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Newspaper clippings re: Interurban, 1906-11
Part 5 of 6-part series

Power is almost ready to transmit
Juice from Nooksack soon to be in City

Within two weeks immense volume of Electric Power will be available in Bellingham
— County is hot in vicinity of Falls

Bellingham Herald, Aug. 29, 1906

(Mount Vernon depot)
      This is the Mount Vernon Interurban depot, circa 1920, located roughly at the northwest corner of Kincaid and First streets. It replaced the former Franklin lighting plant and was in turn replaced by what we long knew as Vaux Pharmacy.

      S.F. Shuffleton, construction engineer of the Columbia Improvement company, returned today from Nooksack falls. He states that within two weeks the "juice" from the new power house will be turned on and Bellingham will have the additional electric power that has been promised for some time.
      He says he never saw so fierce a forest fire as raged along the banks of the Nooksack during the past week. For a time it was thought that the plant of the electric company was in danger, and work was caused for some time as the tunnels became too hot to work in, but the flames finally turned aside and passed by without doing and material damage.
      On account of the heat, and the burning of a couple of hundred feet of wooden pipe the work received a setback of about a week. Water is now being run through the tunnels to cool them off so that the men can begin work again.
      Mr. Shuffleton states at first it was feared that the buildings of the Excelsior Mining company, had been destroyed but an investigation showed that they were untouched. He says that the whole country around Maple Falls is hot and while there is little damage being done, forest fires are burning in all directions and the smoke at times is decidedly oppressive.

Interurban will be considered by
Stone & Webster interests

Bellingham Herald, June. 29, 1906
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      Manager L.H. Bean, of the Whatcom County Railway & Light company, announced today that Stone & Webster will consider soon the feasibility of building interurban lines, or at least one line, connecting Bellingham with some of the towns of the county.
      "We have never yet investigated this proposition," said Mr. Bean this morning, "but we intend to do so in the near future. I cannot say what course the line will take, if we decide to build one, but as Mr. Wyman of Boston is coming here within a few weeks to investigate the feasibility of such a line we shall probably be able to announce plans in the near future. The time has come when the company thinks it advisable to consider the building of extensions into the county."
      It is generally believed that Lynden will be the main objective of the company but it is not know n whether the company will decide to build a direct line or to build by way of Marietta and Ferndale through the Nooksack valley.

New type street cars have arrived
Reveille, Sept. 6, 1910
      Three new cars, larger than any now used on the lines of the Whatcom County Railway and Light Company, have arrived at the barns of the company and will be ready for service probably within a week. Yesterday two of them were used as trailers in carrying the crowds to the Labor Day celebration at the White City [Silver Beach].
      When the cares are wired and equipped for travel, Manager Leslie Coffin plans to put two of them on the mail line, to replace two of the big cars now doing service between Squalicum Creek and Harris Avenue. The two, in turn, will be transferred to the Dock and North Street line in accommodate the crowds that are now taxing the capacity of the smaller cross-town cars on this line. The third new car will be put on the lake line and one car from there will be retired, or be held in reserve for rush hours and special days.

Street railway company leases the Pike block
Offices and waiting rooms of Bellingham-Skagit Interurban
to be installed — portions to be sub-let

American, Sept. 7, 1910
      L.D. Pike, owner of the Pike Block on Elk and Holly streets, has executed a two-year lease on the property to the Whatcom County Pike Block will be the location of the company's offices and of the Bellingham-Skagit interurban depot. Manager Leslie Coffin of the street railway company is now planning certain changes in the building and as soon as they are made will commence moving his offices to the building.
      The block will house the managers, railway superintendents and all other general offices of the railway and light company, the salesroom, the meter and light departments and the trainmens' quarters, the interurban waiting room and ticket office and general offices of that company, and the Stone & Webster Engineering Corporation offices. The whole of the three stories will not, however, be occupied by the Stone & Webster concerns, and the remaining space will be sub-let.
      Manager Coffin was unable to say this morning just how soon the change in quarters will be made. There is no hurry, as the company's lease on its present quarters does not expire for some time.
      Pike had a plan about two months ago to spend $20,000 remodeling the block and to lease it to a hotel company and vaudeville house. No explanation was given when this plan was dropped, but the news of the lease to the Stone & Webster company is generally thought to be the reason for the change in plan.
      The Pike Block is a gray sandstone structure, three stories in height, having frontage of two lots on Elk Street and of a full half block on Holly. It now houses the chamber of commerce, the offices of Swartz & Coulee and the quarters of the defunct Home Security Savings Bank on the first floor, and suites of offices on the second and third stories.

Electric Motor ready for work
Reveille, Aug. 15, 1911
      The big electric motor, built by Stone & Webster of this city for the Bellingham Skagit interurban line, and which has been standing on the Elk Street tracks, has attracted much attention. It will be used for trains running on the Interurban line, taking its power from two overhead wires. Trial trips have demonstration its high traction power.
      Construction of the railroad is progressing rapidly and the company is now erecting the poles for the high power tension lines on Twenty-first street. The company plans to run the first train from Bellingham to Mount Vernon in July of next year.

Stone & Webster buy Mt. Vernon lighting plant
Corporation closes deal for holdings of W.H. Franklin,
paying $36,000 for the property

American, Aug. 18, 1911
      The Mount Vernon Electric Light Company's plant and waterfront property has been purchased by the Seattle-Everett traction Company, a subsidiary of the Stone & Webster interests and was turned over to be managed from the offices of the Whatcom County Railway & Light Company in this city. W.B. Franklin of Mount Vernon, who owned and operated the plant for a number of years, received a consideration of $36,000 from Stone & Webster for the entire holdings and rights of the company. Other than the fact that the transfer had been actually made, no official statement from the local management was obtainable as both superintendent and manager are out of the city.
      Following close upon the transfer of the property came the application of the Bellingham & Skagit Railway Company, the interurban subsidiary, for a new franchise for the light business. Attorney C.W. Howard of this city, counsel for the Bellingham Skagit road, appeared before the Mount Vernon council last Wednesday evening in company with Tom Smith of Mount Vernon, with a proposed ordinance granting a franchise to the company for fifty years.
      The old franchise, under which Mr. Franklin has operated, is still in effect. The council took no action on the proposed new measure other than to read it. It probably will be considered a second time when the council meets next week. Those who have had dealing with the company say it is more than likely that power will be sent to Mount Vernon from the Lake Tapps power plant which Stone & Webster are building between Auburn and Puyallup. This will be one of the largest power plants in the United States.

      Ed. note: We are again grateful for the diligent research of Susan Nahas. who found an article in the Bellingham Herald, March 3, 1924; that is headlined "Old Timers' Speak Roland G. Gamwell and John J. Donovan. The two giants of early Fairhaven and Bellingham industry spoke about "where are they now?" Nowhere else on the web can you find information about Messrs. Coffin and Bean. The article quoted the men saying "that Leslie Coffin is manufacturing building tile at Los Angeles; Louis Bean is manager for Dwight Robinson company, building contractors at New York, a concern which has 400 persons in its office and has an average $50,000,000 in contracts a year."

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