The son of Bellingham's founder Captain Henry Roeder, Victor Roeder
became one of Bellingham's best-known citizens and businessmen; from 1896 to
1900 he served as Whatcom County treasurer. After his father's death in 1902
Victor Roeder administered the family business and property, and in 1904 he
was one of the founders of the Bellingham National Bank.
Victor Roeder purchased ten lots in the then undeveloped Broadway Park
area of northern Whatcom. He later sold three and used the remaining seven
to build his home, one of the finest in Whatcom County and on both the Local
and National Historic Registry. Beginning in 1903, Roeder meticulously
supervised the work over the home's five-year construction (1903-1908).
The exterior of the first floor is brick and the remaining one and a half
story is stucco. The front and rear entrances are trimmed in Chuckanut
sandstone obtained from the quarry his father began. Roeder used the finest
materials available for the interior. The floors, stairways, banisters, and
wainscoted walls are made from imported oak. Several of the lighting
fixtures are Steuben pieces that were designed for both gas and electrical
use. The Roeder home also incorporates many progressive features such as a
central vacuum pump, an internal fire hose system and a fuel elevator
between the basement and kitchen. A huge boiler acquired from the Great
Northern Railroad originally heated the home.
The plan for the first floor of the Roeder home includes a large living
room, a dining room, the kitchen and a central hallway. A band of an
exquisite artistic scene wraps around the dining room's walls. Five bedrooms
and three bathrooms compose the second floor, and three small bedrooms on
the top floor were intended to be servants quarters.
Alfred Lee, the same architect who designed Old Main and the Whatcom
Museum of History and Art designed the Roeder home. Two similar
architectural styles have been used to describe the Roeder home's stylistic
mixture. The first is Bracketed Gothic and the second is the American Stick
Style that has gothic overtones The projecting eaves with elaborate brackets
underneath are the most prominent Stick Style features of the Roeder home.
The gabled roof, however, is not pitched as steeply as other Stick Style
In 1969 Dr. Donald Keyes, who bought the house from the Roeder family in
1945, dedicated the house to the Whatcom County Parks Department. The Roeder
home remains open to the public and is used for different educational
programs. In 1997 a wheelchair lift was proposed and added to make the house
wheelchair accessible in accordance with the American Disability Act.
For more information see the
Roeder (Victor A.) House National Register of Historic Places Nomination.