Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Blake Angelos at the Bellwether

Blake Angelos at the Bellwether

It is a typical Tuesday night at the Bellwether: Blake Angelos is playing an achingly beautiful interpretation of the jazz standard, "I'm Through With Love". Accompanying him is bassist, Rene Worst, and his usual partner in jazz, drummer Julian MacDonough. It is one of those happy instances of music here in Bellingham where you feel privileged and fortunate to be in the audience. Here in the richly appointed lounge, listening to the Blake Angelos play through the standards, you know you have found a hidden gem in the weekly music scene.

Blake has been in Bellingham for over 14 years, playing solo or as The Blake Angelos Trio. Recently, he has been performing at the Whatcom Jazz Music Arts Center. He has also performed and recorded with local singer Havilah Rand among others. He tells me, ""Jud Sherwood has me on some of his concerts as well with his Jazz Project which continues to be a great program for jazz musicians in Bellingham.  I have one coming up with him in the fall with a great vocalist from Seattle named Gail Pettis with my friend and great bassist Jeff Johnson. Just think - we have two vibrant nonprofits for creative music in Bellingham.  How cool is that?  I also regularly play with my great friend, vocalist Rane Nogales."

He tells me that one of the challenges of playing jazz regularly is to find a way to make it accessible to everyone. "It's a great gift to have the opportunity to play solo piano as much as I do and I don't take that for granted. I am always adding new songs to my repertoire from jazz standards to classic pop like the Beatles, and more contemporary stuff Radiohead, Soundgarden, David Bowie, Peter Gabriel." Regardless of the song, there is always a lovely subtlety, a quiet complexity, to Blake's playing: jazz runs curling back into blues voicings that just break the heart.

I ask him about his early experiences with jazz. "My Dad played lots of music like Duke Ellington, Count Basie, the Mills Brothers, so I grew up listening to the music but growing up in Billings, Montana wasn't super conducive to studying jazz. I did take piano lessons, played and sang in rock bands and was in choir in high school but I really started playing jazz when I went to college in Wyoming and studied with the jazz band director there, a great educator named Neil Hansen."

It was at Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming that Blake says, "that is where I first really dove into jazz." In between semesters of studying music theory and composition, he played in the summers with a trio at Glacier National Park. He adds, "the cool thing about Northwest College is its right next to Yellowstone Park and attracts lots of people who retire and move out there. One of the guys who retired was a swinging drummer named Ronnie Bedford who moved out to Wyoming from NYC.  He was really instrumental in hipping me to lots of music and the stylistic elements of Jazz."

He moved to Seattle in the early 90s. "I was working in a music store there and played a lot of gigs with a bunch of Seattle jazz artists for a few years." In 1994, Blake started working for Yamaha. He says, "I found the Yamaha work really engaging and fun and decided to leave college, moved back to Seattle, worked at Microsoft for about a year and a half, then became full time with Yamaha where I have been ever since.  All this time I have played and studied jazz primarily but really everything else as well. My job at Yamaha keeps me dialed in to all sorts of different musical genres."

Attracted by the music scene, Blake moved to Bellingham in 2000. "There are some great venues around - like Wild Buffalo, the Red Light, the Green Frog to name a few - and Jim Haupt, the manager at the Bellwether hotel, has been amazingly supportive to live jazz in Bellingham.  The fan base and support of this community is amazing.  It is awesome to live in this town for that reason. I travel constantly all over the U.S. and it is exceptional in that regard compared to other places around the country."

Every Friday and Saturday night, you can hear Blake Angelos play solo jazz piano at the Bellwether from 6 to 9 pm. And every Tuesday as a trio featuring Julian MacDonough from 5 to 8 pm.


This article originally appeared in What's Up!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Washington State Archives: Northwest Regional Branch: City Directories, Death Records and Old Newspapers

The Register of Deaths at The Washington State Archives

As a follow-up to our Bayview Cemetery excursion, Marissa McGrath from the Bureau of Historical Investigation suggested that we schedule a visit to the The Washington State Archives at 25th Street and Bill McDonald Parkway. Our intentions were twofold: to introduce me to the rudiments of the collection and to uncover some history of the names we found on the gravestones at Bayview.

