About E.M. Day


The name of this building honors Edwin Mahlon Day, an early and important tenant in the building.   E.M. Day was born and raised in Illinois. According to Lottie Roth’s "History of Whatcom County”, when he was 18 he joined the 146th Illinois Infantry, becoming Corporal just a few days later. Of note, his regiment had charge of guarding President Lincoln’s funeral.

A man of many talents, Day was a highly respected attorney, justice of the peace and notary but also an accomplished journalist and publisher. He moved to booming Fairhaven in time to publish the 1890-91 Fairhaven Directory and assist with the special 1890 Holiday Edition of the Fairhaven Herald newspaper. The Herald printed 30,000 copies of this 24-page, special holiday edition which boasted of the future prosperity of Western Washington, in particular the Focal City (Fairhaven). One column began "Transplanted among the Arabian Night’s tale, the story of Fairhaven’s growth would not have lacked for interested listeners.” Among the many advertisements was this one: "Opportunities to Become Millionaires Generally.” Optimism was running high.
E. M. Day’s interest in publishing goes back to his family roots. A paternal relative, Stephen Day, printed "Bay Psalms” in 1640, and is considered the first publisher in America. By 1893 he had founded Imperial City News, Fairhaven News, Whatcom News and Washington Resources. A 1901-1902 directory lists the Daily Reveille at this 1211 11th Street address.


The 1905 photo of the E.M. Day Building shows Mr. Day standing in front of his office. He shared the building with R.G. Brown, a real estate agent, the mustached gentlemen on the left.
Mr. Day’s business interests were extensive, mostly operating in this location. He was an officer of the Day Clay Company, the Alger Oil and Mineral Company, the Britton Gold Mining Company, and the Whatcom-Skagit Interurban Railway. According to Jeff Jewell, Photo Historian at the Whatcom Museum, Day was an early booster of the Bellingham-Skagit interurban streetcar line with his office in the E. M. Day Building serving as headquarters for that campaign. Although it was Stone & Webster, a big electrical engineering firm out of Boston, and its local manager, Louis Bean, who should be credited for building the interurban line, it was Mr. Day, and boosters like him, who showed there was community support (and money) for such a massive capital-intensive project.

 1905 Rembrant Studio Photo
 Whatom Museum PHoto Archives


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