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, 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.


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