City Directories for Bellingham at at The Washington State Archives

After leaving our packs and bookbags at the front (you can bring in unbound sheets of paper, cell phones and laptops), we were led into a well-lit research room. There is a shelf of City Directories going back to 1900. Many other basic reference volumes. Also a computer terminal and a Microfiche reader.

Local government records include those from county offices such as the Auditor, the Clerk, the Treasurer, the Board of Commissioners, and from municipalities, school districts, and other service districts. Only a small percentage of the records created by these offices are transferred to the State Archives as archival records. They are selected as archival for their value as legal and historical evidence of policy development, implementation, and effect. The transfer of records to the State Archives is an ongoing process. Some historical records remain with their originating office pending future transfer to the Archives.  
Although the Archives does not hold all the records for the entire span of Washington's history from the various county and city offices in the region, it does hold extensive series of some records from all seven counties, with more complete representation in Whatcom, Skagit, and Snohomish counties. These series include: 
Birth and death records from January, 1891 to July, 1907 
Marriage records 
Court records including naturalization records, court dockets, and civil, criminal, and probate case files 
Land records including general indices to recordings, deeds, and patents 
County commissioner's proceedings, ordinances, and resolutions 
Real and personal property tax records 
School district and Educational Service District records including school censuses.

Oregon and Washington Gazetteers - The Washington State Archives

Since we were researching names on gravestones at Bayview, we asked to see the earliest Death Records for Bellingham and Whatcom County. We also retrieved several volumes of Bellingham City Directories from the shelf. What I immediately realized is that I could spend hours and hours here just looking at the covers and advertisements. They are rich with their own history and offer a fascinating window into the interests and businesses of early 20th century Bellingham. 

Cover of the 1904 City Directory
Morse Hardware Co. - Importers and Jobbers
The Washington State Archives

Interior Cover of the 1904 Bellingham City Directory
Cannery Dealers
 The Washington State Archives

Front Cover of Bellingham City Directory
 The Washington State Archives

Diehl & Simpson - Corner of Dock and Champion Streets
Ford Supplies and Sundries Always at Hand
The Washington State Archives

Standard Auto Co. - 1215 Dock Street
Overland Automobiles
 The Washington State Archives
Cole's Popcorn - "Here to Stay"
 The Washington State Archives

Sanitarium Baths - Hotel Leopold
Electric Baths and Vibratory Massages
 The Washington State Archives

Printer's Ephemera - City of Bellingham Directory
 The Washington State Archives

F. L. Dames - Died 1905
Bayview Cemetery

The first grave Marissa showed me the other day at Bayview Cemetery was for Corp.'l F. L. Dames, who was notoriously murdered in his butcher shop in 1905 by a man from Maple Falls.

We open up the oversized Register of Death and, in an charming approximation of the Palmer method of handwriting that everyone in the 19th century seemed trained in, we indeed find entry #1069 for Dames, F. L.. His address is listed at 1017 Elk St. - which is now North State Street and home to the wonderful Redlight Bar. Under cause of death, is the single word: "Murdered". And, to me, there appears just a hint of disturbance in the writing, a subtle remark on the brutal nature of the act. 

Register of Death for Bellingham, WA
F. L. Dames - Died 1905
The Washington State Archives
Register of Death for Bellingham, WA
F. L. Dames - Died 1905
1017 Elk Street
The Washington State Archives
Register of Death for Bellingham, WA
F. L. Dames - Died 1905
The Washington State Archives

The next name on a grave that we are researching is that of Nicholas Caufman, whose remarkable gravestone designates him as a member of the Woodmen of the World.  

Nicolas Caufman - Died 1906
Woodmen of the World
Bayview Cemetery

Bellingham City Directory 1906
Entry for Nicholas Caufman
Occupation: Filer at Miller Brothers
The Washington State Archives

In the Bellingham City Directory for 1906, there is indeed an entry for Nicholas Caufman. He was a "filer" who worked at Miller Brothers. His address indicates he owned a home at 1534 Grant. 

