Fairhaven Cash Grocery (1891)

1204-1206 11th Street

1905 Rembrant Studios Photo 
Courtesy Whatcom Museum Photo Archives
A prime example of profits made on property sales during Fairhaven’s boom in 1890 is this lot purchased from the Fairhaven Land Company by John B. Pearce for $2,500. That same day, October 14, 1890, Pearce sold the property for $12,000 to Orange F. Smith of Hot Springs, Arkansas.

A one-story building was soon erected and opened on April 29, 1891, as the Mayer-Smith Grocery Company, featuring "a large stock of staple and fancy groceries” according to the May 6, 1891 Fairhaven Herald. Subsequent proprietors involved in the grocery trade were C.B. Willyard from 1901-1905, followed by Anderson & Lind who moved from 911 Harris Avenue. Frank Lind and his brother, Helmuth, became sole proprietors of Lind Brothers Fairhaven Cash Grocery until purchased in 1919 by J. Clyde Campbell and Knute Brotnov.

In 1904, the north half of this building was taken over by Adams & Co. Hardware and, in 1915, became Andrew H. Dahl’s business in dry goods, boots and shoes.

The grocery business was acquired in 1923 by Brown & Cole and managed by Campbell. Credit was then offered to customers, many of whom were Slavonian fishermen whose families had begun populating Bellingham’s southside. In 1947, Brown & Cole sold this branch of their operations to Campbell and Purley Atkins who operated as Fairhaven Grocery until 1972. 

The building was then purchased by Ken Imus of Jacaranda Development Corporation and extensively remodeled. A second story was added, the exterior renovated with new shop windows installed along original lines, and the basement cleared of debris.

Village Books, a Fairhaven icon, was opened here in 1980.  In 1985, they expanded next door to the Knights of Pythias building and occupied both the ground floor and the basement, sharing the space with the Colophon Café. The bookstore owners, Chuck and Dee Robinson, built a new structure on the corner abutting the north side of the Grocery building in 2004.   After building a new structure on the corner of 11th and Mill Avenue, Village Books now operates in its new location.  Their sister company, Paper Dreams, occupies the former Fairhaven Cash Grocery building and is now connected to the adjacent bookstore.

The basement of the Grocery building is also connected to Village Books, providing additional space and a place to host their numerous author events.



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