look around and you can see that Bellingham is an exquisite
place. Made up of nearly two dozen distinct neighborhoods, our
city offers an idyllic locale for every first-time homebuyer, no
matter what their wants and needs.
Bellingham proper dates back to 1903, when four separate
settlements - Whatcom, New Whatcom, Sehome and Fairhaven -
merged to form one city. The area is now made up of a variety of
neighborhoods offering everything from historic ambience to an
Named for the steep rise on which the majority of it
resides, the Alabama Hill neighborhood is predominantly
residential with single-family, detached houses built during the
1960s and 1970s.
The neighborhood offers expansive views of the bay and city,
with houses of predominantly contemporary design (think
split-level, circa 1973) settled on broad, curved streets and
Care is taken to make sure homes are well-maintained and have
Highland Heights, St. Clair and Whatcom Falls Parks are all
located within the boundaries of Alabama Hill.
Bordered by Squalicum Parkway, Meridian, Interstate-5,
Greenwood Avenue and Eldridge, Birchwood is an older north-side
neighborhood that boasts some of the largest lots within
Bellingham city limits - some as much as 400 feet deep.
The neighborhood is a dichotomy of sorts. Historically it has
consisted of older single-family homes with enough open space to
lend a feeling of rural privacy. But the area has also seen a
sprouting of numerous apartment complexes in the area near the
bustling retail district at the intersection of Northwest, W.
Maplewood and Birchwood Avenue.
Birchwood also boasts the Squalicum Creek greenbelt and
private Golf and Country Club.
The Columbia area, contained by Eldridge Avenue, Squalicum
Parkway, Meridian and Broadway is home to the second oldest
neighborhood in Bellingham. This charming section of town is
dominated by single-family homes - the vast majority of which
are between 50 and 100 years old. Houses are well-maintained and
enjoy mature, attractive landscaping, with trees lining many of
the sidewalk-lined streets.
Development in the Columbia neighborhood began in the 1880s,
and many of the larger homes near Elizabeth Park bear historical
plaques that display the name of the original homeowner and the
year the structure was built. Many of the smaller houses in the
northern part of the neighborhood were built for coal miners who
moved to the area to work in a mine just north of Squalicum
Creek in the neighboring Birchwood district.
There are some commercial segments in the Columbia area,
including the Fountain District and some areas of retail and
restaurants in strip mall-like structures.
The Cornwall Park neighborhood derives its name and much of
its charm from the rambling, tree-filled city park snuggled
along the shores of Squalicum Creek.
The district draws much of its character from a plethora of
parks, open spaces and well-maintained, architecturally
interesting homes, including the magnificent Roeder home, built
in 1903 by the grandson of Henry Roeder, one of the city's
The neighborhood is quiet, but enjoys easy access to the
freeway, downtown and other commercial areas.
Other major landmarks include St. Joseph Hospital and
spacious Broadway Park to the south.
Perched above Bellingham Bay just south of Fairhaven,
Edgemoor is made up of contemporary homes - some of the most
luxurious and expensive to be found in Bellingham.
The entire area is made up of single-family dwellings. The
majority of these on the western half of the neighborhood enjoy
large lots and breath-taking views of the bay and San Juan
The northern area of Edgemoor has more recently been
developed with smaller lots.
Clark's Point inhabits the southern section of the district,
a steep forested peninsula that, although it is privately owned,
is maintained as open space. Make the short trip down its foot
path to take in magnificent views of Chuckanut Bay.
Now thought of as a bustling, popular retail district with
historic flair, Fairhaven has seen bad times and good throughout
its long history. Once a thriving fishing, lumber and coal
mining community, this south-side area suffered a downturn after
it failed to become the western end of the line for the Great
Fairhaven is more than just charming shops. Modest older
houses and some new residences surround Donovan Avenue to the
south, while newer condos have cropped up among the commercial
district. There are many rental units within this neighborhood
The ferry terminal and its neighboring Marine Park offer
captivating water views while the industrial uses along the
waterfront add to the neighborhood's whimsy.
