THE FAIRHAVEN HOTEL
Here she is in the days of her youth just before completion. She was a majestic landmark in the little village of Fairhaven where I live, in Bellingham, Washington.
She was built in 1890 by a very wealthy Mr. C.X. Larrabee, at the cost of $300,000.
The exterior was conctructed of Fairhaven Sandstone and the interior of California Redwood with mouldings and finishings carved and polished to a satiny gloss. she was furnished with the finest that money could buy.
Here are some food prices of the 1890's. Don't faint!
Fish...$.05 to $.06 cents a pound
Beef...$.10 to $.18 cents a pound
Turkey...$.25 cents a pound
Fresh roll butter... $.30 cents a pound
Vegetables...$.02 to $.03 cents a pound.
Rent at the Fairhaven Hotel in 1891 was $10. to $20. a week.
The basement held the billiard tables, a barber shop, baggage room, bakery, boiler and coal rooms.
The other floors held offices, a reading room, huge dining room, kitchen, two store rooms and a bank.
75 suites, and also parlors.
The room I remember best was on the first floor. It was huge and had no furniture except an old juke box that played records. It was free. That was important in those days when we hunted and saved three tax tokens to trade for a penny to use in the gumball machine. We couldn't have afforded to feed a juke box.
When my cousin Carol and I were little girls, we loved to play the old waltzes on that juke box and dance with one another in huge leaping steps, all over that polished hardwood floor. We were princesses in flowing satin gowns, we were the lovely brides in gauzy white veils. As we danced we believed we were beautiful and we knew our dance was as graceful as a feather floating in the wind.
In truth, we were two klutzy, scrawny, little kids with runny noses, and skinned knees. Our dresses were most likely torn and dirty from making mud pies and our hair a mass of snarls, and we desperately needed a bath.
In it's time, the Hotel was also used as a Sanitarium, Community Center, Boy's Club and later a Boys and girls club.
This magnificent hotel was badly damaged by a fire twice. The first time the top floor of the hotel was removed but the lower floors were made useable again. Then in 1956, after a second fire, she was torn down. I have always wished it could have been restored but apparently the damage was to great.
Time has changed those little girls, and even though we are closing in on seventy, wrinkled,gray and arthritic, sometimes when I hear the Blue Danube or another of those wonderful old waltzes, I am transported back, and once again cousin Carol and I are the lovely princesses dancing in beautiful gowns.
I'm so glad the spirit doesn't acknowledge age
I think someone called this 'progress.'