Lake Padden Park
         and Golf Course

Lake Padden was named for Michael Padden who had moved to the area in 1870 to operate the Bellingham Bay Coal Mine and homesteaded in Happy Valley.  Padden is credited as the "discoverer” of this lake even though it was a site used by the Lummi Indians as a place of contemplation and meditation long before the arrival of the settlers.
 
In 1889, another settler, Will D. Jenkins, platted property on the lake’s southwest shore for a development called Highland Glen.  Lots were to go on sale June 1st, 1889
 
One wonders what became of this development proposal.
 
Howard E Buswell Map 44-4
Center for Pacific Northwest Studies
Western Libraries Heritage Resources
Western Washington University

Michael Padden’s heirs donated the water riights to the town of Fairhaven in 1880 after he was killed by a neighbor over a property line dispute.  Beginning in 1890, water pipes were laid from the lake to the town of Fairhaven by the Fairhaven Water and Power Company.  The City of Bellingham purchased the property in 1925 for $165,900, and the lake continued to be the water source for south Bellingham until 1968.


As of 1965, plans were being formulated to make Lake Padden both a park and a municipal golf course.  The idea of a public golf course had been contemplated since before 1920, but nothing was ever developed.  The Lakeway Golf Course, located on the present site of the Fred Meyer store, was a successful commercial enterprise from 1929 to 1966, and at one time, considered for purchase by the City, but these plans fell through.
 
A bond measure was subsequently proposed to finance both a park and a golf course around Lake Padden in November 1968.  The one million dollar bond was approved by a 60% margin.  Design and construction were soon underway.

The Lake Padden Golf Course was dedicated on July 29, 1971, with the first nine holes occupying 175 acres.  The additional nine holes were opened in March 1972.  Bellingham finally had its municipal golf course.  However, it was not self-sustaining, and in 1981 it was turned over to a private manager.



On August 30, 1972, an additional 220 acres surrounding the lake were dedicated as a new city park.  Local architects, Stradling & Stewart, were responsible for designing the various facilities that are now available within the park boundaries.  The total acreage of the park and golf course comprise 1008 acres of woods, trails, swimming, boating, playfields, dog parks and other recreational amenities.