Marissa points out to me that while many of the men were listed under a wide variety of occupations, the women were most often listed as housewife. In the Directory of local poet and writer Ella Higginson, who died in 1940, her occupation is listed as "widow" - as her late husband's business concerns defined her more than her own well lauded profession. 

Bellingham Register of Deaths
Entry for Nicholas Caufman
The Washington State Archives

Bellingham Register of Deaths
Entry for Nicholas Caufman
Cause of Death: Tuberculous Spondylitis
The Washington State Archives

Moving back to the Register of Deaths, Nicholas Caufman is found under entry #1213. His cause of death is listed as "Tub. Spondylitis" - Tuberculous Spondylitis. According to Wikipedia, it is also known as Pott's disease and is a form of extra-pulmonary tuberculosis that affects the spine. 

The Causes of Deaths column is fascinating. I want to compile a database of all of the causes of death in the early 1900s in Bellingham, along with explanations of some of the more arcane and obsolete medical terms. The cause of death offers a surprising amount of "unspoken" or euphemistic information. Such as the Chinese "laborer" who died of "ruptured hernia" - meaning he essentially worked himself to death. Or Oda Burton, who lived at 1121 B - which Marissa informs me was a neighborhood of brothels. She is listed as "single". Occupation: "servant". Cause of death was a "Gunshot Wound". Reading between the lines, it was highly likely that Oda Burton was a prostitute. 

City of Bellingham Register of Deaths
Women's vs. Men's Occupations
The Washington State Archives

Register of Deaths
Flora Blakely - Died 1892
The Washington State Archives

Flora Blakely - Died 1892
Cause of Death: Brain Disease
The Washington State Archives

Marissa finds an entry for Flora Blakely. Died in Fairhaven on March 15, 1892. Cause of death: "Brain Disease". She asks me if know about "The Lady in Green". Unfortunately, I do not recognize the name - which is why it is great to be at the archive with an informed guide and local historian. So she fills me in (this is from a Good Times Girl Historical Tour of Fairhaven):
Town Marshall Joseph A. Blakely and wife Flora Blakely owned one quarter of the Mason Block (now Sycamore Square) and lived in an apartment on the 4th floor. Flora had given birth to two children: A girl, Kay, and a boy, Roy. Kay died at the age of 10 in Brownsville, Oregon in 1890, the same year that the Blakely's moved from Brownsville to Fairhaven. Flora's sister, Retta, had suffered from "insanity" and died in 1888 at age 26 in an Oregon institution. In 1892, Flora died in the Mason building.... Of a "brain disease." 
In a time when our city newspapers would devote full columns to the death of any person of the slightest merit or with even the hint of a tragedy, the newspaper ran a single obituary article for the 33-year-old mother of a 9-year-old boy and wife of the Town Marshall. The obituary stated that she was overcome with a sudden illness and died at home. The coroner report lists her cause of death as a "disease of the brain," and said that her illness lasted a week before she died but cites no attending physician in an era when house calls were common and in a full page of death records where all other deceased entries had attending physicians listed. 
Interestingly: When psychics were brought into the Mason Block in the last few years to investigate some of the strange goings-on, two different psychics independently picked up on a woman in green that they said lived in the building at the turn of the century who had died by falling or jumping from the 4th floor balcony. 
We wonder: Was she depressed over her daughter's death? Was she crazy? Did she throw herself from the balcony? If Flora had killed herself, we think it highly unlikely that the newspapers would have printed such a story about the Town Marshall's wife. A "disease of the brain" could easily be interpreted as "mental illness." There was also major social stigma around mental illness at the time, and having a wife with a mental illness would have been an "embarrassment," so... Was she pushed? Perhaps even by her husband? In any case, Joseph remarried and had two more children while son Roy was sent to live with his maternal grandparents in Oregon. Joseph had more children and enjoyed successful career as sheriff of Pendleton, Oregon.

