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Skagit River Journal

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Introduction to legends of Daniel J. Harris,
his character and accomplishments
as founder of Fairhaven

By Noel V. Bourasaw, Skagit River Journal of History & Folklore, ©2007
(Dan in his canoe)
Dan Harris alone in his canoe, with the old town of Bellingham/Unionville behind him on the flank of Sehome Hill in this Galen Biery photo. Most of the photos on this page can be seen in Biery's book, Looking Back, The Collector's Edition, or at the Whatcom Museum of History and Art; that website link will direct you to information about how you can see the entire collection by appointment and purchase copies. See information below about Ralph Thacker's new website and booklets about Harris and how to obtain them.

      When we began planning this profile series about Daniel Jefferson Harris, the founder of Fairhaven, Washington Territory, we realized that our quest would be a mighty challenge. Over the decades, the legends have buried most of the facts. Dan has largely become a cartoon character and, aside from a few scholarly attempts, most profiles have followed the old Western dictum: when you are writing about someone colorful, emphasize the legend.
      Mary B. Haight, one of the most important early Whatcom biographers, may have put it best in her Jan. 20, 1918, article in the Bellingham American Reveille:

      Dan Harris was a product of the days he lived in, and we will never see one like him again. His story should have been written by Bret Harte, and his character and habits remind one very strongly of the picturesque and whimsical people which Harte has preserved for us between the covers of his books.
Frank Teck, the Fairhaven Herald editor who wrote a definitive collection of Dan legends and facts in 1903, underscored that point by noting:
      There have been several picturesque characters among the pioneers of Bellingham Bay, but by unanimous report the picturesquest of them all was Daniel J. Harris, the original Fairhaven man. There were robust and solitary frontiersmen of singular habits, but singularest among them was Dan Harris of Harris Bay. There were men who affected outlandish dress and who clad themselves in whatever chanced at sun-up, and the outlandishest of these was Dirty Dan of Harris Creek.
      For this introduction to the Dan Harris section, we tried to boil down the facts into the timeline that we present below. But in this preface we will touch on his character and the elements of his personality that made him into the legend that is annually celebrated in Fairhaven with the Dirty Dan Dan days — April 30 and May 1 in 2011.

Dirty Dan Harris days are scheduled for April 30 and May 1, 2011, in Fairhaven. See our link with details and more links to the full schedule of this festival celebrating the founding of Fairhaven.

      We address first his stature. Most physical descriptions were from his pals who were on site in the early years of the century. They told Frank Teck that Dan "was a robust, muscular, broad-chested fellow, about 5 feet, 11 inches in height and weighting about 200 pounds — physically a splendid specimen of manhood." Hugh Eldridge knew Dan when Hugh was a boy and was taken with the Fairhaven hermit's wild, free spirit, as were most of the boys of the Whatcom villages. Hugh told biographers that Dan's physical stature and stamina were acknowledged by all who lived here. Dan was a sailor from the age of 15 and he knew the oceans as well as he knew Puget Sound. He often sailed his sloop or rowed his rowboat or paddled his canoe all alone against the elements, unlike his contemporary Blanket Bill Jarman who preferred to let his wife, Alice, do the heavy lifting and rowing. Dan's physical stamina was evident, from packing through the wilderness to the gold rush camps of the Fraser River and the Cariboo District of British Columbia; to clearing the Eldridge farm by himself in 1878; to slashing the brush by himself and digging out the Whatcom Road to Lake Whatcom and the Blue Canyon Coal Mines in 1877.
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      If it were not for his odd manner of dress, he might have made young ladies of Bellingham Bay swoon. But Dan was most singular in his sartorial choices and display. Haight painted the picture for us:
      One whole summer [of 1878, not 1872] he worked for Edward Eldridge, and spent the long summer evenings on the beach relating wonderful adventures and sea stories to the fascinated boy, Hugh. In those days his costume, always a conspicuous part of the man, consisted of three items — heavy trousers, a red flannel shirt, always open to expose his hairy chest and heavy "brogans" [heavy, ankle-high work boots]. He wore a grizzly beard and his hair was always long and unkempt. The little girls of the settlement were somewhat afraid of him on account of his rough appearance, but he had always the fascination of mystery for the boys, who used to frequent the haunts he preferred just to hear his tales of travel and adventure, which usually put himself in some ridiculous plight, at which he would laugh more heartily than his hearers.
We emphasize strongly here that the modifier, Dirty Dan, was not applied to Harris until just before or certainly after his death. Some assume from all the legends and myths that he was commonly called such during his lifetime, but author Ralph Thacker has researched the extant print record thoroughly and found the first references as to Dan's lack of sanitary concern to a nickname in Los Angeles as "Grease Pot Dan" and an article in Teck's newspaper as "Dirty Dan" in an article of Oct. 25, 1890, after his death.
      His pals and neighbors in Whatcom County were amused when he changed his costume slightly as various groups of settlers arrived in different periods. Charles Donovan, who came to Bellingham Bay in 1873 as the telegrapher and storekeeper for the Bellingham Coal Company's supply store at Sehome, was quite amused when he met Dan a year later, the day that the old pioneer came to the store and bought a stiff white vest to put on over his red undershirt. That vest got a lot of use over the years, surviving many boilings, as his pals told Haight. She also wrote about Dan's new look when he platted his new town and built his hotel, both occurring in 1883:

