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History Links

Whatcom County has many groups and institutions that are helping people discover its history.

Lynden Pioneer Museum
The Lynden Heritage Foundation is the preeminent center of history and heritage in Northern Whatcom County. It is the place people come first to discover and link themselves to the heritage of Whatcom County communities.

Guide to Researching Local Houses and Buildings

City of Bellingham Self-Guided Historic Tours
Experience the evolution of downtown Bellingham through historic photographs by taking a "Desktop Tour" from your computer or tablet device.

Bellingham Public Library -- Local History Collection
The Library has a special collection of materials relating to the history of Whatcom County. Topics include: logging, Lummi Indians, railroads, and the Pacific American Fisheries. The Library also has a special collection of materials relating to genealogy. Print resource topics include: how to get started doing genealogy research, family histories, census and court records, tax lists, land claims, and cemetery records.

Bellingham Railway Museum
The Bellingham Railway Museum provides the community with an accessible and enjoyable link to railroad heritage, history and operations. It is located at 1320 Commercial Street and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 12 to 5 pm or by special appointment.

Center for Pacific Northwest Studies
The CPNWS collections include private papers, organizational and institutional records documenting economic, social, cultural and political trends significant to the Pacific Northwest.  The Center is located in the Goltz-Murray Archives Building at 808 25th Street on the Western Washington University campus.  Hours are Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to Noon and 1pm to 4:30 pm.

The free on-line encyclopedia of Washington State History. A quick search for Bellingham or Whatcom provides many interesting historical articles.

Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society
The Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society, along with other members of the Pacific Northwest Maritime Heritage Council and the maritime news website. Three Sheets Northwest, have jointly launched the Northwest Maritime Heritage site at this location. The on-line resource allows users to quickly find all of the region's historic ships, lighthouses, maritime museums, archives and events to help them explore the region’s nautical past.

Skagit River Journal
The Journal of history and folklore covers British Columbia to the Puget Sound and covers Whatcom and other counties. Skagit River Journalwas founded by Noel Bourasaw.

SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention
The Spark Museum offers an exciting and educational experience for audiences of all ages. Compelling, interactive exhibits spanning four centuries of scientific achievement and cultural heritage are featured in a world-class collection of unique objects. The Spark Museum displays the inventions and innovations that changed the course of human history. It is located at 1312 Bay Street and is open Wednesday to Sunday, 11 am to 5 pm.

Washington State Archives, Northwest Regional Branch
The Northwest Regional Branch provides archival and records management services to local government agencies in Whatcom County and throughout Clallam, Island, Jefferson, San Juan, Skagit, and Snohomish counties. The Archives are located in the Goltz-Murray Archives Building with the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies at 808 25th Street on the Western Washington University campus. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to Noon and 1pm to 4:30pm.

Whatcom Genealogical Society
WGS is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to the advancement of genealogical research and the preservation of local records necessary to the research. Much of the local research is made available to the public through books, Flash-Drives, and online on the Whatcom County GenWeb site. There are 8 meetings a year (Feb.-June, Sept.-Nov.) at which research help is available to those attending. Meetings are held on the second Monday of the month from 2pm-4pm at the Ferndale Pavilion, 2007 Cherry St., Ferndale, WA.

Whatcom Museum Photo Archives and Collections
Thousands of researchers access the Whatcom Museum's Photo Archives each year, with searches that range from tracing family history to compiling material for books or films to a host of academic pursuits. The Museum Photo Collection includes objects that reflect the richness and diversity of Pacific Northwest history from post-settlement to the present day. Located at the Syre Education Center at 201 Prospect Street, the Photo Archives are open to the public Monday through Friday from 1pm to 5pm.

Nooksack Valley Nostalgia
A local history blog by Deborah Morgan billed as "A virtual museum covering the history of Sumas, Nooksack and Everson in Whatcom County, Washington." This blog contains many photographs and artifacts dating back to the early days of the area with historical information about each.

Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation
Washington State's primary agency with knowledge and expertise in historic preservation. The website provides a wealth of information on historic preservation and a peek at Washington's irreplaceable historic and cultural resources.

Washington Trust for Historic Preservation
The Trust was established in 1976 and works diligently with those citizens that would like to renovate an historic home, have concerns about endangered buildings in their community, or participate with a nonprofit organization that works to save local landmarks.

National Trust for Historic Preservation
This Trust is interested in saving places that matter to all of us across the county, as well as provide necessary support to local preservation groups and entire communities that are fighting to preserve the places that tell the stories of our history. The website provides many stories of the work they have done and are currently doing to preserve history across America.

National Register of Historic Places
This website provides the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation.

Preservation Directory
This website is the online resource for historic preservation, building restoration and cultural resource management in the United States and Canada.

Lanny Little videos
Lanny Little is a Bellingham muralist and videographer who has documented many local historical scenes, renovation, etc.

Bellingham History with The Good Time Girls
Guided walking history tours of Bellingham, Wash. Also Historical research for hire by local historian and co-owner of GTG, Kolby LaBree.

Janette Gomes Presentation:  "Washington State Regional Archives"
Presentation given on February 11, 2021

Other State Historical Groups

The State of Washington is rich with historical societies, museums, and groups dedicated to preserving and presenting the heritage of our state.

Below are links to many of these. Click on each to explore the plethora of opportunities to learn more about regional history.If you know of an organization or group that is not represented on this page, please contact the Webmaster so we can include them.