Vandals hit historic Semiahmoo Spit beach
A natural historic site was vandalized this week. Though mostly unknown outside of northwestern Washington Semiahmoo Spit is rich in history and loved by locals. But now the peaceful Semiahmoo Park beach, where people from Whatcom county, Washington and Lower Mainland, British Columbia go to enjoy the sunset, is marred.
Semiahmoo Spit has a rich history. In the centuries before European explorers arrived, the native tribe known as the Semiahmoo lived at the base of the spit. They were a peaceful people but often fell victim to warring tribes to the north. The tribe finally moved their main village off the spit to the California and Dakota creeks area and the spit awaited it’s next era.
In 1858 gold was discovered on the Fraser and Thompson rivers in southern British Columbia. Partly to serve gold seekers waiting to head north a small town named Semiahmoo sprung up on the spit with saloons, a hotel, and some say even a brothel. Another part of the town grew up across the bay and eventually became what is now Blaine, Washington.
The Fraser gold rush ended in 1860 and the town started to fade away. But by 1870 settlers started returning to the mainland side and years later it was renamed Blaine.
In August of 1882 the Tarte & Martin fish cannery was opened at the end of Semiahmoo spit. Later new owners changed the cannery’s name to the Point Roberts Canning Company. But by 1894 it became the Alaska Packers Association Cannery which built additional warehouses, a boat repair yard, and bunkhouses. Alaska Packers operated a fleet of Tall Ships that traveled up and down the Pacific Coast from San Fransisco to Alaska.
Alaska Packers closed up in 1981 and today’s Semiahmoo Resort was developed.
There is much more to the history of Semiahmoo Spit. As you can see that little stretch of land has seen many changes. But it has always been a special place for the people who lived, worked, or visited there.
We won’t let the criminal acts of a few ruin that. Whatcom County Parks & Recreation is already on site cleaning up the park.