The Guide Meridian neighborhood - not to be confused with
the adjacent Meridian area just to its south and east - has seen
more change in recent years than perhaps any other district in
Uses within much of the neighborhood have changed from rural
residential to more manufacturing and warehousing uses. There
has been a growth in mobile home parks, sales outlets, and
retail commercial and office spaces. Many homes have been
demolished or moved, to be replaced by commercial development.
The areas that are not adjacent to busy Meridian Street -
such as McLeod Road, Bakerview Road and Kellogg Road - remain
primarily low-density rural and undeveloped areas.
Bordered by I-5 to the east, Old Fairhaven Parkway to the
west, an irregular line from 14th to 20th streets to the west,
and Bill McDonald Parkway to the north, Happy Valley is made up
of a mixture of single-family homes and apartment complexes. Its
close proximity to Western Washington University has made it a
popular locale for student-occupied housing.
Many early residents of the neighborhood worked in the
Fairhaven Cedar Mill and Salmon Cannery, traveling to their jobs
via a streetcar that connected Happy Valley to Fairhaven's
Today, areas of quiet, undeveloped land remain. Wildlife can
still be seen while strolling through areas of Happy Valley and
views of the Chuckanut Mountains add character to the area.
Joe's Garden is a popular spot for buying fresh produce.
The Lettered Streets mark the oldest neighborhood in
Bellingham, constructed mostly in the 1890s and early 1900s and
established as a middle-class neighborhood. Its Whatcom Creek
waterfall supplied energy for the sawmills that attracted the
first settlers to the area in the 1850s.
This neighborhood is, naturally, designated by street names
made up of letters of the alphabet and is netted by Holly
Street, Broadway, North Street, Cornwall and Whatcom Creek.
In general, the homes in the Lettered Streets are not as
striking as those in the neighboring Columbia area to the west,
but many of them retain a historical charm.
The Meridian neighborhood, formerly part of the Guide
Meridian district, is bounded by Kellogg Road on the north,
Cordata Parkway, Eliza Road, and the eastern edge of Bellis Fair
on the west, I-5 on the south and the city limits on the east.
The area is characterized by an abundance of commercial
development, with Bellis Fair mall as its centerpiece. Guide
Meridian Street sees some of the slowest-moving traffic in
Multi-family residential development is at the periphery of
the neighborhood, with new homes sprouting up in developments
such as Orchard Estates. Continued growth is expected in the
Meridian neighborhood for the foreseeable future, with more
annexations and increased development and redevelopment
The Mount Baker neighborhood spans the busy Sunset Drive,
which has seen expansive growth in recent years both
commercially and residentially.
Single-family homes, apartment complexes, offices, shopping
centers, and industrial undertakings have filled in much of the
open space that marked this part of town since its adoption in
The once semi-rural neighborhood is now bustling with traffic
as consumers are drawn to the commercial areas of Sunset Drive
and nearby Barkley Village.
Puget neighborhood is a large single-family neighborhood
that radiates out from Lakeway Drive just east of I-5. It
includes a large mobile home park, busy commercial district at
Lakeway Center and considerable industrial development along
Whatcom Creek at the north end of the region.
Puget and Toledo Hills inhabit the southern and eastern parts
of the neighborhood, developed with single-family homes on
medium-sized lots. Houses are well-maintained and many have
excellent Bellingham Bay or Canadian Cascade views.
The Puget neighborhood is home to Civic Field, the most
active park and recreation complex in Bellingham, which includes
a public indoor swimming pool, skating rink, small football
stadium, softball fields and playgrounds.
Just south of the Mount Baker neighborhood and due west from
Alabama Hill area, the Roosevelt neighborhood is one of the most
diverse in the city. Land use ranges from single-family
residential to industrial, with concentrations of old and new
housing units whose styles vary from 100-year-old
architecturally interesting structures to modern apartment
The land in the Roosevelt area began being subdivided and
developed as early as 1889, when the western area was platted.
Construction of multi-family units almost doubled between
1987 and 1995.
The neighborhood is home to Roosevelt Park and Pacific Trails
Park, while Whatcom Falls Park borders its southeast corner.
