Bellingham Bay Hotel (1902)
909-911 Harris Avenue
This property was developed by co-owners, Levi N. Griffin (Fairhaven mayor, 1902-04) and Richard H. Diezman (grocer at 1115 Harris Avenue). It is a two-story building with brick exterior built in 1902 according to the Fairhaven Times, October 17, 1902, and referenced as the Griffin-Diezman building.
It was leased as a saloon and lodging house to the Capital Brewing Company, soon to become the Olympia Brewing Company of Tumwater. This was the parent company of the Bellingham Bay Brewery established that same year in the neighboring town of Whatcom. The Anderson & Lind grocery leased the storefront at 911 Harris until moving to the Fairhaven Cash Grocery building at 1206 11th Street in 1908. A succession of mostly restaurants and bars was recorded on the ground floor of this property in the following years.
The top floor was called the Bellingham Bay Hotel with Mrs. Jennie Ruttenbur, proprietress. This floor remained a hotel for several years under various managers into the 1920’s. From 1909-1918, it was known as the Hotel Bacona.
By the 1930’s, the building stood mostly vacant. In 1939, Nicholas Buchinoff, Bellingham Upholstering Company, used the building as an adjunct facility to his main operation at 1201 State Street.
The entire building was purchased in 1972 by Fairhaven developer, Ken Imus, and used for storage for the next thirty years.
The structure was renovated with historic character by Tim Imus of Fairhaven Land Development. Tim, now deceased, was the son of Fairhaven developer Ken Imus. The top floor now houses various professional offices while the ground floor is designed for retail. The Bay to Baker Trading Company occupies the 911 storefront, and the 909 space is the new retail outlet for the Fairhaven Toy Garden.
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