Saturday, January 26, 2013

Ghostly Dahlquist Building comes back to life

The Dahlquist Building is coming back to life. I just ate at Dashi Noodle Bar which is one of two businesses redeveloping the main floor.

Back in 1976, a fire ravaged the upper floors.

See pictures from 1976 Western Front newspaper.

I watched having just come out of an art class at WWU (then WWSC). As I walked out of the art building, a column of smoke could be seen rising from downtown Bellingham. It lured me to the excitement. Passing my sister's house as I ran down the hill, I knocked on her door and she came running also. We got to the corner of State and Holley just as the roof was collapsing sending flames so high that folks reported seeing it from Mount Baker. More sirens whaled as extra firefighters rushed to the scene, but my sister started leaving the corner. I followed asking why she was leaving just at the climax and she remembered that she had run off leaving the door to her house wide open. She thought she had better head back before folks wandered into her place.

In the years since that fire, the Dahquist stood mostly empty like a haunted shell. Some taverns and a dingy looking cafe called "The New China Cafe" occupied the downstairs, but much of the time, even that was empty. I kept calling it the haunted building. Well, now it's coming back to life. Dashi Noodle Bar is in one store front with Acme Farms & Kitchen soon to operate out of the other.

Several days ago, someone was shining a bright light at the Dahlquist. Were they making a movie? Who knows. Reminds me of that day in 1976 when Bellingham firefighters shined floodlights into the second floor windows to look for hotspots after dousing the 3rd floor fire.

Future plans call for restoration upstairs as well.

I'm glad to see the building coming back to life.

* Doing a Google search, I found an interesting article in the April 30 2012 Bellingham Herald by historic writer Dean Kahn.

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