Lynden Wa is another one of those uniques city townships in Washington that constantly draws people from around the country and around the world.
Located in Whatcom County and established in 1874 on the Squahalish Indian village. Early beginnings of the location was to establish a place for early pioneers to settle.
Lynden Wa & Northern Neighbor…Canada
Lyden is a mere 5 miles to the Canadian border. The wide open valley near the Nooksack River certainly does give you feelings of those early pioneer days.
The Nooksack River empties into Bellingham Bay near the city of Bellingham some 15 miles south of the city.
Nooksack Indians (Native Americans) were well established in the area long before the 1860 non-Indian settlers began to arrive.
Today, Lynden is well known for its orderly, conservative, and highly religious community. The Dutch influence is clearly evident when observing the township.
Up until the early 1900’s the mainstay industry was logging as was much of the state of Washington. However, because of being such an inviting place, many Dutch settlers moved into the area because of its fertile soil.
Now it was clear that dairy farming was taking over the area. Quickly it became the dominant industry. Ideal for vegetables too, such as beans, carrots, beets, barley, oats and hops, the railroad barons could see fortunes being made by exporting these goods.
The only downside to the railroad and to the town, was that the R.R. was 6 miles away in Clearbrook to the northeast of town.
Here Come The Hollanders!
D.J. Zylstra ( a Dutch Hollander) was considered to be one of the early city “fathers” that encouraged other Dutch families to move into the area. In fact, his home on Front Street was the first place Dutch families would go to when arriving in Lynden.
The “Hollanders” as the non-Dutch folks would call them, influenced the life and lifestyle of all who lived in Lynden.
Most Hollanders would follow the teachings of John Calvin (Calvinists) and were regarded as very conservative in socially and theological matters.
However, as the community grew with businesses and schools, the next generation grew up speaking English as their first language rather than the Dutch language spoken by their parents and grandparents.
Religious Schools Influence the Community
In the fall of 1910 the Lynden Christian School opened. By 1945 the school grew to offer classes from first through high school.
Because of the Dutch way of thinking when it comes to religion, they would keep business and religion separate. Not working on Sundays was a normal thing for the Dutch township.
Sometimes though, this proved to be a bit inconvenient for the rest of the non-Dutch businesses. Restaurants, hardware, sundries stores of all kinds, would be closed.
However, the non-Dutch community learned to live with it because of the pleasant surrounding and living conditions that the Dutch families offered.
World War II
The second WW had displaced many thousands of individuals in European lands. Many chose to immigrate to the U.S. to start over. Lynden was the ideal location.
During the 1950’s the percentage of Dutch families was well past the 50% mark. Making the city of Lynden a “Dutch” community.
During the 1980’s a Dutch festival started with a two day festival and Dutch theme throughout the city. Especially was this evident on Front Street with windmills, bakery and restaurants highlighting Dutch themes.
Though the twenty first century has its influence on Lynden, all in all it remains a Dutch city. The ambiance that is found there is enjoyed by all who visit this peaceful, clean, friendly city here in Washington.
One thing you’ll note right away are the uniquely wide streets with pristine lawns on either side. The story goes that in the early days the streets needed to be wide enough so horse drawn carriages and buggies could turn around anywhere in the streets.
Unusual Entrance To Lynden
Strange but true, Lynden is one of the very few cities in the entire world with the main entrance into town running between two cemeteries.
Lynden also has the world record for having the most churches per square mile and per capita. That may have a bearing why it has such a low crime rate even though it is a border town to Canada.
During the month of August, the city grows to some 200,000 people as they make their way to the Northwest Washington Fair grounds.
Whatever your reasons are for visiting Lynden, you’ll come away with that “warm and fuzzy feeling” because of the wonderful environment you’ll be immersed in.
Why not come and see for yourself? Share this site with your friends…
Written by: Tom McDaniel