The YWCA building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in
1976. Seventy years earlier, in 1906, the first Young Women's Christian
Society in Bellingham was initiated. For the first few months the society
met in private homes, after that they rented a room in the public library.
They still struggled for a permanent location after the association's first
project, to create a summer camp at Ramona Park on Lake Whatcom, proved the
society a success.
Eight years later in 1915 the YWCA moved into this gracious brick
building that was given to the organization as a gift from Mrs. Charles X.
Larrabee and her daughter Mary. Local clubs, businesses and individual
citizens donated interior furnishings. At the time, the YWCA had the
distinction of being the only club in Bellingham, Seattle, and Portland to
own their own building.
The large airy rooms and spacious dining room contribute to the excellence
of this three and one half story building. A small swimming pool and a
heating plant are located in the full, concrete faced basement. A hipped
roof tops the red brick exterior with two large brick chimneys at either
The overall style of the YWCA Building is Georgian Revival, a popular
architectural form for public buildings in the early 20th century. Other
distinctive features include the floor to ceiling windows on the first
floor, the entrance porch with white columns, the small eyebrow windows on
the top floor and the decorative brackets under the overhanging eaves.
For more information see the
YWCA Building National Register of Historic Places Nomination.