The 100th Anniversary of Chuckanut Drive
The incomparable Chuckanut Drive is turning 100 this year! Chuckanut Drive, or State Highway 11 if we’re being official, was completed in the spring of 1916. Since then, it’s been a favorite cruising spot for those looking for a drive with a view—and good food!
The now scenic highway first began as a logging road in the 1890s. The thick forests of Bellingham made transportation and travel extremely difficult for the settlers coming for a new life in the Pacific Northwest. In 1905, city lawmakers approved funds to begin improving the road, but the money soon ran out. The project wouldn’t be completed until Charles Larrabee and Cyrus Gates, two wealthy Bellingham businessmen, gathered the funds to complete the rest of the road. The work began with convict crews, but ended with private companies and state crews.
In the 1920s, just a few short years after the road opened, the groundwork for The Oyster Bar on Chuckanut Drive was laid. A small shack selling fresh oysters to travelers was started by Zenzabaro Maekawa, a plant manager for the Rockpoint Oyster Company. The shack did so well that it soon sprouted four walls and a lunch bar and was named the Rockpoint Oyster Restaurant! One hundred years later, that humble shack is now The Oyster Bar on Chuckanut Drive!
Last week, Chuckanut Drive showed her wrinkles with two rock slides experienced back-to-back. To make sure the area is safe, the Department of Transportation has closed that section of the road down for now. But we’re in contact with them every day to see when it will reopen.
Fear not though, The Oyster Bar on Chuckanut Drive is still reachable! The rock slides took place to the North of us, but the road is clear from the South. You can get to us via Colony Rd., Bow Hill Rd., Cook Rd., and Chuckanut Drive exit 231. Make your night perfect with an unrivaled highway view, followed by an unrivaled seafood meal!
Learn more about the history of Chuckanut Drive and watch a great video on it at The Bellingham Herald.