      Harris, with his growing prosperity, began to assume the dress and manners beseeming the owner of a growing town, and his costume was most unique. A fine black broadcloth frock coat and trousers liberally besprinkled with spots and stains, to be sure, heavy brogans with no socks and invariably on the red flannel shirt open in the front. This quaint combination was topped off by a high silk hat, and when a boat was seen approaching a white vest was always added Here at every boat landing would stand Dan Harris, his high silk hat tipped well back on his shaggy gray hair, importantly meeting strangers and standing by to give a hand with the hawser [cable or rope used for mooring or towing a boat], despite his semi-clerical garb.
      That will help you understand the caricature of Dan that you see in publications, or during the annual festival or in promotional literature. Did Dan understand that he made a caricature of himself? No, Teck explains; Dan was also singularly unaware of such things: "There wasn't anything really funny about Dan Harris that wasn't regarded in dead earnest by Dan himself. One of his familiars tells me that Dan was one of those serio-comic characters who consider that everybody is against them and never recognize any proof to the contrary." In fact, we wonder if Dan may have been singularly shy about being around people when he arrived on Bellingham Bay in 1853 and for the first decade or so afterwards. His friends told Haight:
      For many years he lived alone in his little cabin quite far removed from the other settlers on the bay, and he supplied his needs mainly with a little garden, and the game he shot, and the fish he caught . . . Harris was rarely invited to a meal with the early settlers, and for the most part he lived all alone and apart from the rest for many years.
      There is no sign that he ever socialized with the original families of the Squalicum area, or even with his friend, Charles Donovan and bride, Sarah Crockett, after 1876. The only social activities mentioned in the papers were those at Dan's hotel after 1884. Teck wrote: "Dan was liberal and good-hearted; consequently he was often imposed upon and not at any time unpopular. . . . he was no simple-minded individual, but had some very good ideas about a number of estimable things." Teck also observed that Dan could be selfless:
      Another incident of Harris, like the real hero, being on deck in the nick of time, mentioned in the preceding article, was his effort to induce Captain Roeder's young Northern Indian to accompany him to the Cariboo country. A few hours later the young Indian was murdered at the Roeder homestead by Chief Telliskanim of the vengeful Nooksacks . . . .It was Dan Harris, who, in 1859, conveyed the news of the Nooksack Indians' exploit at the old brick house in Whatcom, to Major [Granville O.] Haller at Fort Townsend, and the unexpected suddenness of Major Haller's arrival upon the scene of hostilities was no small compliment to Sailor Harris and his speedy sloop.
      Finally, we note that Dan also knew to have fun, sometimes at his own expense and pride. Teck wrote:
      Besides being a record-breaker as an eccentric character, whose big heart, however, seems nearly always to have been in the right place, Dan Harris was particularly proud of his prowess as a jig dancer and some of the ways of the good old days tell strenuous yarns of the keen rivalry alleged to have existed between Edward Connelly [Dan's father-in-law] and Dan Harris over the disputed championship of the Bay country — but, aside, these wags admit that Connelly, who is still genial and hearty at the age of 86, outclassed good old Dan in the more intricate points of the jigging business, Dan Harris required a considerable amount of judicious nagging before he would consent to go through the motions, but when he did get started he danced all over like a house afire.
      As you will read in another Teck story, Dan hosted the first prizefight on his claim in 1860. He also hosted the nation's growing favorite sport; baseball had captured the nation's imagination during the Civil War. Harris heard about the new game someplace on one of his many sailing trips and he decided to host the first baseball game on Bellingham Bay. He invited all his manly friends to his beach in the summer of 1875. "Nobody knew a thing about baseball," Mary B. Haight wrote, "but that did not deter the miners from forming themselves into the Black Diamond Baseball club. The hearty laborers from the Sehome Coal Mine fielded a team called the Black Diamonds and the softer, paler clerks and business owners fielded the Wide-awakes. James A. Power, the editor of the first Bay newspaper, the Bellingham Bay Mail (later the Puget Sound Mail in LaConner) volunteered as umpire and soon regretted it because a dispute arose on nearly every play. Just when the players were almost at each other's throats, Dan rolled out a barrel of spirits and soon the game and the arguments were a thing of the past.