Mason Block (Sycamore Square)
Photo Source

Register of Deaths
Cerebral Softening
The Washington State Archives

Register of Deaths
Suicide by Shooting
The Washington State Archives

Register of Deaths
Suicide by Dynamite
The Washington State Archives

I could've (and probably will) spent hours and hours at the Archive. We didn't even get to any court records or county proceedings. The amount of information is staggering. Just as an example, as we were leaving, I noticed a couple of bound volumes of the Bellingham Herald from 1910 and 1911. Just casually browsing the pages turned up some sweet little gems:

Bellingham Herald - 1910
Whirling Spray
The Washington State Archive

An advertisement for Marvel Whirling Spray:

"Every woman is interested and should know about the wonderful MARVEL Whirling Spray. The new Vaginal Syringe. Best - most convenient. It cleanses instantly. Ask your druggist for it. If he cannot supply the MARVEL, accept no other, but send stamp for illustrated book - sealed. It gives full particulars and directions invaluable to ladies."

Bellingham Herald - 1910
The Machine With the Human Brain
The Washington State Archive

And this beauty for the Remington Adding and Subtracting Typewriter:

"The Machine with the Human Brain" which claims: "This machine not only writes but thinks. It does what a man can do only by thinking - and more. It writes and adds simultaneously, whereas one thing at a time is all that the average brain can do. Again, it automatically detects errors of operation.  No man ever had a brain that would do that - automatically." 

Washington State Archives
Northwest Regional Branch
Western Washington University, MS-9123
Bellingham, WA 98225-9123

(360) 650-3125

The Northwest Regional Branch is located on the southern edge of the Western Washington University campus at the corner of 25th Street and Bill McDonald Parkway.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

WJMAC Presents Trumpeter Oliver Groenewald with the Miles Black Trio - Wednesday, December 10

Oliver Groenewald with the Miles Black Trio at WJAMC - The Majestic on Forest

Wednesday, December 10

It has been 20 years since Trumpeter Oliver Groenewald has performed in Bellingham. Influential and admired when he was here at Western, Groenewald now lives on Orcas Island and performs regularly in Seattle. Accompanying him tonight is the Miles Black Trio: Miles Black on piano, Michael Glynn on bass and Julian MacDonough on drums. 

The evening starts off nicely with a relaxed interpretation of Thelonious Monk's "Straight No Chaser". Oliver Groenewald performs with a kind of effortlessness and natural grace. Playing the trumpet like breathing. With the echoes of Sunday's stellar performance by Steve Davis and Josh Bruneau still in the air, there is a natural comparison. 

I am reminded of a quote by either Waits or Eliot about how time equals memory plus desire. And it strikes me that this is the essential difference between Josh Bruneau and Oliver Groenwald. Josh was electric desire, burning up the air with his sound. Oliver is reflective memory, inhabiting the songs like a favorite hat or broken in pair of boots. It is a striking juxtaposition which only deepens as the performance goes on. 

Miles Black is, as usual, just mesmerizing and astonishing, a pure joy to listen to. His piano seems to spin hot molten notes into delicate figures of glass, then break them and have them fall into a dizzying array of kaleidoscope patterns and newly deconstructed, reconstructed melodies. A fluidity of performance mixed with poetic stops and challenging chords phrasings that almost gets lost in a solipsistic ecstasy. 

Time and again, Michael Glynn follows Miles with a inspired response, the bass singing about as high as it can, at times sounding closer to Oliver's trumpet, with quick fluttering blasts of melodic riffs before returning to the core time signatures of the piece.  

It is fascinating week after week, to see the interpersonal dynamics of the musician's personalities. Julian has such grace and courtesy as a musician, you almost don't recognize him as the de facto leader, coordinating the sonic space and time for each of the other musician's performances. His own playing gets more interesting each week. He and Michael match the complex interchange of tone and tempo between Oliver and Miles with authoritative ease. Oliver, meanwhile, invests every note with memory and the beauty of detached desire, making it all look as effortless as being.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Electric Beet Juice Co. Grand Opening

Electric Beet Juice Co. - Juice Flight
The Electric Beet - Over the Moon - Kale Cooler

Stopped into Terra for the Grand Opening of the Electric Beet Juice Co.. A happy crowd waiting in a fast moving line. There has been so much anticipation for this opening. When Juice It closed, it left an empty space in the daily routine of many in the Downtown Core community. I was very happy to learn that Sara and Kara would be opening a new juice bar in the same space. Walking in, I smiled to see how Electric Beet has expanded to match the newly remodeled Terra. An enthusiastic and familiar team were working hard in the completely rebuilt area. The whole place looks great. 

