Ken Imus
1926 - 2007

 In 1975-76, long-time resident, George Hunsby, wrote two small volumes of recollections and anecdotes of Fairhaven events and characters that he entitled, "The Birth, Death, and Resurrection of Fairhaven”.  He chronicles the "birth” of Fairhaven with sketches of Nelson Bennett, J.J. Donovan, C.X. Larrabee and other not-so-famous colorful figures of the early years of the 1900s.  The decline, or "death”, of Fairhaven during subsequent economic downturns is illustrated in photos by its many rundown buildings and weed-infested vacant lots scattered throughout the district.  Hunsby then writes of the arrival of a developer who would lead the transformation, or "resurrection”, of this area and breathe new life into the land and the historic buildings.


Ken Imus was born in Bellingham and graduated from Bellingham High School.  During World War II he joined the Navy (as did Fairhaven pharmacist, Gordy Tweit) and was assigned to a leaky boat that stayed in dry dock for repairs for much of the war.  He returned safely to Bellingham and opened an auto body shop across from the downtown Leopold Hotel.

 In 1948, Imus married Barbara Quinby (note the name of the building at 1007 Harris  Avenue built by Imus and currently occupied by Jalapeno’s Mexican Grill).

The Imuses left Bellingham in 1949, and Ken took a job with a Ford dealership in San Jose, California.  This was the beginning of his future business success developing automotive dealerships in various areas of California, Texas and Hawaii.

 
 1970s Photo Mason Block
 

During a visit to Bellingham in the late 1960s, the Imuses drove by the Mason Block at 12th and Harris, which was a prime example of the many historic but rundown buildings in this "Hippie Haven” of Bellingham. Encouraged by his wife to purchase it, Ken bought the building a year and a half later for $150,000 and proceeded with the renovations that resulted in the opening of the "Marketplace”, housing several boutiques and an upscale restaurant. Hoping to improve property values and attract investment, Imus purchased other buildings and vacant lots for clean-up and renovation and thus began influencing the revival of the entire district.

This was not a popular development among many local inhabitants who preferred the funk to the flash, and Imus was even hanged in effigy at one point.  Another property owned by Imus was the McEvoy Oil property just north of Fairhaven that he would sell years later on the condition that a first-rate hotel be built there.  This is now the award-winning Chrysalis Inn and Spa at the top of Taylor Avenue Dock.

On March 19, 2017, Ken Imus, age 90, passed away peacefully at home in Bellingham.  His death was preceded by this wife of 67 years, Barbara.
 
More information on his life and passing can be found on the Fairhaven.com blog here.
1970s photo of Ken Imus in front of the Mason Block
and the 1890s "Dapper Man"

Ken and his wife Barbara in an old Model T on the Village Green Mural.

   

   
 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.  
 
 
 
   
 

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