Marine Park

Marine Park is a 1.9 acre park near the Bellingham Cruise Terminal and Fairhaven Shipyard. It is owned and managed by the Port of Bellingham.
 
A newly-renovated picnic shelter attracts a multitude of outdoor gatherings, and because of the park’s orientation, it has become a popular spot for watching glorious sunsets. 
 
This point of land has a rich history in the settlement and development of the town of Fairhaven. In 1853, Alonzo M. Poe filed a donation land claim on this property and built a cabin on top of a mound of glacial till some 80 to 90 feet high. This property became known as Poe’s Point.

An Indian raid on Whidbey Island in 1857 unsettled the local inhabitants on Bellingham Bay, and they stationed two men as lookouts on top of Poe’s Point. According to the story, the men imbibed a fair amount of whiskey, fell asleep and became victims of the marauding Northern Indians. This point of land hence became known as "Deadman’s Point”.

After moving to Olympia in 1858, Alonzo Poe deeded his property to his brother, Americus Poe. Dirty Dan Harris purchased 43 acres of Poe’s property that was immediately adjacent to his own land. He sold off part of the property to the County for a cemetery. The point then acquired a new name, "Graveyard Point”.
 
When Nelson Bennett arrived in Fairhaven and began development of the town in 1888, he purchased the property from Dan Harris and leveled part of the point in order to create a viable waterfront. In 1889, Bennett removed eleven feet of the hill and used it to fill in along the waterfront.
 
An early map showing various names of the point including Poe's Point, Deadman's Point and Graveyard Point
Galen Biery Papers Map #4-2
Center for Pacific Northwest Studies
Western Libraries Heritage Resources , Western Washington University

In 1902, additional land was graded to make way for the tracks of the Great Northern Railway. The property was purchased from Bennett’s Fairhaven Land Company, and by 1904 the local newspapers referred to this area as "Commercial Point”.  This 1916 photo is clearing of the point in 1916 for the expansion of Pacific American Fisheries.

Today, a sign at the entrance of Marine Park, erected by the Port of Bellingham, designates the site as "Post Point” and parenthetically, "Poe’s Point”. The historical "Post Point”, however, lies some three hundred yards south and refers to a tall white post erected as a navigational aid warning mariners of a dangerous shoal near shore. A red bell buoy replaced the white post, but marine charts still refer to it as "Post Point Buoy”.

There was never much of a beach at Marine Park until 2004 when the Port of Bellingham partnered with the State Department of Natural Resources to create a soft shore beach that would attract visitors and provide for storm protection and habitat restoration. This is now the termination point of Bellingham’s annual Ski to Sea race.

In 2009, the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association awarded Marine Park its Best Restored Beach Award.  

Return to Parks