Learn about the towns of Bellingham
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Learn about the early fishing industry
Learn about the early mining industry
Learn about the early timber industry
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The Early Industry In Bellingham Bay


Howard Buswell Collection:  Center for Pacific NW Studies Western Washington University

Howard Buswell Collection #757.2 Center for Pacific NW Studies, WWU

 Ships collecting coal at Blue Canyon Mine bunkers, ca.1880-1900. Photograph by Dobbs and Fleming.





Fishing

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Hammes Collection:  Center for Pacific NW Studies Western Washington University

Hammes Collection, photo 26,  Center for Pacific NW Studies, WWU

Fishing season ends and young Sherman Mitchell poses nonchalantly in front of nylon net for which his step-father, Don Guthrie, paid $400. Such expensive equipment deserves the best of care and is stored in dry places such as this old barn.

As in many Pacific Northwest fishing communities, European American fishing families farmed or worked in the woods when not fishing. Still, the salmon fisheries constituted a major portion of such family incomes and set the tone for lifeways connected to the water-salt or fresh.


Howard E. Buswell Collection: Center for Pacific NW Studies Western Washington University

Lifting salmon from fish trap, Carlisle Packing Co. 1917. Center for Pacific NW Studies, WWU

The crew of a pot scow inside the spiller emptying the trap manually.

 The canned-salmon industry came comparatively late to Northwest Interior Washington (the area encompassed by current Whatcom, Skagit, Island, and San Juan counties in Washington). When it did arrive in the 1890s, however, its impact was huge. European American fishers took salmon by a number of means in Northwest Interior Washington. Beach seines, purse seines, gillnets, and trolling lines were all common.
     Between the 1890s and the mid-1930s, however, large traps owned by salmon canning companies dominated the waters of Northwest Interior Washington. Before the 1890s, traps were largely experimental, but by 1895 companies operated nearly 50 traps near Point Roberts, Washington, and the San Juan Islands. Companies jealously guarded these locations even setting up "dummy traps" just to claim a particularly rich location and prevent competitors--other companies and Native Americans--from harvesting fish there.


Howard E. Buswell Collection:  Center for Pacific NW Studies Western Washington University

50,000 Sockeye Salmon in the Cannery of the Carlisle Pkg. Co. Photo by Corbett, Center for Pacific NW Studies, WWU

The company traps yielded huge harvests of salmon, especially sockeye salmon that were the mainstay of the Puget Sound commercial salmon fishery.


Howard E. Buswell Collection:  Center for Pacific NW Studies Western Washington University

"Sliming crew, Carlisle Cannery, Lummi Island, Norbert James, John Celestine, Damen Solomon, and others,"Buswell Collection, Center for Pacific NW Studies, WWU

 Canning companies routinely hired Native Americans for the sliming crews, more often women than men. Slimers scraped and cleaned the fish before sending them down the canning line to the hand butchers or automatic butchering machines. While sliming was often the dampest and most dismal work in a cannery, the wages proved an important mainstay for Native Americans. In the 1960s, Norbert James (Sr.) in the white shirt assumed the position of hereditary chief among the Lummi.

Galen Biery Collection:  Center for Pacific NW Studies Western Washington University

"Pacific American Fisheries Plant from above," PAF Collection, Center for Pacific NW Studies, WWU

     The PAF plant was at one point the largest salmon cannery in the world. Puget Sound canneries were among the most mechanized on the Pacific Coast. A local population of workers, Native American and European American, and large runs of sockeye salmon usually of a very consistent size made investments in machinery a good option for canners who sold sockeye as a medium grade of salmon. This view also illustrates how the canneries were part of an industrial waterfront filled with lumber mills and shipping enterprises.

Pacific American Fisheries Collection:  Center for Pacific NW Studies Western Washington University

Female employees at Pacific American Fisheries plant, Bellingham. Undated. Pacific American Fisheries Collection. Center for Pacific NW Studies, WWU

 






Mining

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Gargett Mine (Gold Run Mine) Collection:  Center for Pacific NW Studies Western Washington University

Roy Gargett at the entrance to the Gold Run Mine, ca. 1940. Gargett Mine (Gold Run Mine) Photograph Collection. Center for Pacific NW Studies, WWU











Howard Buswell Collection:  Center for Pacific NW Studies Western Washington University

Howard Buswell Collection #555 Center for Pacific NW Studies, WWU

 Illustration of the Sehome coal mines printed in Harpers magazine, vol. 39, November, 1869.





Bellingham Bay Improvement Company Collection:  Center for Pacific NW Studies Western Washington University

Bellingham Bay Improvement Company Collection, 6-5. Center for Pacific NW Studies, WWU

 Map of Mt. Baker Gold Fields, Whatcom County, Washington, showing the location of mining companies and groups. C.M. Adams, 1902.





