By 1890, Fairhaven was a thriving city. The boom busted, however, when Seattle was chosen as the terminus and the national Panic of 1893 and subsequent changes to liquor laws during Prohibition caused Fairhaven’s vitality to wane.
During the 20th century Fairhaven’s deep-water frontage proved ideal for manufacturing because of its access to coal and timber. Its lumber and shingle mills and large salmon cannery were among the area’s prime industries.
After WWII Fairhaven’s population declined when business and industry shifted to downtown Bellingham.
In the early 1970s Fairhaven experienced a renaissance and 1977 was designated as a National Historic District. The village includes 17 historic buildings built between 1888 and 1929.
What remains today of Fiarhaven’s once-thriving commercial center is a relatively small core, but our community derives a strong sense of identity from our history.