The Whatcom County Centennial Story Totem Pole, which once stood outside the Whatcom County Jail will soon be available for public viewings again. Local carvers have spent close to 2 years restoring the pole.
The pole which was first created in 1952 by Lummi tribe members Joseph Hillaire and Herb John, was carved to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the arrival of Russell Peabody and Henry Roeder, the first white settlers on Bellingham Bay.
The pole will be transferred to a new location in front of the Whatcom County Courthouse, along with an interpretive panel documenting the story it tells very soon.
The two-sided 22-foot-tall, carving depicts Peabody and Russel accompanied by the Lummi Nation tribal leaders who escorted them: Ts-likw and his brother, Chow-itsut.
The group is shown in a seven-foot-long canoe at the base of the pole.
“It’s a symbol of communication between Lummi and the city of Bellingham,” said Felix Solomon, a Lummi Nation member, who restored the pole.
Solomon and fellow carver Scott Jensen have been removing moss, dirt and old paint from the pole’s surface, as well as plugging holes with grain-matched wood, as well as matching paint colors to a 1950s photograph of the pole.
I will get some pictures up when the pole is in place.