The Fairhaven Hotel
Once located at 12th Street and Harris Avenue

 

 Fairhaven Hotel Poster 1890
Whatcom Museum Photo Archives 
The Fairhaven Hotel 1890-1956
by Rosamonde Van Miert
 
The Fairhaven Hotel took over five years of local historian, Rosamonde Van Miert's life as she researched and wrote
"The Fairhaven Hotel Journal”, 507 pages long,  published in 1993.  

"The Fairhaven Hotel, symbol of the Imperial City of Fairhaven, was built for $150,000 by entrepreneurs Nelson Bennett and C.X. Larrabee.  Its imperial grandeur may have been inspired by John Ruskin’s Seven Lamps of Architecture, interpreted by architects Longstaff and Black.
 
Their design, with seven decorative rosettes, Flemish gables, classical arches and the harmonious use of red brick and gray Chuckanut sandstone, was further enhanced by the elegant white verandas from which guests could view Bellingham Bay.  The hotel boasted every modern convenience, a hydraulic elevator, gas and electric lights, golden oak furniture with carvings and fanciful brass hardware, carpeting of deep wine Brussels, scenic paintings in wide golden frames, marble-manteled fireplaces, and many rocking chairs and tête-à-têtes for private conversations.  The dining room featured a grand sideboard, elegant dinnerware and serving pieces in silver, inscribed The Fairhaven.  At each place setting menu cards were displayed with designs for the occasion: for Thanksgiving, golden sheaves of wheat; for Christmas, snowy mountain scenes.
 
 The great structure, 100 feet by 100 feet, with one hundred rooms, rose like a phoenix from the Fairhaven wilderness being tamed for the arrival of the Great Northern Railroad with Fairhaven as Terminus. 

 

Alas, the trains never came.


Fairhaven dreams of rapid growth ended with the selection of Seattle as the railroad’s terminus and solidified by the panic of 1893. 
 
Even though the hotel hosted many social gatherings, fraternal conventions and a celebrated visit by Mark Twain in 1895, the financial success of this investment was short-lived.  The hotel closed in December of 1899. 
 
The Larrabee family became the sole occupants of the housekeeping portion of the hotel until the death of C.X. Larrabee in 1914.  In 1916, Mrs. Larrabee and her two younger children moved to their new residence at #1 Hawthorn Road, now Lairmont Manor (405 Fieldston Road).