Saturday, October 31, 2009

End of an Era in Fairhaven

It's the end of an era in the Fairhaven district in my home town of Bellingham, WA.

This afternoon, a crew of workmen used a large crane to remove the first two of the three Great Northern Railroad Pullman cars that have for years occupied the northeast corner of 12th Avenue and Harris Street, to make way for a new 5-story building.

Over the years, these cars have served as home for numerous businesses, including a dog grooming service and an espresso stand. But for more than a year, they have been empty, available to just about anyone who would pay to take them away.

Someone finally has. A woman in Pennsylvania has purchased all three cars and will eventually convert them into a restaurant. She is spending nearly $100,000 to move the cars. At one time, I had considered taking ownership, moving one to my property and the other two to Alger where they could become part of the Bellingham Society of Model Engineers. But the cost of moving them was too prohibitive.

By the end of the afternoon, only one car remained. It will be lifted onto a flatbed truck on Monday morning and taken to join the other two down in Burlington, WA. From there, they will be fitted onto specially made frames and loaded onto railroad flat cars for the cross-country trip to their new home in Pennsylvania.

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