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Getting in Dutch

October 20, 2011
The GTS, parked

It's not marked as scooter parking, but... (Orin O'Neill photos)

You’ll recall in our last episode, the GTS and I went north on Hannegan Road, which ends in Lynden.

Front Street is Lynden’s main commercial strip, even though maps show Grover Street, one block north, as the main drag.

Front Street trees

Not much different than you’d find in Portland, Tacoma or Seattle. But here, one can’t help but imagine these tidy homes concealing a seething cauldron of youthful frustration, as portrayed in the movie Footloose.

Well, dancing is illegal in Lynden.

At least it is in places where alcohol is being served. Not that it doesn’t happen, but a friend who works in such an establishment has found the threat of cutting off the beer & wine a very effective tool for keeping unruly patrons in line.

Lynden is sorta famous for other such, uh, conservative tendencies. A friend tells the story of a friend who was mowing her lawn on a Sunday, and was paid a visit by a local police officer, who proceeded to write the friend a ticket, I guess for disturbing the peace.

Then there’s the story about how a major retailer wanted to build a new store that would have revived Lynden’s sleepy downtown. Oh, BTW, the store will be open seven days a week. Oh, no, said the city fathers, Sunday is the Lord’s Day, or something like that. Never mind, said the retailer.

I’ve always treasured a choice comment made at the time by the president of the high school’s senior class: “They do stuff like this and then wonder why nobody between the ages of 18 and 50 wants to live here.”

Lynden Dept Store

I’m not sure if the plan was to locate in the building the poster refers to, but it’s been sitting vacant for a while.

Downtown mural

Lynden’s got this Dutch thing going on. Not to the extent Leavenworth, Wash. is, uh, “Bavarian.” Lynden does not beat you about the head and shoulders with its Dutch-ness the way Leavenworth’s Bayern-on-Acid zeitgeist permeates everything in that former logging town, one that long ago gave up on the idea of a real economy and decided to become a tourist Bavarialand.

Downtown windmill

But there are a lot of windmills. The one above was built in 1987. Or that’s my guess, based on the big “1987” just under the blades.

The Woods windmill

This one sits atop one of The Woods Coffee‘s 11 outlets in Whatcom County; the company is headquartered in Lynden.

Public restroom windmill

This is a public restroom. The windmill doesn’t generate power or anything like that. It just adds ambiance.

Dutch espresso

As always, the fact that this is Western Washington means espresso is never far away. However, you’re not likely to find any “Coffeeshops” (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) of the type that are numerous in Amsterdam.

Town Cemetery

Front Street comes to an end at Guide Meridian Road. Which means if you’re approaching from the west, the first thing you’ll see is the cemetery, which straddles Front Street. Make of that what you will… Favicon

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3 Comments
  1. Megan permalink
    October 20, 2011 1:06 am

    That was the million dollar toilet. My great grandparents were one of the founders of this sleepy town. Sad that two kids smoking weed caused an old building to burn down in the old part of town.

  2. Jack Riepe permalink
    October 20, 2011 5:41 am

    Dear Orin:

    For years, there was a town in New Jersey that was run and administered by the Methodist Church. It was called “Ocean Grove.” You couldn’t buy soft drinks nor ice cream there on Sundays. But someone finally brought up the concept of the separation of church and state, which led to the religious community bowing out.

    But the town also became known as “Ocean Grave.”

    I find the recurrent Dutch theme sort of humorous, as I am a card-carrying member of the AUTBD, or Americans United To Beat The Dutch.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack/reep

  3. October 20, 2011 3:57 pm

    I’ve been through Lynden many times as it my normal entry from Canada is Abbotsford. I used to have friends there that we stayed with that had a house along the runway but then they moved back to Alaska years ago. It was a convenient stop in a beautiful, quiet town.

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