The courthouse has been restored, but our most pressing need is a handicap lift to install and future interpretation.  You can help in several ways.

For the lift, a donation as small as $10.00 could help. If we got a  1000 people to donate, we could match the money to get the lift purchased and the final installation.  Before the lift, we can’t have public programming.  And we want you to see the beautiful insides and plans we have for educational tours and school workshops.

You can also:


First, by purchasing a print of the Ann Parry by well-known maritime artist Steve Mayo.  Based on research in local and national archives it details the Ann Parry unloading bricks.  Call Rick Tremaine to purchase at (360) 734- 7381


Purchase brick to be placed on a future walk way on the side of the building. Remember a family member or a time in history with a simple inscription. Bricks are $50.00.  The back is all ready for installation once we get the lift.


Territorial Courthouse Gets Spruced Up

Things are starting to really happen at the old Whatcom Territorial Courthouse on E Street.  After years of work on the outside, the ditching and  brickwork are done and lower level open for the public to see the original placement of the building on what was the beach in Old Whatcom.

Floors and Plumbing

On the upper level, where court was once held, the old maple floor was removed.  It took four volunteers, including Rick Tremaine, Glenn Eastwood and Rick Kiene, about 6 hours to take up all the flooring and expose the fir boards beneath.  The excess was hauled away a few days later. The downstairs floor was fired up from the cement to allow for the fir flooring to be layed.

Upstairs and downstairs, the walls have been framed. New plumbing and lighting will provide an atmosphere of comfort the building hasn’t seen in years.  The building is now nearly 152 years old, the oldest brick building in the state. Its restoration is an important effort to promote our area’s history and preserve a special time in it.


On the outside, plans are for a brick pathway on the Holly Street side of the building 60 feet long by 4 feet wide. Interested people can purchase a brick for $50.00 from the Whatcom Historical Society. All monies go for the restoration.

Tune in for more updates on the building’s progress.

Ann Parry Arrives on the West Coast December 31, 1849

History has its way of getting lost and then found again. Part of the Save Our History project (Whatcom Territorial Courthouse Project 2006-2007) was to find out more about the bricks in the old brick building downtown Bellingham.  This led to the discovery of a long misspelled name of the bark that brought the bricks.  The “Ann Perry” was actually the ANN PARRY, a famous whaler and merchant ship out of Portsmouth, New Hampshire,  a shipbuilding center since Colonial Days.  After a long life across the seas to Liverpool, Zanzibar and Lahaina, Maui, she was sold in 1848 to investors in Salem MA and outfitted for the California Gold Rush.

A 150th Year Celebration

This December 31th will mark the 160th anniversary of her arrival in San Francisco.  After a voyage of  over 100+ (62 days from Valpariso to San Francisco alone), she anchored in San Francisco Bay, the last ship to arrive in the year 1849.  She  became a storeship for a few years under a new owner who was also from Salem.  A recent archival find shows her at last entering the coastal trade in December of 1857.  Her assignment was Bellingham Bay, possibly for the Bellignham Bay Coal Mine.


In 2008 , for the 150th anniversary of the Whatcom Territorial Courthouse, maritime artist Steve Mayo, painted a beautiful rendition of the ANN PARRY unloading the bricks. The original painting and prints are for sale. (See Whatcom Territorial Project tab for details). Buying a print will be a great way to celebrate the end of this year and projecting hope for 2010 as she did when she first arrived in San Francisco.  She is now a part of our local history.  Follow as it continues to unfold.