For the Grand Opening, there was a limited menu. We ordered a Juice Flight which consisted of The Electric Beet (beet, pear, ginger, lime), an Over the Moon (orange, fresh tumeric, cilantro, coconut water, pear) and a Kale Cooler (kale, pineapple, green apple, mint).  Each was beautiful. Super fresh with each flavor balanced well with the other. The Over the Moon in particular, had the sweet richness of the coconut as a base with the midrange twin flavors of orange and pear like a yin and tang, then on the top end, the earthy tumeric complemented perfectly by the bright cilantro. Just exceptional and delicious. 

Electric Beet Juice Co. Sample Plate
Kale-a-bunga Salad - Golden Mountain (Lentil) Salad - Raw Harvest Pasta

We also got the Sampler Plate which had generous portions of Kale-a-bunga Salad (kale, golden beets, carrots, chives, raisins, hemp seeds, tossed in lemon miso tahini dressing), Golden Mountain Lentil Salad (curried lentils, red onions, raisins, daily greens, apple slivers) and Raw Harvest Pasta (zucchini and yam noodles, cashew "cream" sauce, nutmeg garnish). Each of them were delicious and interesting with excellent flavor combinations. The golden beet with the kale. The raisins with the lentils. The cashew and nutmeg. Everything fresh, bright and tasty.

The full menu offers a surprising variety and depth. Juices such as Green Bling (daily greens, celery, cucumber, parsley, lemon, lime); Juice Shots (ginger and honey; wheatgrass); Smoothies, Smoothie Bowls; Breakfast items such as Chocolate Pancakes and Vanilla Chia Pudding; Hummus Sandwiches, Green Pesto Sandwiches, Spring Rolls and more Salads. I look forward to trying them all.

And there are these welcome words on the menu:

"We are Electric Beet source organically and locally as a standard because we want the best for you, our customers, and the best for our planet. If it is available locally, we buy it locally. We'll rotate our menu with the seasons to showcase the talents of our local farms and food artisans in our community, and bring you the best in flavor and nutrition.

For desert, we had the Cookie Dough Bliss Truffles, which were even more amazing than they sound, and The Raw Brownie with creamy cacao frosting, also excellent.

It was great to see the Electric Beet finally open and serving such great juices and foods. We are looking forward to making it part of our daily ritual again. And judging by the satisfied crowd around us, it looks like many others feel the same way.

Electric Beet Juice Co.
Cookie Dough Bliss Truffles

Electric Beet Juice Co.
The Raw Brownie

Sunday, December 7, 2014

WJAMC Presents Steve Davis and Josh Bruneau - Sunday, December 7th

WJAMC Presents Steve Davis and Josh Bruneau at WJMAC - The Majestic on Forest

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

On the stage at WJMAC is Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers alum, trombonist Steve Davis. Beside him, a former student from the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz, Josh Bruneau, who just put out a new CD, "Bright Idea" on the amazing Cellar Live label. Tony Foster is on piano, Adam Thomas is on bass and Julian McDonough is on the drums. It's a good crowd here. More and more people each time. The word is getting out: you want to hear great Jazz in Bellingham? Go see a WJMAC show. Really, any of them. But this one, today, this one is going to be a great one. It is in the air.

The band starts into the first number. We all have an expectation that it will take a song or two for them to get their footing. You sense the musicians giving each other sonic space they each need - each courteously defining his territory. The rhythm section of Adam and Julian is purring like well-oiled motor. Tony sparkling across the ivories. Steve steps out in front first, the trombone singing with its muted eloquence. And they are all there of a sudden: together and as tight as can be. Steve's trombone works through such lyrical melodic lines, cutting a groove right through the center of the audience.

