Bellingham's first official park was created in 1884 on land
donated by Captain Henry Roeder. The park was known as the Walnut
Street Park until it was later named, Elizabeth
Park, in honor of Roeder's wife Mary Elizabeth. A brief history
of the park's creation appears in an article written by Aaron Joy,
Brief History of Whatcom Parks," in
Online Volume 9, Issue 7, July 2000. (Scroll down or
on Page) The New Whatcom Ladies Cooperative society was
instrumental in developing Elizabeth Park on the land donated
by Captain Roeder. Funds were raised and a bandstand was built.
The development of Walnut Street Park was finally completed in
1905 under the guidance of Park Commissioner Roland G. Gamwell.
The plans for the part were attributed to the Olmstead Brothers firm
in Brookline Massachusetts See also Notes
from the History of Whatcom County by Lottie Roth
Joy's history notes that on September
11, 1901 in Walnut Street Park, the Adams Military Band had the
pleasure of presenting the first band concert held to raise money for
the painting of the newly
completed bandstand. At the concert Mayor Bacon remarked “this was a
occasion in the history of the town, as it was the first actual
to the city, and upon ground donated to the city.”
The estate of G. Morris Haller, of Seattle, donated the
Haller Fountain in 1910. It was placed in the center of the lake.
It was ornamented by a trio of small girls lining its bowl and five
larger female statues (one at the base and one in the bowl), all
designed by local Swedish sculptor Knute Evertz.
beautiful little park was the pride of the community for years with
Fourth of July picnics, and even a full time grounds keeper.
See Reminiscences of Elizabeth
Park. The park began to lose its beauty during the depression
and World War II. Over time
the lake was reduced to a large pond. The wooden bridge was
replace by a concrete bridge. Eventually the bandstand
deteriorated and was torn down in the 1944. In the late 1950's
the remaining ponds and the swimming pool were filled in. The
fountain was dismantled and put into storage. To celebrate
the centennial of the park, the Eldridge Society and the Parks
Department began a restoration process of the park. A fountain
was returned to the park using parts of the original fountain
that were recovered, A portion of it was lost and it is
hoped that sometime that too will be returned to the park.
The Current Gazebo
in honor of Elizabeth Park’s Centennial
Eldridge Society built a gazebo in the park similar to the one built in
1901. The gazebo was dedicated on September 29, 1984
Article about building the new Gazebo, Eldridge
Historic Society Newsletter. See also a clipping from
the Bellingham Herald, Elizabeth Park: A Return to the City
Beautiful, by Joan Connell, 9-23-1984.
Plans forthe gazebo were drawn using photographs of the original
1901 gazebo. Vic Trodella (Victor Trodella Architecture & Project
Management Freeport Maine) drew up the plans for the Gazebo The
Society’s Gazebo Committee Rick Fackler, Glenn Eastwood, Kelly Kendall,
Rob Visser and John Clark, was charged with developing and overseeing
the project. . Rob Visser of Visser Millworks generously donated some
the materials and time. . Most of the construction was done by a local
contractor Steve Marx with finishing work done by Eldridge volunteers.
The gazebo was constructed at a cost of more than $11,000 not counting
volunteer labor. $4,000 was received from the city. After construction
there were not enough funds to paint the structure so letters were sent
to local businesses requesting additional donations , Georgia Pacific
offered $100 toward painting if other corporations would cover the
remaining $275; Interlace and Arc each gave $50. In 2002 the
Gazebo needed reroofing. The Eldridge Society provided the
materials at a cost of $2317 and the city provided the labor.
The gazebo is rented out by Parks for small gatherings of 25 to 50
persons at an hourly rate of $ 10.00/hour or $ 100.00/day. The Eldridge
has use the gazebo for its events including the summer music concerts.
Society raises money. Principally through home tours to provide the
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