Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Fairhaven Sunset

fairhaven sunset, originally uploaded by seawallrunner.

Last weekend I went for a run near Chuckanut WA. Claire and I ran 11 miles (2,000 feet of elevation gain) then jumped back into the car, visited REI for a quick browse (maps for me) then drove down Highway 20 to connect to the Mountain Loop highway.

A beautiful day - the sun was playing peek-a-boo with the clouds, with nary a drop of rain.

The Pacific Northwest is rich with history - gold rushes, mining claims, years of logging... then other industries appeared, people moved away, and these older pursuits - and older towns - became abandoned.

People move on, and leave behind small towns - reducing some of these to ghost-town status (if they ever had a name at all).

Meanwhile, other areas thrive - in the early 1900s, the towns of Fairhaven and Whatcom merged to become Bellingham.

During the last two weekends I've visited a few far-flung small towns: Skookumchuck in BC, Concrete and Oso in WA state. Here are only three small towns with memories of former grandeur. How many more there are! With histories that may go silent if no one take cares to record them.

Some towns are taking action - Bellingham is actively restoring its historic Fairhaven buildings, with real estate prices rising swiftly and angry letters to local papers about 'condofication'. An evening stroll through Fairhaven reveals old buildings from the late 1800s, lovingly restored and put to good use.

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