Chuckanut Motors (1919)

1112-1114 Harris Avenue; 1300-1304 12th Street
Southwest Corner 12th and Harris
 Whatcom Museum Photo Archives #1996.1.2488
In 1919, a one-story structure with basement and a wood truss roof with arched profile and clerestory end windows was constructed on the southwest corner of 12th and Harris to house Kulshan Motor Company, an automobile dealership and garage. The new era of auto tourism had arrived in Bellingham with the completion of State Highway 99, known as the Pacific Highway, and the paving of scenic Chuckanut Drive. Several other auto service businesses were established at this time, taking advantage of the tourist traffic along 12th Street.


The Kulshan Motor Company was purchased in 1924 by George and Mike Monson and renamed Chuckanut Motor Company with a focus on auto repair rather than sales. The Hudson-Essex dealership of Kulshan was taken over by P.L. Donovan (son of J.J. Donovan) and moved to his dealership in downtown Bellingham.  Chuckanut Motors continued under the ownership of the Monson brothers until 1960 when Clarence Lockhart and then Willard Fayette assumed ownership.
In the 1970’s, the building was purchased by Clifford and Phyllis McKee who renovated the building for a restaurant and shops and named the building Finnegan’s Alley in honor of Fairhaven pharmacist, George Finnegan, who was also an investor in the original Kulshan Motor Company. Finnegan’s Alley also includes the area of shops just to the west of this building.
Gallery West has occupied the corner since 1972. A gift shop, the Wicker Basket opened at 1302 12th Street in 1973. In 1976, the Fairhaven Restaurant opened in the basement at 1114 Harris Avenue. As of 2016, Gallery West is still in business.  Blue Horizon boutique occupies 1302 12th Street along with Fairhaven Gold, and a restaurant, Whiskey’s Burger Bistro, completes the south portion of the building facing 12th Street.