The Samish neighborhood, beginning on the east side of I-5
across from Happy Valley, and continuing west and south to
encompass Lake Padden, is less developed than most areas within
the city limits, although new developments have begun to crop up
in recent years.
Samish Way has historically been a main entrance into the
city and much of its residential area occupies high ground east
of the freeway.
The mix includes a sprinkling of older dwellings from a more
rural past, the Ridgemont subdivision of contemporary
middle-income homes in a suburban setting; and some larger,
recently constructed homes with views on high ground east of
An abundance of recreational outdoor space including popular
Lake Padden Park, make the Samish neighborhood a pleasant,
relaxed place to live.
Sehome is another of Bellingham's oldest neighborhoods,
clinging to the side of majestic Sehome Hill, visible from most
other areas in the city.
The top of the hill is owned by WWU and is largely
undeveloped. It is also home to an arboretum for native plants.
Much of the area is within what was formerly known as Sehome,
before it became part of Bellingham proper.
The neighborhood boasts mostly older homes, many of them
large and architecturally impressive. Mature landscaping
decorates the area. Many of the homes closest to the university
have been converted into student rental housing.
The Silver Beach neighborhood is notable for its wide
variety of ages and styles of housing.
Much of the area, nestled around the northern end of Lake
Whatcom, was divided into small lots long before the suburban
lifestyle was established. Well-landscaped yards and maintained
homes dot the neighborhood. A backdrop of lush green hills
overlook the area.
The lake is Bellingham's source for drinking water and a
popular recreation destination. Bloedel-Donovan Park was once
the site of a lumber mill.
The streets vary greatly in different sections of the
neighborhood, with recent developments enjoying standard streets
with curbs and gutters, while streets in the older residential
areas are narrower and lack improvements.
South Hill is thought to be one of the most prestigious
neighborhoods in Bellingham. Tucked between the University and
Bellingham Bay, the homes are varied in architectural style and
often enjoy stunning views of the bay, San Juan Islands and
Canadian coastal range.
The Ridgeway area, south of the University on the highest
elevations of the hill, has been developed since World War II.
Lots are larger and there are fewer sidewalks in this section of
the neighborhood. New homes continue to be built in this area.
Many of the homes below 17th Street were built in the early
1900s. Nearly each house on South Hill is well-kept and coveted
by professionals who move to the area and are looking for
Boulevard Park is a popular destination for South Hill
residents, coupled with the walking trails that emanate from it.
The Sunnyland neighborhood is marked by Cornwall Avenue on
the west, I-5 on the east, North Street and Ellis Street on the
northwest and the commercial and industrial area adjacent to
Whatcom Creek on the south.
Residential portions of the Sunnyland neighborhood consist of
mostly older two-story homes, with larger lots to the north and
smaller ones to the west. Many homes have been well-maintained,
while others show signs of aging and disrepair. The majority
were built in the 1920s.
Sunnyland residents enjoy Sunnyland Park, the second oldest
park in the city.
The southern portion of the neighborhood is zoned for light
industry, and there has been extensive commercial development
along James Street in recent years.
The Whatcom Falls neighborhood, named for its proximity to
the Whatcom Creek, cascades within wooded Whatcom Falls Park, is
a residential area with suburban character.
The park and sprawling Bayview Cemetery take up much of the
neighborhood real estate north of busy Lakeway Drive. South of
Lakeway is nearly all residential, with mostly newer homes on
Surrounding undeveloped hillside gives the neighborhood some
of its charm, serving as a wooded backdrop. The area also enjoys
views of the surrounding mountains.
The York neighborhood is one of the city's older areas, with
the majority of homes built between 1890 and 1910. Many of the
houses are on the small side and built on lots that are just
slight enough to create a rather high population density. The
neighborhood contains several examples of fine, middle-class
The area is bordered on the north by Whatcom Creek and Meador
Street and on the south by the commercial area along Samish Way.
Ellis, Holly and State Streets mark the western boundary, while
I-5 extends the length of the eastern edge.
Enjoying a close proximity to downtown, the neighborhood is a
convenient and popular place to live for families and university