subject of another C-SPAN segment.

But that's all she was willing to reveal about the shows until Tuesday evening's event.

During their stay, Hill plans to visit local community groups and schools to talk about C-SPAN's programs, including its documentary contest for middle- and high-school students.

C-SPAN's visit is being supported by Comcast and by Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism.

Hill and other C-SPAN staffers have been busy gathering information about Bellingham before their visit, so she's looking forward to finally put faces to names and voices.

"It's a great opportunity for us to meet the community," she said. "We can't wait to see what Bellingham holds."


What: Free kickoff event for C-SPAN's Cities Tour visit to Bellingham.

Where: Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St.

When: Tuesday, Dec. 10. Doors open 6 p.m.; one-hour program begins at 7.

Reach Dean Kahn at 360-715-2291 or dean.kahn@bellinghamherald.com.

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