The first Bellingham connection of the Great Northern Railroad in 1890 crossed the tidal flats of Bellingham bay. After Great Northern filled in the land and relocated the tracks in 1902, they built a brick depot with a wood shingled roof. A little over twenty years later this depot burned down and a single story brick one was constructed in its place.
The passenger station built in 1927 by local architect F. Stanley Piper, who created many other buildings of national historic significance, blends a Spanish tile roof with raised tendrils and Corinthian capitals for ornamentation. Three semicircular arches on the street side entrance, greeted people into the waiting room. The interior of the passenger station included wrought-iron chandeliers hung from a high, beamed ceiling.
Great Northern often used an Indian motif in the design of their buildings, in this Passenger Station the motif can be found along the four wooden girders. The wings off of the waiting room originally held the agent’s office, the baggage and express services and the ladies retiring room.
Great Northern Railroad utilized the station until 1969 at which point Burlington Northern began operating from this site. In the early 1980s this station was still used for passenger service by Amtrak, which now utilizes the terminal in Fairhaven. Currently, this structure houses the switching operations for Burlington Northern’s north district.
For more information see the GNRR Passenger Station National Register of Historic Places Nomination.