Dan's many accomplishments
(Fairhaven docks)
This detailed 1890 drawing of the Fairhaven docks by an artist named Braunhold shows many details that we do not get elsewhere. You can see the docks that supplemented Dan's small one; the spurs of the Fairhaven & Southern Railway; Dan's Northern Hotel in the center right, with Harris Street running alongside up the hill to the brand new Fairhaven Hotel; the railroad trestle across Harris Bay to the little town of old Bellingham, and the many homes on Sehome Hill that had been erected in the year or so before. From the 1891 Fairhaven Illustrated magazine; click on the photo to see a full-sized version.

      Besides his ability to amass wealth after a poor, humble beginning, Dan's most successful accomplishment was his personal work in helping secure the terminus of the first standard-gauge, common-carrier railroad in the new state of Washington, north of Seattle. By 1886 the investors, businessmen and landowners around Bellingham Bay were frustrated. Two rail lines had been promised but doubts arose about whether the locals would actually see any tracks in and out of town.
      That gave Dan a chance to be a star, one who helped his area recover from a lag in the economy in 1885. Even more important to him personally was the chance to stick his finger in the eyes of the competing Bay towns of Whatcom and Sehome. Two rail lines were loudly promoted north of Fairhaven, one organized by Pierre B. Cornwall and the other by Senator Eugene Canfield of Illinois.
      Cornwall was the president of the Bellingham Bay Coal Co. When he closed the Sehome Coal Mine in 1878, the Bay villages almost dried up and blew away, but by the mid-1880s his engineers were drilling for a new coal seam near Squalicum Creek and Cornwall was promoting his Bellingham Bay & British Columbia Railroad. Work stalled by 1886, however, because the Canadian Pacific Railroad refused to drop its Canadian monopoly and establish a connection with the Cornwall line. His base of Sehome stewed and fretted.
      Within days of Cornwall's announcement of the BB&BC back in 1883, Senator Canfield delivered a stemwinder speech on the 4th of July, in which he announced a competing line, the Bellingham Bay Railroad and Navigation Co., which was a duplicate of Cornwall's, also following the old Telegraph Road up to B.C. Now Whatcom had a line, too, but problems soon arose. First was the rumor that Jay Cooke and Co. was the backer, and that reminded people of how Cooke had caused the original downfall of the Northern Pacific ten years prior and triggered a nationwide Depression. Then Canfield seized tideland property, which raised the ire of Whatcom founder Henry Roeder and he headed to court to halt the tideland-jumping. But worst of all, the BBR&N was undercapitalized. Thus both lines were stalled.
      After he platted his townsite in 1883, Dan was newly wealthy from his lot sales, which he sold at fixed prices and demanded only gold for payment. Lelah Jackson Edson suggested that by 1886 he was the wealthiest of the early pioneers. After his marriage in 1885, Dan and his wife, Bertha, moved south to Los Angeles for the winter of 1886-87. In her 1926 History of Whatcom County, Lottie Roeder Roth wrote that Dan traveled to San Francisco, where he offered railroad magnates one-half of his holdings in Fairhaven if they would place the terminus of a rail line there. Ultimately, as you will learn, it was Nelson Bennett back in Washington who took the bait. Although Bennett was a construction boss for the Northern Pacific, he did not bring that line. Instead he formed his own corporation, the Fairhaven & Southern, in 1888, along with the Fairhaven Land Co. Those companies took Dan up on his offer and he became even wealthier, to the tune of roughly $70,000.
      But that was not Dan's first accomplishment. Harris showed from the beginning how to live frugally and how to be at the right place at the right time, even if sometimes comically so. The first example was his friendship with John Thomas during his first year on Bellingham Bay and the inheritance of Thomas's claim on Padden Creek after his friend's unexpected death in 1854. There was no industry so Dan lived off the land, growing vegetables in his garden near the future Seventh and Harris streets, and the Bay supplied his protein. In the 1917 book by Herbert Hunt and Floyd C. Kaylor, Washington West of the Cascades (S.J. Clarke Publishing Co. Seattle), they wrote:

