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The Larrabee Story

Recognized on the National Registry of Historical Sites and a member of the local Historical Society, Lairmont Manor owes its timeless elegance to the artistry of the Seattle architect Carl Gould. Primarily known for his design of the University of Washington's main library, Gould designed what was then called Larrabee Manor in 1914 for his client Charles Larrabee.

One of Bellingham's wealthiest early residents, Larrabee controlled mining, railroad, ranching, and real estate interests (including the now famous Fairhaven Hotel) and founded the community's Citizen's Bank.

A believer in preservation and development, Larrabee started the Fairhaven Land Company with Nelson Bennett in 1888, and soon became successful enough to commission Gould to design one of the finest homes in the northwest for himself and his family. Larrabee asked that it be in the Italian Renaissance style, complete with extensive period gardens.

Although Larrabee died before the completion of his manor and estate, his wife Frances oversaw its conclusion and enjoyed life here with their four children. 

After Frances' death in 1941 the manor was sold to the Sisters of St. Joseph. The sisters formed Mount Saint Mary's Novitiate and Provincial House, operating a school of nursing and hospital wards alongside their training facility. The facility was also operated as an extension of Seattle University.

Cared for by the sisters until 1967 when it was purchased by the Douglas family, Lairmont Manor is now in a non-profit trusteeship ("Lairmont" is a derivative of "Larrabee" and "Mount Saint Mary's"). All proceeds from the weddings, concerts, reunions, and special events that are held here are used to preserve the Manor and Estate or enrich local community education and cultural events.

With over 3,000 couples married here over the last 35 years, the trustees have made improvements to cater to their needs. Careful stewardship ensures that all improvements are in keeping with the historical character of the house.