The oldest surviving commercial structure on the south side of Bellingham is
Fairhaven's Terminal Building built in 1888. One source claims it was named after the
town's desire to become the end stop of the Great Northern Railroad and
another says it was named by the owner in 1930 as a reference to where two
electric street passenger railways intersected. The two-story wood frame
building was erected in 1888, and the following year the south and west
sides of the building were covered with bricks that came to the town in
ships from the Orient.
When Fairhaven was not selected as the Great Northern Railroad's terminus
hard times followed. Despite the fluctuation in Fairhaven's economic
condition, the Terminal Building has almost always been occupied. The
original building design intended the first floor to be used for two
commercial spaces and the second floor for living quarters. During
Fairhaven's heyday the 1101 commercial space was occupied by the Sideboard
Saloon and barbershop, owned by Dennis Butler. Next door to them, in 1103,
was a cigar store combined with a billiard parlor.
The Sideboard Saloon lasted until 1914 and was then replaced by a grocery
store owned by William Hapner. Once a real estate office, the small office
to the rear of 1101 was also the headquarters for a proposed electric
railway connecting Whatcom and Skagit Counties that was never created.
The Terminal Building has been restored very closely to its 1889
appearance. The first floor of the building's Harris Avenue facade is wood
painted gray with red trim, the second floor facade is brick. A new
foundation was constructed in 1973 to stop a visible sag in the second floor
windows caused by settling. At that time the brick facing was also cleaned,
the broken windows were re-glazed and the cornice was painted. Tony's
Coffee's and Tea Inc has inhabited the Terminal Building, on the State
Historic Registry, since 1971 regularly investing in its maintenance.
For more information see the
Terminal Building National Register of Historic Places Nomination.