Special Reports

A brief who's who of Bellingham folk

Whatcom County has been home to numerous people of historic importance and interest. Here's some of them:

Biery took many photos of historical events and collected hundreds of photos made by others. He and Dorothy Koert collaborated on "Looking Back," a two-volume history of Whatcom County that family members are republishing this year in one volume.

In 1898, she and her husband traveled to Europe, where she studied music in Germany and Denmark. She debuted as a violinist in Copenhagen, and performed in New York on her return to America.

Back home, she organized and conducted the Bellingham Symphony Orchestra, and became famous throughout the United States and Europe as the only woman holding such a position.

Hegg became well known as a pioneer photographer of Bellingham Bay and the 1880s boomtown, but gained real fame as the first photographer to document the 1896 gold rush in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon. His most famous picture depicts the grueling 3,600-foot-high Chilkoot Pass, across which gold seekers struggled in search of a dream.

Her most famous poem, "Four-Leaf Clover," written in 1890, reads, in part: I know a place where the sun is like gold And the cherry blooms burst with snow, And down underneath is the loveliest nook, Where the Four-Leaf clovers grow. One leaf is for hope, and one for faith And one is for love, you know, And God put another in for luck - If you search you will find where they grow.

Hearing of an unencumbered waterfall, they landed at Whatcom Creek on Dec. 15, and had a mill up and running there the next year. Fire destroyed the mill in 1873, but Roeder later convinced a utopian colony to move from Kansas and rebuild the mill.

Active in local politics and economic development, Roeder was the first person to build a large vessel in Bellingham Bay. He also operated a Chuckanut sandstone quarry and sold land for a coal mine.

A faculty member starting in 1939, he left Western twice, once to serve on Gen. Douglas MacArthur's staff during World War II, once as an education consultant to the Ford Foundation.

He returned to Western in 1962 and was interim president in 1964-65. In 1985, when he retired, he was the first person to receive the distinguished educator award given by Western's School of Education.