Waldron Block Renovation


1970s Photo courtesy Ken Imus

Renovation began in the mid-1970’s but wasn’t completed. The Waldron Block was described in 2001 by the Whatcom Watch as a "multi-level eyesore” having sat empty for three decades.  Notice discoloration of the bricks from the 1893 fire in the photo (left).




In 2005 the building was purchased by developer Dave Ebenal. The Bank of Fairhaven’s vault was removed to make way for extensive renovation.


Courtesy City of Bellingham
The building became just a shell of its former self—only three of the Waldron’s original walls were left standing.










Construction was completed in 2008 and "The Waldron” opened as a luxury condominium with prime retail space again on the ground floor.






Frances Waldron Barber attended a celebration at the top floor of her fathers' building in October of 2008.  Unusual that the daughter of Charles Waldron, who was born in 1860, would be in attendance.  Frances was born in 1925 when Charles was 70.   (Charles’ second wife, also named Frances, was in her 20s.) For the very first time, Frances was able to enter the building that her father had built almost 117 years earlier.

 


The late Ty Tillson in front of
 the Bank of Fairhaven's vault in the 1970s

Photo courtesy Whatcom Museum
Gordy Tweit Collection

For the Waldron Block, the saying "Everything Old is New Again” certainly applies. Whidbey Island Bank moved into the corner space in early 2009 and became Heritage Bank.   The original vault used by the Bank of Fairhaven was returned and now decorates the interior.   Unfortunately, banks don't stay long on that corner, starting with the Bank of Fairhaven in 1891.  The building is now empty.



A small stained glass window is located above the door of the corner entrance at 12th and McKenzie. It remains intact, ready to welcome bank customers again as it did in 1891.