CAPSULE IN TIME
The oldest brick building in the State of Washington is right here in Bellingham. Built as a warehouse during the Fraser Gold Rush in July of 1858, it became the territorial courthouse in 1863, serving in that role until 1888. Built on the beach during that busy time, it housed the early town of Whatcom’s only safe, a jail and several businesses including a pharmacy, a printing press and a church. For over 50 years it was owned by Carl and Nikki Akers who operated a taxidermy there.
Today, the Old Territorial Courthouse, as it is known, is under the wing of the Whatcom County Historical Society. In 2006, the building was the focus of a Save Our History grant. Students from Sehome High School read original court cases that were initially heard in Whatcom County and posted them at Historylink. Students also studied the bricks and community during the early years of the building.
The project received national honors for project manager Janet Oakley and lead teacher Dave Hageman. Securing the grant most likely helped in securing additional funding grants and donations that has upgraded ditching, brickwork and other important preservation projects on the building.
YOU CAN HELP
The courthouse has been restored, but there is still landscaping, a handicap lift to install and future interpretation. You can help in several ways.
BUY A PRINT
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 Caroline Flinkinger to purchase at 360-739-7553.
BUY A BRICK
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.