Then Josh steps in. It's like a sudden blast of lightning, which hangs over the audience for a moment until it is transformed into rippling ribbonlike riffs of brassified melody. It's a revelatory contrast from Steve. Each of them complimenting and not taking away from either in comparison. Josh's playing is electric, vibrant, pulsing with the energy of youth. Even how he stands on stage, trumpet help up, leaning back, arms tightly coiled as the music explodes out of him. Steve, on the other hand, elegant, balancing lyricism and volume, knowing the interior architecture of the music that only time can illuminate. Josh steps back from his solo and you can almost feel the crowd un-grip their chairs from the roller coaster beauty of that sound.

Tony's piano is perfectly subdued, as if it is making quiet commentary on the slides, charges and bright riffs that just preceded it. And there is always that solid rolling rumble of percussion from Adam and Julian that anchors it all. The first song was not a tune-up for the musicians, it was a tune-up for the crowd.

Steve lets us know the next tune will be by the incomparable trombonist, J. J. Johnson - who he calls "our Charlie Parker". They launch into "Kenya", Josh's trumpet just soaring out over the crowd, bright platinum spools unwinding with these trill-like riffs of astonishing speed. Man, is that a trumpet making that sound? Steve follows and somehow takes the groove even deeper. And we all just sit there with the simple joy of listening to a trombone sing like we have never heard it. Tony's plays as gracefully as ever, Steve and Josh to one of the stage adding soft musical commentary. Adam performs a bass solo that has that seems to let time seep in between the notes and dissolve the tune. Then at the most precarious moment, he cuts right back to the heart of the melody. Julian's percussion, as always, adds just that extra bit of temporal complexity while at the same time complimenting and giving room for the others to stretch out. As Steve says after the song, "Jazz music is one of the purest forms of Democracy."

Towards the end, Adam and Julian performed a mind-blowing percussive interplay, Adam slapping parts of his stand-up bass and Julian hitting complex rim skin cymbal combinations. It was such a virtuoso display of talent. I felt like I could listen to an entire show of just that - and how often do you hear that about a bass and drum solo section?

It was absolutely beautiful to experience such world-class jazz on a Sunday afternoon in Bellingham. At the end there was a rousing standing ovation and the musicians indulged us in an sweet encore of White Christmas. Tony Foster's piano notes making some of the sweetest sounds I've ever heard, happily reminding me of Earl Garner. And for the first time, I thought: right here and right at this moment, Christmas begins for me.



This review originally appeared in What's Up!

Bayview Cemetery: A Beautiful Place of Buried Bones

I was fortunate enough this weekend to go on a historical excursion to Bayview Cemetery with Marissa McGrath from The Bureau of Historical Investigations

As soon as we pull in, Marissa has me stop near the road to pay respects to the grave of F. L. Dames. She fills me on on the history of one of Bellingham's most notorious murders.

F. L. Dames - Died 1905

Here is what she wrote about it on The Bureau's website:

"Dames was bludgeoned to death in his butcher shop in 1905. His thirteen year old delivery boy discovered him the following morning, his skull pinned to the ground with a screwdriver and the top of his head chopped off. No one had been arrested. For a while, it was assumed that some robbers had killed him. That was until a Maple Falls man was tried in Stevens County, Washington. He had killed a woman he was engaged to for her money and was discovered to have likely murdered at least 3 other people. After reviewing the evidence, a local detective figured out that this murderer had lived in Bellingham at the time of Dame’s death, and that witnesses had seen the two arguing the week before Dame’s death." - From This is Frederick Dames

Note that Dames' butcher shop was located where the Redlight is today. They recently opened up "The Red Room" just opposite the bar. As you are enjoying one of their excellent drinks, you should say a prayer for the murdered soul of Frederick Dames. And if you look up towards the ceilings, you can see a row of meat hooks still mounted near the ceiling. Violent poetic history.