      "Harris made a trip to Olympia and a friend of his there presented him with two pigs. He did not know what to do with them, but taking them back home with him, he turned them out to rustle for themselves. They grew fat and Harris was at a loss to know how the trick was done until he found them on the tide flats digging clams. This gave him an idea and he followed the pigs as they followed the receding tide. They would dig out two clams and Harris at once appropriate one for his own use, treating the pigs fairly, he explained, by never taking more than he could use between tides . . . . [Dan] located at what afterwards became Fairhaven many years before the coming of [Nelson] Bennett and his Fairhaven Land Company, and in reply to a question from Bennett, [Dan] said that 'at first he did not know how he was going to find stuff enough to live on, but that when the tide went out the table was set.' "
      When the Fraser River Gold Rush of 1858 attracted thousands of gold-seekers who camped out on Squalicum Beach while awaiting passage to British Columbia, Dan began his smuggling career. He ferried passengers over to Victoria and on the way back, he hauled contraband whiskey, clothes and any other items that could be sold on the Whatcom black market. During the Civil War the economy lagged again and Dan went back to his little farm and garden, and occasionally led pack trains to the miners in the Cariboo district of B.C. In the 1870s, smuggling once again become profitable and Dan once again launched his sloop. Mary B. Haight wrote that during the War, whiskey sold for 50 cents a gallon, but by the '70s the price ranged from $3-6 per gallon.
      Dan's other major accomplishment was launching the townsite itself and Haight wrote about how that also had its comic side. Will Jenkins and others led the Kansas Colony to Roeder's Whatcom village, starting in 1881, where they built a mill and a long dock out over the Bay from the Squalicum Flats. That led to considerable wrangling over the Squalicum waterfront property and "riparian rights." Dan never thought too well of Whatcom, so he suggested to the newcomers, "Why don't they come over and buy my property? I'll give them my Hungarian rights!"
      Charles Independence Roth came to Bellingham Bay as a young lawyer in 1882, married Henry Roeder's lovely daughter, Lottie, on Sept. 16, 1885, and took over management of Henry's Chuckanut Quarry in 1888. Dan decided to plat his townsite of "Fair Haven on Harris Bay" on Jan. 2, 1883, and Dan hired Roth to do the legal work. Roth likely regretted the association immediately. When Dan mused over selecting a name, Roth opened his big mouth and suggested that Dan could benefit from Whatcom's recent publicity by calling Fairhaven "an addition to Whatcom." Haight describes the rage that followed:

      "Whatcom? Do you know what Whatcom is? It's an ignus fat you-wus-wus (Chinook Jargon), that's what it is. Do you what that means? It means, 'now you've got your hand on it and now you haven't.' It means, 'it's always comin' and never comes!' " [Journal Ed. note: either Haight or Harris was creative with the Jargon or that phrase is a typo because it does not appear in any Jargon dictionary.]
      One final note about fun in early Fairhaven: no matter how much fun the legend is, no one ever rolled Dan's hotel piano into the Bay. When last seen in the late 1890s, the old music box was slowly rotting away alongside the road to Whatcom, where Dan dumped it after Nelson Bennett refused to pay extra for it during his purchase of the townsite in 1888. You can read about the details of the piano and the hotel in one of Frank Teck's accompanying stories.

