South Neighborhood
by Ruth Baacke
 
 Fairhaven Park
Center for Pacific Northwest Studies
 
The South Neighborhood stretches from Fairhaven Parkway on the north, to Inspiration Point (milepost 18) on Chuckanut Drive and the city limits on the south (hence the neighborhood name).  Its eastern boundary is I-5; Chuckanut Drive forms its western boundary until it reaches Chuckanut Village and Woodstock Farm, both of which are included in this neighborhood. 
 
 Due to its topography, there has always been a limited amount of developable land in this neighborhood.  Chuckanut Mountain rises from Chuckanut Creek in the southern part of the neighborhood.  There are several hilly, heavily wooded areas south of Fairhaven Parkway and along the Interurban Trail, as well as marsh areas, Padden Creek, Chuckanut Creek and Hoag Pond, all of which contribute to the rural character of the neighborhood.  Its only multifamily residential area is along Fairhaven Parkway where there are apartment complexes, a retirement community, a nursing home and also a small commercial area at 30th Street.  Single family homes, mostly modest ranch houses and craftsman bungalows of varying ages, on large lots predominate; several have horses.  Three log homes on California Street date from the early 1900’s and are all that remain of an early logging camp.  There are a few pockets of newer, larger homes built in the last 10-15 years.


Of particular interest in this neighborhood is Woodstock Farm. Established in 1905 by Cyrus Gates, civic leader, financier, and partner of C.X. Larrabee, it was purchased by the city of Bellingham in 2004 from the Lee family who bought it from the Gates family in 1944.  Woodstock Farm is a 16 acre site with several buildings: a large 7 bedroom Craftsman home where the Gates family lived, a smaller craftsman bungalow (the cook’s house), a gardener’s cottage, a barn and a chicken house, all of which are architecturally interesting.  South of the main house is a lovely bluff and Inspiration Point which the city plans to restore as a viewpoint. The Woodstock Farm site also includes an ancient Native American midden that is being excavated and researched by archaeology faculty and students from WWU under Lummi supervision. 
 
Three significant parks are part of the South Neighborhood.  Fairhaven Park is 16 acres on land donated in 1906 by C.X. Larrabee and designed, at Larrabee’s expense, by John C. Olmsted, nephew and adopted son of Frederick Law Olmsted designer of NYC’s Central Park.  Padden Creek runs through Fairhaven Park and it has 2 pavilions; in the early days of the automobile, it contained an auto camp and more recently a rose garden with a gardener’s cottage that became a youth hostel and now is the Center for Local Reliance.  In contrast to manicured Fairhaven Park is Arroyo Park, established in 1923 on 38 acres donated by Cyrus Gates.  Chuckanut Creek runs through Arroyo Park that has been left wild except for trails, including the Interurban that bisects the park over the creek. 
 
The newest addition to the parks in this neighborhood is the Chuckanut Community Forest Park (sometimes called the 100 Acre Wood) adjacent to Fairhaven Park to the south.  This property was purchased by the city with money from the Greenways Fund which will be reimbursed by a tax levy of property owners in the vicinity.  Originally intended for a large residential development, citizens united to oppose this project and eventually were successful in retaining this area for park purposes. 
 
Historically, both the Interurban Trolley and Great Northern Railroad traversed the South Neighborhood on their routes south out of Whatcom County.  These provided residents with access to Fairhaven and downtown Bellingham.  Today the main arterials are Fairhaven Parkway, Chuckanut Drive, Old Samish Road, and 30th/32nd Street, a narrow, hilly road with poor sight distance.  
 
 
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