Nicholas Caufman - Died 1906

Nicholas Caufman - Died 1906

Nicholas Caufman - Died 1906

Just down the road is a tombstone for Nicholas Caufman, died 1906, who belonged to the fraternal organization, Woodmen of the World. [More information about the Woodmen of the World can be found on my other site, The Shaving Mug Review.] The WOW are noted for the elaborate gravestones.  This is from the Woodmen of the World website:

When Joseph Cullen Root founded Woodmen of the World more than 100 years ago, one of his objectives was to provide a decent burial for all members. 
Root made a special effort to honor deceased Woodmen. He created Woodmen Memorial Day, celebrated on June 6 each year, and included the following statement in the Objectives of Woodcraft: "... to give honorable burial to our sacred dead ..." 
Early Woodmen certificates provided for a death and a monument benefit. Gravestones were originally furnished to members free of charge and later were offered only to those who purchased a $100 rider to their certificates. 
However, during the 1920s the Society stopped providing stone markers to members when the cost of gravestones increased and cemeteries began prohibiting above-ground markers for maintenance reasons. The monument rider was discontinued and converted to an extra $100 of insurance protection, but for many years after that, members and lodges arranged for markers and monuments on their own. 
Woodmen gravestones vary greatly in size and shape. Some resemble a tree stump, others a stack of cut wood. There are elaborate hand-carved monuments, simple stone markers and stake-type markers driven into the ground.

Thomas S. Dahlquist - Died 1939

The grave for Thomas S. Dahlquist is just behind the Caufman grave. Earlier, Marissa and I had stopped for a lunch at the new Thai restaurant, Maikhamm which happens to be located in the Dahlquist building. Thomas Dahilquist opened Bellingham Bay Grocery Company on the lower floor while his wife operated a hotel in the rooms above. At one point there was even a car dealership in the basement. [source

In 2013, the Good Time Girls were being filmed in the Dahlquist building and experienced an a strange anomaly: 

We drive down the road a bit until we came to an unpaved stretch. Just off the road is a broken gravestone propped up against a tree. We share some speculation about the tree sending roots down into the body beneath. Nourishing elements of the man's mortal being now bound into the branches. 

Edward ???

Just beyond this, Marissa finds a marker for the lovely and evocatively named grave of Kitty Bone. Kitty was born on November 3, 1880 and died on February 24, 1902. The COB database lists her name as Mrs. Kate Bone. No other members of the beautifully named Bone family are buried in Bayview. 

Kitty Bone - Died 1902

Further on is a leaf covered dirt track that leads to a group of graves for the Japanese, who we assume were granted this space on the outskirts to bury their families. Many of the grave markers are inscribed with Kanji. There are also a lot of graves for babies. It is nice here: a quiet and beautiful place under the trees. 

The Japanese Section in Bayview Cemetery
Japanese Gravestone in Bayview Cemetery

Baby Marker in the Japanese Section of Bayview Cemetery

We drive up the hill and take a left to the crossroads where the Angel of the Luminous Eyes looks down upon all who pass by. Marissa tells me that certain individuals periodically come out to paint the Angel's eyes with luminescent paint. If you come into the graveyard at night, the Angel's eyes may be glowing.  

The Angel of the Luminous Eyes at Bayview Cemetery

Just beyond the Angel is a large bench / cross monument for a local poet and writer Ella Higginson, who died in 1940. Along the base are inscribed the words: "Yet, am I not for pity - trembling I have come face to face with God." Moss and lichen obscure many of the letters. And the bench seems difficult to sit upon. But it is all quite decadent and lovely. [More information about he Higginson grave.]

Ella Higginson - Poet and Writer - Died December 30. 1940
"Yet, am I not for pity - trembling I have come face to face with God."

We walk down the hill behind us. Marissa points out several markers for Civil War veterans, informing me that there are a couple of hundred in Bayview. Many soldiers came out to this area to get away from the horror and aftermath of the Civil War.

Edmund Gaudette - Died 1916

Around the corner is the large grave of Edmund Gaudette. The only information I could find on him is a brief reference in a court case as listed in The Pacific Reporter, Vo. 280

The facts essential to be stated are these: Edmund Gaudette and Laura M. Gaudette were married in 1853, and for some years prior to Mr. Gaudette's death, in 1916, resided in the city of Bellingham.