Timeline of Dan Harris and Fairhaven
1826 or 1831 or 1832Dan born Southampton, Suffolk County, Long Island, New York by consensus. Other claimed towns: Bridgehampton, Patchogue, Sag Harbor, all nearby, conflict between land affidavits, census and memory of Harris friend, James H. Taylor. We prefer 1832, as does Thacker.
@1841-52 sometimeVarious sources, with wildly varying timeline, claim Harris shipped out as early as age 15 as sailor at Sag Harbor, New York, sails on whaling ship. China and Japan by 1850, then Hawaii, Alaska and Victoria, B.C. The early years of this range seem exaggerated.
1848William "Blanket Bill" Jarman camps out at Whatcom Falls and Squalicum Creek with Indian band, quickly moves on to Olympic Peninsula and future Port Townsend
@1850-1851According to his brother, George Harris, Dan deserted the ship, Levant, Master Mercator Cooper, while in Hawaii, eventual passage back to Victoria, B.C.
1852 @OctWilliam R. Pattle, James Morrison, John Thomas stake claims north to from present Boulevard to about Padden Creek. Union Coal Co. buys northern part, starts village of Unionville
1852 Dec 15Henry Roeder and Russell V. Peabody arrive at Whatcom Falls and decide to build mill there
1853 May 23Hugh and Teresa Eldridge arrive on the Bay from San Francisco
1853Dan settles on what will become Harris Bay, made friends with John Thomas who took donation claim in January 1853 at later-Fairhaven. They built log cabin at future 7th and Harris near Padden Creek
1854 AprilAlonzo M. Poe surveys early Whatcom plat containing Eldridge, Roeder and Peabody claims
1854 MayJohn Thomas dies on claim. First Whatcom settler funeral. Dan finished cabin, lived there
1855 FebMaurice O'Connor claims land on the hill east of Thomas/Harris claim. Same year, Dan files for donation land claim on land originally settled by John Thomas; granted in 1868 & 1871.
1855Marks the beginning of Dan's legal problems, as sells "spirituous liquor" to Indians, an official no-no in Washington Territory, which is widely practiced. Scrapes continue through 1867 for this offense and smuggling. (See Thacker for details)
Mid-late 1850sRigged large sloop, traded all inland waterways, unmolested by Indians from Puyallup to Nootka Sound during 55-56 Indian wars.
1858 MayPeak of influx of @10,000 argonauts to what is now Squalicum Flats, camping out on way to Fraser River gold rush in British Columbia
1858During Fraser River gold rush he sold whiskey to miners, ferried them on his scow to Victoria
1859Indians intercepted, tapped barrel, set him adrift naked, then he spiked barrel, made the same Semiahmoos sick
1859When Nooksack Indians launched a raid on the old brick Courthouse in Whatcom in order to release an Indian jailed in connection with a white settler, Dan sailed his sloop to alert Major Granville O. Haller at Fort Townsend, and Major Haller quickly responded with troops on the S.S. Massachusetts gunship
1860Dan hosts first area prizefight on the sand spit on his claim. Tom Sheldon, knocked out by unknown
1860Dan packs supplies to Cariboo Gold Rush in B.C.
1861After 7 years in court, Thomas property sold to Harris "without publication in order to save expenses to the heirs."
1861Bought 43 acres from Americus N. Poe from west boundary of Harris at 7th Street out to waterfront (Poe's Point, later known as Deadman's Point)
1861Dan made enough to sail to San Francisco, went to Salt Lake City, bought 700 sheep, many died on way to CA, more died on freighter to Sehome, more drown upon arrival here; he traded surviving 22 sheep for cayuses for new pack team
1862Sold four acres at Poe's Point to Whatcom County for cemetery, 1888 discovered wrong lots sold
1867Whatcom County Sheriff James Kavanaugh notes in diary that Dan, "a hardened thief," was bailed out of prison by John Davis and Capt. Roeder. And that Sam Brown gave Dan "a beating." (Thacker)
(Park Drive)
      This beautiful early photo of the street called Park Drive, which led into Fairhaven in a quieter, more peaceful time, was featured in the 1891 Fairhaven Illustrated magazine. Click on the photo above to see the full-sized beautiful photograph by an unnamed artist. Magazine from the Bourasaw collection.

