Remember the boarded-up houses on Billy Frank Jr. Street? Here’s what’s happened to them

PeaceHealth has sold two houses it owned on Billy Frank Jr. Street that had been boarded up and causing concern for neighbors.

The houses are on the corner of East Chestnut Street in the Sehome Neighborhood.

The two houses are at 1200 and 1204 Billy Frank Jr. St. in Bellingham.

They were part of a group of four houses on Billy Frank Jr. Street that PeaceHealth — a health care provider and operator of the hospital in Bellingham — sold to a property management company for $2 million.

The sale to Billy Frank Properties LLC occurred August 2018.

The other two houses that were part of the deal were at 1210 and 1212 Billy Frank Jr. St.

Billy Frank Properties LLC includes Mike Hays, owner of Hammer Properties NW.

Hammer Properties is renting them.

Neither Hays nor someone else at Hammer Properties could be reached for comment.

They have submitted several permits for interior remodeling and electrical work.

PeaceHealth obtained the properties as part of its acquisition of St. Luke’s in the late 1980s.

In recent years, some residents were concerned about two of the houses — 1200 and 1204 Billy Frank Jr. St. — because they were run-down and boarded up.

The four houses are near PeaceHealth’s South Campus, which is empty.

In 2013, PeaceHealth said it would in the coming years close its outdated South Campus and demolish the building at 809 E. Chestnut St., which was the old St. Luke’s General Hospital before it was bought in a deal that closed in 1989.

The old hospital was built in 1927 and renovated or expanded over the years, including in 1957, 1967 and into the 1990s.

The health care provider has moved all services out of the campus. What the health care provider will do with that property won’t be decided for at least another two years, a representative told The Bellingham Herald.

“PeaceHealth has no immediate plans for South Campus. We need to complete our master facility planning process and carefully evaluate all of the options that are generated as a part of that process,” said Bev Mayhew, spokeswoman for PeaceHealth.

“We understand that the South Campus property stands at the gateway to downtown,” Mayhew added.

“It is a special piece of property and we want to develop it in a way that will make us all proud. We also understand that between now and when longer-term plans are developed we need to ensure that the property remains clean and safe,“ she said. “We don’t anticipate any movement on the property until 2021, at the earliest.”

House history

The houses, and the people who lived in them long ago, are part of the city’s history.

Here’s what Jeff Jewell, a researcher at Whatcom Museum, shared about them:

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1200 Billy Frank Jr. St. on Aug. 1 in Bellingham. Kie Relyea The Bellingham Herald

The house at 1200 Billy Frank Jr. St. was the Charles and Anna Stoddard House. It was built in 1902.

Charles ran a plumbing business at 1211 Railroad Ave., close to where Man Pies is now. Their daughter Elsie taught at the original Larrabee School.

Charles’ parents lived up the street, as did his brother Millard “Milton” Stoddard, a Bellingham firefighter at the department’s Fire Hall No. 3, at what was then Indian and Maple streets.

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1204 Billy Frank Jr. St. in Bellingham. Kie Relyea The Bellingham Herald

The house at 1204 was known as the Henry and Belle Buzzard House. It was built in 1906.

Henry was a blacksmith and worked with Allen Strathie. Their smithy, Strathie & Buzzard, was in the 1100 block of Dock Street, now Cornwall Avenue.

Henry was the grandfather of the late Terry Buzzard, who grew up on Lake Whatcom and was a nautical and whale-watching cruise pioneer.

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1210 Billy Frank Jr. St. in Bellingham on Aug. 5. Kie Relyea The Bellingham Herald

The house at 1210 Billy Frank Jr. St. was built in 1902 when then-Indian Street was dirt and stumps. One of the early occupants was Albert Cutler, in 1905, who was the bookkeeper for the Bellingham Bay Improvement Company.

Clinton and Gladys Gulick lived there the longest, from mid-1930s into the 1970s. In retirement, the Gulicks rented out rooms to Western students.

A permit was taken out in 1986 to remodel the home from “residence” to “office” by St. Luke’s General Hospital.

The house was the first home of the Brigid Collins House, from 1990 to 1999.

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1212 Billy Frank Jr. St. in Bellingham on Aug. 1. Kie Relyea The Bellingham Herald

The house at 1212 Billy Frank Jr. St. was built in 1909 for married couple Charles and Laura Horst. Charles was a realtor and insurance agent.

They were active in Trinity Methodist Church, later Garden Street United Methodist, and their home hosted prayer meetings, youth fellowships and church socials.

In 1967, the house was converted into a three-unit apartment and stayed that way until it 1983, when it became the personnel office for St. Luke’s.

Kie Relyea has been a reporter at The Bellingham Herald since 1997 and currently writes about social services and recreation in Whatcom County. She started her career in 1991 as a reporter and editor in Northern California.