P.R. Jeffcott Collection:  Center for Pacific NW Studies Western Washington University

P.R. Jeffcott Collection #402 Center for Pacific NW Studies, WWU

 Pack Train of Mules at Shuksan headed for the Lone Jack Mine, 1900.





Howard Buswell Collection:  Center for Pacific NW Studies Western Washington University

Howard Buswell Collection #856.1 Center for Pacific NW Studies, WWU

     Miners at the mouth of the Blue Canyon coal mine, ca. 1890.







Timber

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Howard Buswell Collection: Center for Pacific NW Studies Western Washington University

Howard Buswell Collection #565 Center for Pacific NW Studies, WWU

     Site of the Roeder-Peabody Mill on Whatcom Creek below the second Pickett Bridge. Water for this mill came down a flume to the power wheel. Ca. 1880-1920.



Galen Biery Collection: Center for Pacific NW Studies Western Washington University

Galen Biery Collection #1443 Center for Pacific NW Studies, WWU

     Loading lumber at Bloedel-Donovan Mill 1935.








Galen Biery Collection: Center for Pacific NW Studies Western Washington University

Galen Biery Collection #1442 Center for Pacific NW Studies, WWU

     Bellingham Bay Improvement Company Mill, 1890.








PR Jeffcott Collection: Center for Pacific NW Studies Western Washington University

PR Jeffcott Collection #200 Center for Pacific NW Studies, WWU

     Old Colony Saw mill at Whatcom in 1889. The mill was located on the edge of the lagoon at the bottom of the last falls on Whatcom Creek, below the bluff on which the Old City Hall stands.


Howard Buswell Collection: Center for Pacific NW Studies Western Washington University

Howard Buswell Collection #566 Photo of Whatcom Falls 1890. Center for Pacific NW Studies, WWU

     A boat belonging to Charles Frank of Judson. The white house is the birthplace of Mrs. James Griffith Stephens nee Huldah Hofercamp and Judge John Kellogg. Ruins on the left bank may be the Roeder-Peabody-Utter mill.

Howard Buswell Collection: Center for Pacific NW Studies Western Washington University

Howard Buswell Collection #527 Center for Pacific NW Studies, WWU

     Eighteen men posing on a stump with logging tools. 1900-1920.











Howard Buswell Collection: Center for Pacific NW Studies Western Washington University

Howard Buswell Collection #746 Center for Pacific NW Studies, WWU

     A Bellingham Cedar Stump, ca.1912.







P.R. Jeffcott Collection: Center for Pacific NW Studies Western Washington University

P.R. Jeffcott Collection #328 Center for Pacific NW Studies, WWU

     H.C. Wells clearing crew, Sehome, ca. 1880-1900. Photography by E A Hegg.




P.R. Jeffcott Collection: Center for Pacific NW Studies Western Washington University

P.R. Jeffcott Collection #335. Center for Pacific NW Studies, WWU

     Three men lean against the cut end of a fir log, just south of Sehome dock.







Railroads

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Bruce Cheever Railroad Photograph Collection:  Center for Pacific NW Studies Western Washington University

Bruce Cheever Railroad Photograph Collection #58.2 Center for Pacific NW Studies, WWU

     Fairhaven & New Whatcom Railroad at its terminus at Silver Beach, Lake Whatcom.





Bruce Cheever Railroad Photograph Collection:  Center for Pacific NW Studies Western Washington University

Bruce Cheever Railroad Photograph Collection #72 Center for Pacific NW Studies, WWU

     Fairhaven & Southern Engine #2 at Happy Valley, 1894.




Bruce Cheever Railroad Photograph Collection:  Center for Pacific NW Studies Western Washington University

Bruce Cheever Railroad Photograph Collection #16 Center for Pacific NW Studies, WWU

     Bellingham Bay & British Columbia Railroad Train on Sehome Wharf, undated.






Galen Biery Collection:  Center for Pacific NW Studies Western Washington University

Galen Biery Collection #459 Center for Pacific NW Studies, WWU

     The Bellingham Bay and British Columbia Railroad, undated (ca. 1880-1910).








Howard Buswell Collection:  Center for Pacific NW Studies Western Washington University

Howard Buswell Collection #2062 Center for Pacific NW Studies, WWU

     Bellingham, looking east along Holly Street towards the intersection with State Street. A trolley is just turning from Holly onto State. On the right is the office of the Evening Herald newspaper. ca. 1900-1920.

Galen Biery Collection:  Center for Pacific NW Studies Western Washington University

Galen Biery Collection #57 Center for Pacific NW Studies, WWU

     Street Car #68 at corner of Dock (now State) and Holly Streets, ca. 1912. Leonard Roman, conductor.





Puget Sound Power and Light Company Records Collection:  Center for Pacific NW Studies Western Washington University

Puget Sound Power and Light Company Records, Center for Pacific NW Studies, WWU

     North towards Tenth Avenue trestle, Bellingham, WA, April 1911.