From July 2000 through April 2002, Whatcom Watch ran a 16-part series on Bellingham parks. Aaron Joy wrote the series based on his self-published book, “A History of Bellingham Parks.” The 394 page book had almost 200 pages of predominantly historical photographs from the Whatcom Museum. Future issues of Whatcom Watch will publish one or more photos from the Whatcom Museum and directions to the Whatcom Watch website for the original article.
The first park was Elizabeth Park, located in the Columbia neighborhood and bounded by Madison, Walnut, Washington and Elizabeth streets. Henry Roeder (1824-1902) donated the 4.5 acres to the town of Whatcom in 1883.
It was known as Public Park, City Park and Walnut Street Park before being named Elizabeth Park, Work began on the park in 1890 when it was cleared and grubbed. The park was named in honor of Mary Elizabeth Austin Roeder (1926-1897), Whatcom pioneer and wife of Henry Roeder.
The Elizabeth Park article appeared on page 6 of the July 2000 issue. The web address is: http://www.whatcomwatch.org/old_issues/v9i7.html#story6.
Mary Elizabeth Austin Roeder, namesake of Elizabeth Park. photo: Beverly B. Dobbs, Whatcom Museum #1951.30.19
The Roeder home or “Elmheim,” in the 1920s. It was located on the northwest corner of Monroe and Elm streets. After the home was torn down in 1956, the lot was vacant for approximately 20 years until the Elmcrest Apartments were built. photo: J.W. Sandison, Whatcom Museum #3253
Elizabeth Park, circa 1920s. photo: J.W. Sandison, Whatcom Museum #2796
The Elizabeth Park bandstand. It was built in 1901 and in poor condition when the photo was taken in 1938. photo: Ben Sefrit, Whatcom Museum #1995.1.1753
The Roeder home in obvious disrepair. This photo was taken in May 1956, one month before it was torn down. photo: Galen Biery, Whatcom Museum #2014.4.189