Black and white photo of a building on fire with smoke rising and a hillside with homes around it

The Fairhaven Hotel

November 13, 2021 - March 20, 2022; Old City Hall

Curated by Jeff Jewell, Historian and Photo Archivist

In 1890, the Fairhaven Hotel embodied the posh sophistication that the booming City of Fairhaven eagerly wished to project. This was what the rising metropolis would look like! Yet, with the collapse of the economy in 1893, the hotel soon symbolized Fairhaven’s failed dreams, and worse, false promises. Modernization efforts eventually stripped away its whimsical charm, rendering it a no-nonsense “business block.” Historical photographs will follow the hotel from glorious beginning to smoldering ruin, displayed in Old City Hall along with surviving hotel treasures curated from the Museum’s collection.


The Whatcom Museum acknowledges that we gather on the traditional territory of the Lhaq’temish – Lummi People – and the Nuxwsá7aq – Nooksack People – who have lived in the Coast Salish region from time immemorial. The Museum honors our relationship with all of our Coast Salish neighbors and our shared responsibilities to their homeland where we all reside today.