1870Title finally cleared for Poe acreage, which had been included by original owner Alonzo M. Poe in sale in 1858 of 310 acres to Arthur A. Denny
1870 to 1873Dan Harris and Harry McCue partners in logging camp at mouth of Padden Creek
1871Patent for Thomas land issued to Harris
1871 May 16Seattle interests plat Unionville north of Fairhaven
1873Michael Padden claims land east of hill in Happy Valley, east to Lake Padden. His land borders O'Connor claim and Padden's future father-in-law, Edward Connelly
1874, Jan. 10James Powers's new Bellingham Bay Mail newspaper reported that Dan is preparing to lay out a new town at Harris Bay, mile below Bellingham Bay Coal Co. wharf. If successful, he will build a $50,000 sawmill. (Thacker)
1874 July 4Dan's fashion statement; buys stiff white vest to wear over his red undershirt. Seller: Charles Donovan, telegrapher at Bellingham Coal Company store in Sehome who becomes one of his champions. Thacker cites this year as when Dan first envisioned townsite on his claim. And it was also the year his cabin, a "short distance from Sehome," burned to the ground.
1875Dan cleared trail alone from Sehome to Lake Whatcom for new Blue Canyon coal mine. (Conflict: Teck on April 25, 1903, cited 1877; Thacker cites 1875 from the actual newspaper citation)
1878 MarchDan pack train with oxen to Cariboo Mining District BC
1878Dan Clears Edward Eldridge farm north of Squalicum Creek, paid in cattle
1880 March 6Happy Valley neighbor Michael Padden killed by neighbor's child
1880Dan drove cattle to Ruby Creek gold rush camp via old Fraser River trail and down Skagit River, returned 100 miles with all but one because miners broke
1882 MarchPeak of new settlers on Bellingham Bay, including Kansas Colony
1883 Jan 2Dan platted Fair Haven on Harris Bay
1883 April 24Eldridge and Bartlett plat Unionville as Bellingham, north of Fairhaven
1883 June 29Dan painted new Fairhaven Hotel (later the Northern) erected at northeast corner of 4th & Harris, leased building to James Weed for 3 years. Weed broke the lease later that year after Dan accused Weed of stealing
1883Dan sold $32,000 worth of lots, spent $16,000 on Fairhaven wharf north of his hotel
1883Dan sets aside his shipyard reserve as two blocks, between 3rd and 4th streets from McKenzie Avenue to deep water, but aside from his dock, nothing else done
1883 March 4On President Cleveland's Inauguration Day, James H. Taylor and local Democrats install largest flag and flagpole in U.S. in stop at east end of Dan's hotel
1884 June 4Grand opening for Dan's hotel. Mr. & Mrs. Charles Miller resident managers
1884This year marks end of Dan's promotion of lot sales until 1889 (Thacker)
1885First Fairhaven boom collapses, Dan loans money for interest income
1885 Jan. 23Dan wrote letter to nephew Benjamin Franklin Harris, told him that there are 134 acres in his town site, which were being platted into town lots for sale. He still owned his hotel.
    (Journal Ed. note: this letter and the one below from 1889 were discovered by author Thacker, when he conducted extensive research in court records for his Harris publications, the first of which was published in 2007. Thacker then transcribed the letters and waded through Harris's unique grammar and syntax, quite a chore. Dean Kahn, columnist for the Bellingham Herald, published both letters on Dec. 22, 2007, but due to the redesign of the Herald website, the articles are no longer available. Therefore we have scanned Thacker's translation-transcript of each. For this letter, see. We will provide links to the Kahn columns when they are again available.)
1885 March 4Dan and James H. Taylor and Democrat friends hoist the biggest flagpole and flag in the U.S. at his hotel
1885 Oct 16Daniel Jefferson Harris marries Bertha Wasmer at his Fairhaven Hotel
1886Thacker discovered in his research that Mrs. Harris filed for divorce, citing verbal abuse and physical threats
1886-87 WinterThe Harrises winter in Los Angeles for health reasons, buys house on Girard Street
1887 JuneDan comes back to Fairhaven for the summer, returns to Los Angeles in the fall
1888 SpringDan returns to Fairhaven for the last time
