A Short History of Blaine, WA

White settlers first located at the present townsite of Blaine in 1870. Miners, however, on the way to the Cariboo gold excitement, occupied the site earlier as a temporary camping ground. American soldiers engaged in the survey of the international boundary camped at Semiahmoo bay now known as Drayton Harbor in 1857-58, but it was not until 1870 when two white men with Indian wives, made permanent settlement and established homes. Later other white families arrived and the nucleus was formed for what is now the beautiful City of Blaine.

Byron N. Kingsley, a member of the present (1913) city council, located in Blaine in 1871.  He says at that time it was a wild, crude place, offering inspiration, however, for the homeseeker to pitch his tent and remain for the oncoming tide of inspiration. A few renegade Indians lived on the beach, subsisting on clams, salmon and game.

J. C. Bertrand, aged 85 years, is one of the typical pioneers who is still a resident of Blaine. He is engaged in the real estate business, and despite his weight of fourscore-and-five years, is one of the most active businessmen in the city. He was a member of the United States government surveying corps that camped here in 1858. The survey work was delayed for many months due to the fact that the English and American surveying instruments did not jibe and the two governments agreed to send to Europe for new instruments, which arrived after a long, tedious wait and the work was again vigorously prosecuted. Pioneer Bertrand lived in various sections of the Northwest but finally selected Blaine as his permanent home.

The City of Blaine was incorporated in 1891. Assuming the garb of a municipality it began to spring into prominence, marked by the establishment of salmon canneries and lumber and sawmills. It is now (1913) a splendid little, industrial city with a population of about 3,000 persons.

About three years ago (1910) the idea for permanent improvement of streets was initiated. The result is that the main business streets are improved with asphalt: Washington avenue, five blocks; Morton street, four blocks; H street, three blocks. Cement sidewalks have been built in the business portion of the city.

Chief in the list of civic improvements for 1913 and of which the citizens of Blaine are justly proud, is the new municipal wharf and dock, erected by the city at a cost of $12,000.

The milling industries operating in and near Blaine are: Morrison Mill; Erie Mill; Drayton Bay Shingle company; Norwood Shingle company; Acme Shingle company.

High and grade schools rank with the best in the state. An able corps of teachers is employed. Blaine has splendid postal service and has two rural free delivery routes extending into the rural districts. It is equipped with a modern telephone system which is popularly patronized by city and county residents. It has a volunteer fire department with ample equipment commensurate with the size of the city. It has a municipal light system, electricity being supplied under contract with the B. C. Electric company. Two strong state banks attend to the financial and commercial wants of the citizens of the city. There are no empty houses worthy of inhabitation in Blaine, and no man who needs work is idle.

Point Roberts, an auxiliary to Blaine fishing and shipping interests lies directly across Drayton Harbor from Blaine, a distance of sixteen miles. It has the distinction of being the most extreme Northwestern settlement in the United States. It has a normal population of about thirty-five persons, mostly fishermen. It was settled in 1852. It has tri-weekly mail service from Blaine.

From The Bellingham Herald, October 21. 1913, copied by Susan Nahas.

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