Just North of Bellingham is Ferndale, a historic community located along the Nooksack River. Ferndale was founded in the mid-1800s and was first called Jam because of a big jam of logs that clogged the river. While the town has grown from its humble beginnings, the history and heritage lives on.
Hovander Homestead Park and Pioneer Park are two great examples of the rural homesteading and farm life of the Mt. Baker region. Hovander Homestead Park is a turn of the century farm county park, with a Victorian home that is listed on the National Historic Register. The park is also home to the Antique Farm Fair and Civil War Reenactment each summer.
Ferndale is also home to the Tennant Lake Interpretive Center, a sprawling facility that interprets the marsh and lakeside wildlife of the region. Don’t miss the fragrance garden, a raised garden filled with aromatic herbs and plants with wheelchair access and Braille for the visually impaired.
A sturdy boardwalk takes visitors through marshlands and around Tennant Lake, with interpretive stations to identify the plants and wildlife.
Near downtown is Pioneer Park. This wooded setting is home to one of the finest collections of original pioneer log cabins in the Northwest. These eleven log cabins, built by the early pioneers of the region, sat alone in the early forests and rough clearings. To save them from destruction, they were moved to Ferndale from various locations to this site next to the Nooksack River.
The public may view and tour these historic buildings in a village setting. These buildings and cabins are over 100 years old and illustrate vividly the strength and determination of the pioneer settlers, who carved a new life in the West.
Since 1897, the Pioneer Park has hosted the Old Settlers Picnic each July. This down-home festival celebrates the past with parades, carnival, performances and hearty food. The park also features the Olde Fashioned Christmas celebration during the first week in December, when the cabins are decorated to replicate how early pioneers celebrated the holiday.