Fairhaven's Hidden Historic Map

Behind a wall at the Fire House Performing Arts Center there is a large map of early Bellingham.  The map was created sometime after the 1927 opening of Fire Station #2  and updated until the early 1960s.
 
Measuring 11 feet by 11 feet, it is painted on the concrete wall of the former garage that housed the fire engine.  When the building was remodeled by Matt Christman as a performing arts center,  the map was covered by wall sections that had been installed with hinges.
 


 Photo by Debby Meyers
   
Matt Christman pointing to location of the Firehouse 
 
 Whatcom Museum Photo Archives



The firehouse map depicts the locations of fire hydrants and vacated roads in Fairhaven and Bellingham.  In earlier days, similar maps were installed at the other fire stations.   One of these maps was in the former Bellingham Fire Department, now Syre Center and home to the Whatcom Museum Photo archives.  Photo Archivist Jeff Jewell believes that this map is the only one that still remains today. 
 
The painter of this original map in unknown.  Firefighter Ken Reimers updated it in the 1950s.    
 
Matt Christman, former owner of the Firehouse, called it a time capsule.   It is indeed  a snapshot of Bellingham before the early 1960s and the construction of Interstate 5.  The Interstate would be completed in 1966.
 



 
Donovan Avenue is shown as a straight route from 4th Street to 34th Street -- an early view of the Fairhaven and Happy Valley neighborhoods.  
 
In 1987, Old Fairhaven Parkway took over much of Donovan Avenue and a detour was created at 10th Street to move traffic down to Harris Avenue, and away from the Fairhaven residential neighborhood.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

  
  Photo by Debby Meyers 

Donovan Avenue (3rd street from bottom of photo) is shown before construction of Old Fairhaven Parkway



South route to Seattle via Chuckanut Drive
Photo by Debby Meyers



The Edgemoor Neighborhood is visible on the map, just below Fairhaven.   The words "To Seattle" along Chuckanut Drive (Pacific Highway) is another reminder the map predates the opening of Interstate 5 when Chuckanut Drive was the only option to and from Seattle by automobile. 
 
 
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5/13/20



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