Below this is a single rose on the grave for Baby Caulkins. The COB Database lists it as "Infant Caulkins 9-27-16" - which adds a sweet mystery. 

Baby Caulkins - Died 1916

We head back toward the center of the cemetery, where some of the most famous bones of Bellingham are buried. 

An imposing a solid marble slab marks the grave of the Henry Roeder, generally acknowledged as the "Founder of the Whatcom Settlement" - what eventually became Bellingham. 

Henry Roeder and Elizabeth Roeder - Died 1902

The Best Virgil to Guide One Through the Graveyard: Marissa McGrath

The always informative Skagit River Journal documents this interesting passage from Wes Gannaway's Whatcom Then and Now:

He shares this research from the Hubert Howe Bancroft papers — an interview with Henry Roeder at Port Townsend in June 1878: "While he (Roeder) was at Pt. Townsend [in 1852] Capt. Pattle arrived on his way to Olympia to file on a claim. He was an English subject, and he had discovered coal in the place called Bellingham Bay and he told Plummer [owner of Port Townsend's only trading post along with E.B. Hastings] he had also discovered a waterfall, a good one, and would give the information for $1000 to anyone who wanted to locate there. Plummer told him (Roeder) how to get to the falls without paying any 1000 dollars; the Indians would take them there for dollar a day. They took up this plan and camped the first night inside of Deception Pass on Whidbey Island because of the stress of the weather. The next day they camped on Guemes Island where they killed a wild dog in the night. The place was called Dog Island for many years. The third day found them at the future site of Whatcom. They met with Chief Chowitzet of the Lummi Indians who invited them to stay and offered help to build a sawmill." As with all anglicized Indian names, you will find many spellings; Lelah Jackson Edson spells the chief's name as either Cha-wit-zit or Chow-its-hoot. 

Marissa directs my attention across the road to an imposing draped obelisk that marks the graves of the Eldridge family. She humorously speculates that it almost seems as if Capt. Edward Eldridge wanted to "one-up" Roeder. There certainly is an element of compensation for some insecurity in the design. From the COB Database, it appears there are five members of the family are on the plot, including an infant that died in 1921.

The Eldridge Obelisk

Edward Eldridge, originally from Scotland, came to Bellingham from San Francisco in 1853 along with another of the city's founding fathers, Captain Henry Roeder. When Eldridge settled in Bellingham the Federal Land Policy allotted 160-acre claims to each person. The current 2.2-acre Eldridge Homesite on a bluff overlooking Bellingham Bay is what remains from Edward Eldridge's, and his wife Teresa's, 320-acre claim that made up much of north Bellingham. 
The first enterprise of Edward Eldridge upon his arrival in Bellingham was to open a lumber mill. The Eldridge mill would supply San Francisco with much of the wood needed to rebuild the city after their great fire. Eldridge soon quit the lumber industry and began teaching at Sehome School while continuing his mining ventures. After exploring a career in mining Eldridge became the first legislator ever elected from Whatcom County to the House of Territorial legislature. Eldridge continued to be a distinguished political figure in Bellingham until he died from Paresis in 1892 at the age of 63, shortly after his return as a delegate to the National Republican Convention.

Across the road, there is a fresh pile of roses and a few graves with unusual mementos recently left upon them:

Memorials at Bayview Cemetery

Memorials at Bayview Cemetery

Memorials at Bayview Cemetery

Bayview Cemetery is a beautiful and fascinating cemetery. Of course, it helps to have an informative guide from the Bureau of Historical Investigation with you. But even without a guide, there is plenty to explore hike around. It is a perfect place to contemplate one's life and be reminded of Memento Mori -  that there is only one certainty in this world: you too will one day die. 

Much thanks to The Bureau of Historical Investigation and Marissa McGrath. If you are looking for more information about the history of Bellingham, especially of the more notorious and fascinating sort, I encourage you to head over to the Bureau of Historical Investigation. There is no better place to find books, photographs, historical artifacts and fascinating curiosa about Bellingham and the surrounding areas.