Now, the central waterfront redevelopment site
Pulp mill closed March 30th 2001. Paper mill closed December 21 2007.
Photo taken soon after pulp mill closed in 2001.
My blog entries on Bellingham Waterfront and old GP site.
Photos on Flickr
I never had a big axe to grind against GP, but some other folks did, or at least a sense of humor. Back in my college days (mid 1970s), Fairhaven College (a branch of WWU) named it's newsletter "The Tuna Gas News." Sort of a spoof on GP's smell.
In later years of pulp mill operation, the smell was less evident.
When I was still in high school, I lived in Pullman, WA. while my sister was attending Fairhaven College. In 1971 there was a test of a nuclear warhead under Amchitka Island in the Aleutian Islands off of Alaska. Some folks around Fairhaven College worried that the Amchitka blast might set off earthquakes along fault lines all down the coast. It might crack GP's chlorine plant sitting in the middle of Bellingham.
Well, that "end of the world" scenario didn't happen.
When I lived in the dorms at Fairhaven (late 1970s) there was a dorm called The Bridge Project. It was folks past retirement age going back to college. One bridger used to tell interesting stories about driving a fuel truck into GP.
Hog fuel , as it was called.
Burning old bark and wood waste to supplement the plant's steam supply. He would say that after his load got dumped into the hopper, it would all be burned up before his truck left the yard.
Sitting in Viking Commons Dining hall at WWU, I would watch as the smoke from the mill turned darker all of a sudden. "Must be another load of hog fuel."
Then I heard an urban legend that the log chipper blade had so much inertia that it would keep spinning on it's axis for several hours after they turned it off. Maybe it was over a day. I forgot.
Like a huge cheese grinder, this log chipper blade now sits idle in a Bellingham scrap yard on West Holly Street. I think the "spare." Another one sits in the redevelopment site, along with a 1,500 hp motor that drove it. Future sculptures?
While I never worked at GP, the mill was a source of interesting goings on.
In Spokane, WA. I visited an old heating plant called Steam Plant Square. As of 2005, it made interesting decor for a restaurant. Ideas?
Also from my old web site.
Campus heating plant, at Western Washington University. It was
designed with arch windows to show things off, but is now kind of ignored.
Seeing technology at work can be an educational experience. Testing
Big Ole, May 4 2008 at WWU's steam plant.
Pictures and my article about WWU Steam Heating Plant.
Below "found art." Rather than hide the interesting sculpture.
Can it be considered a working sculpture? Sometimes, when the door
is rolled up, a rather bland looking building can reveal interesting things
inside. Normally door is closed. Can't more of these turbines,
and so forth, be showcased all the time? Image is of Encogen power
plant on Bellingham's waterfront. Now they are talking about
redeveloping the waterfront. Things to showcase. Paint pipes
More pictures of waterfront power plant
Two more random things from my old website.
Steel frame of communications building at WWU campus during
Cellphone tower looks like a natural tree behind Sehome High
School along Bill McDonald Parkway
to my Bellingham area tour