1888 SummerDan sells his land to Nelson Bennett, et al, and the Fairhaven Land Co., 1 piece to Nelson Bennett for $50,000 and another to Charles X. Larrabee for $25,000. When Bennett won't pay for Dan's hotel piano, he abandons it on road to Whatcom
1888 Nov 18Bertha died in Los Angeles
1888 Nov 26FLC incorporated in Fairhaven
1889 May 11Nelson Bennett and FLC files amended plat of Fairhaven; within year adds part of old Morrison and Pattle plats north of town except for old Bellingham property sold in early 1890
1889 May 16Dan wrote letter from Los Angeles to nephew Benjamin Franklin Harris, saying that he was ill. He said he owned property in San Bernardino County, in Clearwater, and on Adams Street, near where Dr. Andrew W. Shorb lived. He said he still owned 25 acres in Fairhaven, which we have not yet verified. (Journal Ed. note: For this letter, see.)
1889 JulyDan returns to Fairhaven to collect balance of his townsite sale proceeds. Leaves in August or September to Los Angeles for last time. Lives in apartment on 413 S. Spring St.
1889 Dec 24Bennett and Larrabee's Fairhaven & Southern RR opens between Fairhaven and Old Sedro, two years after Dan subscribed $3,000 to Bellingham Bay Railway and Navigation Co.'s competing rail line. (See this Journal website.)
1889-90More than two dozen hotels and boarding houses open in Fairhaven to house the exploding influx of boomers
1890 May-JulyDr. Andrew S. Shorb and wife Martha mysteriously transfer Dan's funds to their name
1890 JulyCourt later determines that Dan "was not of sound mind" that summer
1890 Aug 18Dan dies in Los Angeles "dropsy of the heart" One claim of Aug. 17
1890 Sep 15New Fairhaven Hotel opens at northeast corner of Harris and 12th Street
1890 FallDan's old hotel renamed "Great Northern," apparently because of the Great Northern tracks running a half block away. The lot in 2007 is the site of present Amtrak depot.
1890 Dec 26James Wardner's First National Bank opens in new Fairhaven Hotel
1891 OctDan descendants win suit against Dr. Shorb and wife in Los Angeles for bilking Dan of his fortune
1891-2Dan's old hotel renamed "Old Fairhaven"
1892 Dec 10Nephew Benjamin F. Harris, redeems Harris lots sold at tax sale in 1891
1893Dan's old hotel renamed again to "Northern Hotel", possibly because of the proprietary name of the railroad. Name painted on front of 3rd story, Rates $1.25 day
1893 SummerAppeal by Dr. Shorb in Los Angeles decided in his favor, reversing funds to be repaid
1894 Feb 10Owner of nearby St. Louis Hotel buys the Northern, reopens as boarding house for Chinese laborers
1895 Oct 255 of Dan's Fairhaven lots valued in 1892 at $23,500 clear probate court, auctioned for $900 cash, result of nationwide Depression
1904Dan's old Fairhaven Hotel "fast falling into decay" moved to 5th & Larrabee, demolished in 1910
1906Pacific American Fisheries plants flower garden on old hotel site, "the first factory to inaugurate civic improvement work," according to Rosamonde Van Miert in Settlers, Structures & Ships of Bellingham Bay.

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(bullet) Our newest 2011 sponsor: Plumeria Bay, based in Birdsview, your source for the finest down comforters, pillows, featherbeds & duvet covers and bed linens. Order directly from their website and learn more.
(bullet) Oliver-Hammer Clothes Shop at 817 Metcalf Street in downtown Sedro-Woolley, 90 years continually in business.
(bullet) Peace and quiet at the Alpine RV Park, just north of Marblemount on Hwy 20, day, week or month, perfect for hunting or fishing, doubling in size for RVs and camping in 2011.
Park your RV or pitch a tent by the Skagit River, just a short drive from Winthrop or Sedro-Woolley
(bullet) Joy's Sedro-Woolley Bakery-Cafe at 823 Metcalf Street in downtown Sedro-Woolley.
(bullet) Check out Sedro-Woolley First section for links to all stories and reasons to shop here first
or make this your destination on your visit or vacation.
(bullet) Are you looking to buy or sell a historic property, business or residence?
We may be able to assist. Email us for details.

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