Superman never made any money for saving the world from Solomon Grundy

Monday, January 2, 2017

Where the (restrained) action is

So, Coco and I have been 16 months in Bellingham, the City of Subdued Excitement (which has manifested as a category on this blog,  replacing Jet City as the label for local news.) And while Seattle has a typical boring municipal flag, Bham has a cool flag:

From the sort-of official description:
The two stars on the flag represent the the two coastal Salish tribes - Lummi and Nooksack - while the three wavy lines stand for "noisy waters," the translation of "Whatcom" from Chief Whatcom of the Nooksack. When the flag is flown vertically, these wavy lines also become a depiction of Whatcom Falls. The four green stripes represent the four original towns of Bellingham: Whatcom, Sehome, Bellingham, and Fairhaven. The blue half circle symbolizes Bellingham Bay, which unites the four towns.
It's those four towns that interest me the most. Here's what they looked like in 1889:

We live in the south, right about the F in Fairhaven; my college is due north across the bay, where the word Eldridge is. You can see that my daily commute, whatever mode of transport, is basically a tour of the original towns.

Here's how the towns grew and consolidated between 1889 and 1922:

And here's a comparison between the original city and modern Bellingham:

Now, here's what I have discovered: with only a few exceptions, the coolest stuff in Bellingham is found within the boundaries of the four original towns, or at least within the original city limits.

In that space, mostly between the bay and I-5, we find the funkiest restaurants, the grooviest bookstores (more on which soon), the art house movie theater, the independent businesses, and, of course, the establishments (such as the Bellingham Herald newspaper) that have been around since the early days of settlement.

Further out than that, you have the Red Robin, the Barnes & Noble, the cineplex, the mall, the big box stores, and the suburbs.

I know where my subdued excitement lives, and I hope to share my experience with you over the coming year.

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