Fort Bellingham

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Fort Bellingham (1856-1860) - Built by U.S. Army Captain George E. Pickett (Cullum 1330) and Company D of the 9th U.S. Infantry out of Fort Steilacoom. Construction started 26 Aug 1856 on a bluff overlooking Bellingham Bay, Whatcom County, Washington. The fort was built to prevent attacks by Indians from Canada and the Russian territory on the bayside villages of Fairhaven, Sehome and Whatcom. Abandoned in 1860.

Fort Bellingham Blockhouse (University of Washington Archive)
Fort Bellingham Plan, National Archives

Description

In his report of December 1858 Inspector General Joseph K.F. Mansfield wrote, “The Barracks, storehouses & officers quarters, are within an enclosed square, of about 80 yards the side. The fort is made of pallisades set in the ground, loopholed for musketry and flanked by two Blockhouses two stories high, pierced for mountain howitzers and loopholed: and is provided with 3 gates ... All the buildings are one story. The buildings were wood framed. Barracks had a mess hall, & kitchen, & bakery attached, and was ample."

The fort was abandoned on 28 Apr 1860 and the troops were removed to American Camp by the steamer Massachusetts.

Current Status

Only traces of the fort remain today but the private house in Whatcom that housed Captain George E. Pickett and his Indian wife is preserved at 910 Bancroft Street. Fort Bellingham was located about 3 1/2 miles west of the Pickett house on a parcel now occupied by the greenhouses of Smith's Gardens off Marine Drive. The fort was largely dismantled and moved to American Camp on San Juan Island during the "Pig War".


Location: Bellingham Bay and Watcom Creek, Bellingham, Whatcom County, Washington

Maps & Images

Lat: 48.778571 Long: -122.55104

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