Dean Kahn

Bellingham history tours let you explore local neighborhoods, cemetery

Marrisa McGrath, left, and Sara Holodnick operate The Bureau of Historical Investigation at 217 W. Holly St., Bellingham. Their offerings include paid “Sin & Gin” and “Gore & Lore” tours, and free Holly Street tours during the summer.
Marrisa McGrath, left, and Sara Holodnick operate The Bureau of Historical Investigation at 217 W. Holly St., Bellingham. Their offerings include paid “Sin & Gin” and “Gore & Lore” tours, and free Holly Street tours during the summer. mmcdonald@bhamherald.com

There are plenty of homegrown options for exploring Whatcom County history on foot or by boat. Some history tours charge admission, and some are free. Some involve books and maps, others use booklets and online information. Here are some options:

Bellingham

Bayview Cemetery: Free guided tours start at 2 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial and last up to to 90 minutes. Schedule: June 10, cemetery highlights, including history, memorials and sculptures; July 8, “Murder, mystery and mayhem”; and Aug. 12, “Apparitions, ghosts and phantoms.” Reservations required: 360-778-7150 or cemetery office, 1420 Woburn St.

Downtown Bellingham Historic Walking Tour: 92-page booklet details former and current landmarks, often with “then and now” photographs. Free, printable desktop and audible versions at cob.org/historytours. Printed booklet sells for $5 at Whatcom Museum gift shop, 250 Flora St.; The Bureau of Historical Investigation, 217 W. Holly St.; and Bellingham Visitor Information Center, 904 Potter St.

Bellingham Bay: Whatcom Museum traditionally hosts Sunset History Cruises of Bellingham Bay and waters to the south aboard the tour boat Island Caper. To check on 2016 summer tours, see whatcommuseum.org.

The Bureau of Historical Investigation: The retail and tour business at 217 W. Holly St. offers several guided history walking tours downtown and in Fairhaven:

▪ “Sin &Gin” tours are Friday and Saturday nights, July and August. Cost: $15 for people 18 to 20; and $20 with drink ticket for people 21 and older.

Downtown Sin & Gins start 7 p.m. July 2 at 217 W. Holly St. Fairhaven Sin & Gins start 7 p.m. July 1 by Skylark’s, 1308 11th St.

▪ “Gore & Lore” tours in October are $15 per person. Downtown Gore & Lores start 6 p.m. Oct. 1. Fairhaven Gore & Lores start 6 p.m. Oct. 7 by Skylark’s.

▪ Free Holly Street tours run Saturdays, July to September, starting 1 p.m. July 9 at 311 E. Holly St.

For details and tickets for those and private tours, see thebureaubellingham.com, call 360-305-3172, or visit 217 W. Holly St.

Rail Trail Walking Guide: 88-page booklet from Bellingham Railway Museum provides by-the-numbers walking guide to early railroad and industrial features from Fairhaven waterfront to Railroad Avenue. Cost: $4.95 at the museum, 1320 Commercial St., and at Village Books, 1200 11th St.

York Neighborhood Historic Map and Walking Tour: Published in 2004, the foldout map is hard to find. Easy-to-read format details buildings and other neighborhood features circa 1926. To see a copy, visit Nelson’s Market, 514 Potter St.

Lynden

Lynden Pioneer Museum will host free weekly tours of Lynden Cemetery, on the south side of Front Street at Guide Meridian, and monthly tours of Greenwood Cemetery, on the south side of East Wiser Lake Road between Guide Meridian and Hannegan Road.

Lynden tours are 1 p.m. Saturdays, May 14 through Oct. 29, except Oct. 15. Greenwood tours are 3 p.m. the last Saturday of the month, May through October.

Other history sources include:

Eldridge Historic District: Search for the district’s name at cob.org for photographs and information about historic homes.

Fairhaven Historic District: Search for the district name at cob.org for photos and details about the commercial area.

Fairhavenhistory.com: Website with articles, profiles, photos, maps, videos and more

HistoryLink.org: Search the online encyclopedia of Washington history for numerous articles about Whatcom County.

Whatcom County Historical Society: Website at whatcomhistory.net has articles, videos, details on society publications and more.

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