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The Historic Pacific Highway
in Washington

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Pickett Bridge in Bellingham

George Pickett arrived by ship on August 26, 1856 to find about thirty skittish settlers crowding into the stockades and blockhouses at night.

Pickett and his men quickly set to work building a post on a site selected and surveyed by the army months before, located on a bluff about eighty feet above the sea, Fort Bellingham eventually included two blockhouses, an officers’ mess, a soldiers’ barracks, a blacksmithy, a settlers’ store, a hospital, laundress houses, and a garden. 

The men cleared a field for drilling and installed a seventy-foot flag mast. Pickett anticipated the wooden structures were capable of lasting ten or fifteen years’ with only occasional repairs.

Soldiers also began cutting a road connecting Bellingham Bay with Fort Steilacoom and building a bridge over Whatcom Creek.

2011 map

1900 and 1919

Looking south

Looking south


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