The Columbia Neighborhood is one of Bellingham's oldest neighborhoods. Development of this residential neighborhood began in the 1880s and approximately 90 percent of the neighborhood's housing is over 20 years old. The Eldridge Historic District is located here on the bluff overlooking Bellingham Bay. The Eldridge Avenue Hisoric District includes a large concentration of turn-of-the-century homes. Plaques bearing the names of the original owners and years the homes were built are hung by the front door of many of these homes.St. Paul's Episcopal Church (right) is a prominant landmark on the bluff at the southern Eldridge Avenue.
Housing conditions in the Columbia Neighborhood are among the best of Bellingham's older neighborhoods. Most homes are well maintained with mature landscaping. Residents along Eldridge Ave. enjoy views of Squalicum Harbor and Bellingham Bay (below). Since the neighborhood is flat, few other residents in the area enjoy a view.
The Columbia Neighborhood has many small homes that were originally built for coal miners who came to work in the mines just north of Squalicum Creek. Most of these homes are located close to Squalicum Creek in the northwest section of the neighborhood.
A concentration of newer homes can be found along Lynn, Victor, Williams, and Utter Streets. These streets tend to be a little wider and many of the homes are on larger lots. The largest lots in the neighborhood can be found in the northeast section, between Northwest Ave. and Meridian St. This area was developed more like the Birchwood Neighborhood to the north than the rest of the Columbia Neighborhood and includes some lots as large as an acre. There are no sidewalks or alleys in this part of the neighborhood.
There are two primary commercial areas in the neighborhood. The Fountain District is located along Meridian St. on the eastern edge of the neighborhood. The Fountain District has several furniture stores, a variety of retail shops, restaurants, and a Haggen supermarket. The other commercial area along Northwest Ave. and Elm Street has Yeager's Sporting Goods, a strip mall, convenience stores and several independent businesses and restaurants.
Just to the north, on Northwest Ave. is a strip mall with an Albertson's supermarket. Downtown Bellingham is not far to the south.
Elizabeth Park occupies two blocks in the southern section of the neighborhood. Elizabeth Park has a playgound, tennis courts, open grassy areas and a gazebo. During the summer, Elizabeth Park is host to several Concerts in the Park that attract large crowds from the neighborhood and beyond (below).
Carl Lobe Park is located along Eldridge Ave. and includes a small play area for kids.
Lorraine Ellis Park features a small playground for kids in the northern section of the neighborhood.
Columbia Elementary School (right) is the only public facility in the neighborhood.
In general, students living in the Columbia Neighborhood attend Columbia Elementary School, Shuksan Middle School and Bellingham High School.
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