The YWCA building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. Seventy years earlier, in 1906, the first Young Women’s Christian Society in Bellingham was initiated. For the first few months the society met in private homes, after that they rented a room in the public library. They still struggled for a permanent location after the association’s first project, to create a summer camp at Ramona Park on Lake Whatcom, proved the society a success.
Eight years later in 1915 the YWCA moved into this gracious brick building that was given to the organization as a gift from Mrs. Charles X. Larrabee and her daughter Mary. Local clubs, businesses and individual citizens donated interior furnishings. At the time, the YWCA had the distinction of being the only club in Bellingham, Seattle, and Portland to own their own building.
The large airy rooms and spacious dining room contribute to the excellence of this three and one half story building. A small swimming pool and a heating plant are located in the full, concrete faced basement. A hipped roof tops the red brick exterior with two large brick chimneys at either end.
The overall style of the YWCA Building is Georgian Revival, a popular architectural form for public buildings in the early 20th century. Other distinctive features include the floor to ceiling windows on the first floor, the entrance porch with white columns, the small eyebrow windows on the top floor and the decorative brackets under the overhanging eaves.
For more information see the YWCA Building National Register of Historic Places Nomination.