Whatcom County Historical Society (WCHS)







Upcoming Programs & Events for 2016-17

January 19, 2017


Wes Gannaway on early area historical anecdotes and photographs. Wes has been conducting research on local history since the mid-80s. His interest was originally on the use of the Chuckanut Sandstone as a building stone, and has gone on from there. He has co-authored 4 books on the history of Whatcom County and is working on three more. Using his extensive personal collection of old photographs and some from the State Archives and the Whatcom Museum collections, Wes will be talking about the first saw mills, the Mt. Baker Gold rush, and various scenes and buildings around the County.

February 9, 2017



The history of Bellingham Bay, Whatcom County, and their towns is well documented, but how did early pioneers get food on the table? What exactly did these newcomers eat? How were things preserved? From kitchen technology, shopping to food prep-aration and preservation, historian and educator Janet Oakley will talk on mid-19th-century foodways in Whatcom County.


Janet Oakley has been camping around a fire since she could walk, but an eleven-year stint with the Bellingham School District out in the woods introduced her to cooking with Dutch ovens over a fire and making butter from scratch. For the past twenty years, she has demonstrated 19th-century foodways for the San Juan Island National Park. A fifth grader once called her the Butter Queen and she’s fine with that.



March 9, 2017


Josh Stilts on his newly published book “Whatcom Fish Tales” about the local commercial fishing industry.


Joshua Stilts grew up in Bellingham the son of a commercial fisher. After graduating from Western Washington University with a degree in journalism, Stilts wrote for the Northwest Business Monthly and then for several newspapers in New England. He returned to the Northwest to write about the U.S. fishing industry, and was a reporter for a Bellevue newspaper.


Stilts described his book as the first overview of the history of commercial fishing in the county for a general audience. His book is more than a personal memoir or a fishing company profile, but less than an academic history on the subject.




April 13, 2017


Edradine Hovde on the restoration of the Pickett House.


More than 150 years after the Battle of Gettysburg, the Pickett House still sits quietly, humble yet proud. Once it stood alone enjoying a great view of Bellingham Bay and the San Juan Islands. Now, the little house is crowded in among office buildings, houses and apartments atop Bellingham’s Peabody Hill.


On the second Sunday of every month, Whatcom Chapter 5 of the Daughters of the Pioneers of Washington opens the Pickett House to the public. It is the oldest building in town and the oldest documented wooden building still sitting on its original site in Washington State. You can also tour the Pickett House by appointment.



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