The Lettered Streets, located on the waterfront in central Bellingham, date back to the 1850s. At that time, settlers were drawn to the area by the Whatcom Creek Waterfall, which provided energy for the saw mill. Today, residents of the Lettered Streets are attracted by the convenience and charm of the neighborhood.
Located just northwest of Downtown Bellingham, individuals can easily access any part of Bellingham and come home to a simple, quiet neighborhood. Unlike other historical neighborhoods in Bellingham, most of the century-old houses in the Lettered District were renovated in the 1960s. Since then, the neighborhood has continued to evolve. Now, the Lettered Streets contain classic single-family homes, multi-family housing complexes, offices (many in homes), and more.
This housing diversity is mirrored in the population. People from all backgrounds and walks of life live in the area, including young couples, retirees, and students. All residents are proud of the area and take advantage of the many public spaces the Lettered Streets have to offer.
One of these is the Maritime Heritage Park. This park provides a comfortable, well-manicured lawn to picnic, read, or walk your dog. A few times a year, races go right through the Lettered Streets, including the Whatcom Volunteer Center’s “Human Race”, a non-profit fundraiser and run. It also boasts a fish hatchery and an educational facility where visitors can learn about salmon and watch them as they return from Bellingham Bay to Whatcom Creek.
Driving around the Lettered Streets, you are bound to see Whatcom Middle School. “Waste Not Thy Hour” etched above the doorway, the grand, white building reminds you of the fascinating Bellingham history. Though the school is not on the National Historic Register, the Roth Block (1890), Aftermath Clubhouse (1914), and the Great Northern Depot (1927) are on the list. Unity Church (1884), Aker’s Taxidermist (1906), and The Roeder School (1908) are not on the list, but do hold historical significance for Bellingham locals.
The Lettered Streets are fairly stable at 3,000 residents, but are continuing to grow slightly along with the rest of Bellingham. Most of the neighborhood is zoned for multi-family housing. This has encouraged some to convert single-family homes into charming, unique apartments, and the trend is likely to continue in the future.