The Oakland Block was built by Ambrose Cornwall and named in honor of his home town, Oakland, CA. This brick and Chuckanut sandstone building stands just uphill of the famous “Iron Bolt”, which once divided the towns of Whatcom and Sehome.
In 1891, the towns of Whatcom and Sehome merged into New Whatcom. The newly elected City Council moved out of the small County Courthouse, which is now the National Register T.G. Richardson Building (the oldest brick building in the State of Washington), into the brand-new Oakland Block.
A few years later, a new City Hall was built on the bluff over-looking Whatcom Creek, which is now the home of the Museum. The top floors in the vacant Oakland Block became one of the better hotels in town, the Oakland Hotel; while the west end of the building housed several different undertaking companies.
In 2003, the Oakland Block was remodeled and now contains 20 residences above 5 commercial spaces.
For more information see the Oakland Block National Register of Historic Places Nomination.