The Grand Celebration, 1899
On Tuesday, March 18, 1899, local and state dignitaries assembled at the Byron Hotel (now the Leopold) in New Whatcom (now Bellingham) to celebrate the appropriation of operating money ($33,500) by the Washington State Legislature for New Whatcom Normal School.
Shortly thereafter, Edward T. Mathes was chosen as the first principal by the Board of Trustees (April 10, 1899). He in turn hired the first five faculty (May 31, 1899) and on September 6, 1899, the doors finally opened to students.
A new exhibit, Western Tableaux - Redux, opens next week at Western Libraries Special Collections, and feature historic photos and mementos documenting the school’s history from 1899 to 2017.