Ken Imus, right
with son, Brad Imus
The late Ken Imus, was born in Bellingham. He joined the Navy during World War II and returned afterwards to open an auto body shop across from the Leopold Hotel. In 1948 he married Barbara Quinby. (The name Quinby is affixed to the top of the building occupied by Jalapeno's Mexican Grill, which was built by Ken.) In 1949, he and Barbara moved to San Jose, California where Ken enjoyed great success developing automotive dealerships in California, Texas and Hawaii.
Imus started his first Fairhaven project in 1972. At that time, Fairhaven was referred to as a "Hippie Haven” full of many historic, but rundown buildings. During the 1970s he bought up many of the buildings and lots.
His first renovation was the Mason Block at 12th and Harris which Ken fondly calls "Barbara's Building" for his wife who encouraged him to buy the dilapidated structure.
| Artist Lanny Little |
Ken and his wife Barbara in an old Model T on the Village Green Mural!
Brian Griffin Oral History: Ken Imus: Fairhaven Revitalizer
Recorded in 2006, Brian Griffin interviews a hometown boy who went to California, made a fortune and came home to resurrect Fairhaven. Ken and his family have owned most of the historic village at one time or another, built many of the new buildings and been responsible for much of its renaissance.
This oral history is part of the Brian Griffin Oral History Series. A DVD of the entire interview can be found at the Whatcom Museum Photo Archives, Center for Pacific Northwest Studies (CPNWS) and the Bellingham Public Library.
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