Historic Downtown Lynden

Lynden is home to Washington State’s largest Dutch settlement and is the heart of the region’s farmland. Upon reaching the four-block span of Front Street, known as Old Dutch Town, visitors are greeted by a 72-foot tall working windmill. 

Use this guide for a Self-Guided Tour of Historic Down Town Lynden. Starting on Front Street.

610 Front St.

The building with the mural was the original site of the Lynden Tribune Newspaper. This 1927 building is a great example of art deco style, evident in the round window and door trim. The diamond shapes and asymmetrical design lend themselves to the style as well.  The 132-foot mural was painted by Harry and Eric Engstrom. 

600 Front St.

 Built-in 1937, the Post Office was a WPA project – part of the New Deal instituted by President Roosevelt to create jobs during the Great Depression. The three emblems found on the outside of the building display the modes of transportation by which mail is delivered. Inside are murals depicting Phoebe Judson, “The Mother of Lynden,” getting out of her canoe when she first arrived via the Nooksack River and at her home desk. The mural artist never visited Lynden, instead, he used brochures sent by the Chamber. 

6th & Front St.

The Phoebe Judson Heritage Tree (black walnut), was planted in 1882 in what was once Phoebe Judson’s front yard (now home to the Chamber of Commerce). Phoebe and her husband, Holden Judson, were among the first non-Indians to settle here and establish a settlement. Named by Phoebe, Lynden was incorporated in 1891. Phoebe was a midwife and educator who was instrumental in founding the Northwest Normal School, the forerunner of Western Washington University. In 2017, a sculpture of Phoebe Judson was added to this corner of downtown. 

508 Front St.

Built-in 1929,  was once the site of J.C. Penney. You can still find original paneling in the display windows. The outside yellow tile and vent covers are also original. Inside you will find a historic photo of downtown Lynden. 

444 Front St.

Waples Mercantile Building was built in 1914, and was the site of the Lynden Department Store and the “hub of the town.” The store’s founder, Billy Waples, was successful in providing the town with a centrally-located emporium of goods including clothing, dishware, groceries, farm equipment, grain, and horse buggies. On the front of the building is a U.S. Geological Survey elevation marker. A fire gutted the building in 2008. Restored in 2015, using reclaimed wood and timber beams not damaged in the fire, and exposing brick and concrete throughout, it is now the home to The Inn at Lynden, Village Books, Bellingham Baby Company, Avenue Bread, Cheeks, and Overflow Taps. 

406 Front St.

The door between Hat’s Off T-shirts & Engraving and the building to the west once led to a brothel that was located upstairs until the 1920s. 

4th & Front St.

Built in 1913, the Bylsma name found at the top of the Alsum Trading Company building highlights the original owner. This design and construction style was typical of brick and stone buildings of the era. 

312 Front St.

The building is typical Dutch Revival style, with a peaked brick arch with an opening inside, and oversized and contrasting cornerstones.

217 Front St.

The western half of the Lynden Pioneer Museum was built in 1911; the eastern half was added in 1984. Inside you’ll find the original wood floors. The weight lock trusses used in the building require no nails or screws; the weight of the roof itself locks everything into place. The large double doors were initially used to bring tractors in and out of the building. The museum is now home to the largest collection of horse-drawn vehicles in the state, among other timeless pieces of history.

321 Front St.

The Jansen Art Center combines two buildings. The eastern portion was built as the Steinhauser building in 1912, housing Knapp Furniture upstairs and a funeral parlor downstairs – a common combination in the US in the 1900s. The western half was built in 1928 and served as the fire station, library and City Hall. The roof tower still holds the original city fire alarm, Big Oly and inside are cells from the old town jail. The structure depicts Spanish colonial revival style (one of two such buildings in WA). Renovated in 2012, the J houses art studios, piano lounge, performance hall, art gallery, cafe, and gift shop. 

405 Front St.

Built in 1909 as City Drug Pharmacy, this building is now known as Rustler’s Front Street Grill. It has its original wood floors and a tin ceiling. 

413 Front St.

The building was built in 1906 as the Palace Hotel. It has an archway over the door that was the grand entrance to welcome patrons. The archway is now hidden by the green awning, but the original dental molding remains. 

417 Front St.

Lynden Paint is also known as the Dyk Building, the original name found on the building. It was designed as a professional building in 1921 with offices for dentists and lawyers. It also housed an early post office and was the original location for Peoples Bank, which has grown to have over 24 locations. Peoples Bank is still a major contributor to events in Lynden. 

421 Front St.

Built as a bakery around 1910, the Lynden Dutch Bakery building still has its tile roof, common in Holland. Despite several name changes, the site remains a bakery, making this building the oldest in the city to house the same trade. 

513/515 Front St.

The Frith Building is now home to Katz Coffee & Books, but a metal shop occupied this spot when it was built in 1920. The building has the original wood flooring and tin ceiling from when it was a Farmers Equipment. The front of the building is entirely tin construction. 

Now occupied by Originals by Chad & Compass Point Survey, the Woods Building was built in 1915 by Dr. Frank Woods, evident from the top where his name and initial can be found. The arches and name print follow the art deco style.

521 Front St.

Dr. Woods was a pioneer in women’s health, and his book, The Woman Pays, is still required reading at the University of Washington Medical School. 

655 Front St.

Our tour ends with the iconic windmill located at The Mill Inn. The windmill first opened in 1987 when the Dutch Village was created from a former car dealership. The Mill Inn opened in 2016 with 3 of its 7 guest rooms located inside the 72-foot windmill. 

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