• Lunch Daily: 11:30am
  • Dinner Daily: 4 – 9pm
Tags: History of Chuckanut Drive

The 125-year history of Bow, WA in its roads

2021 marks the 2 important dates: the 125th birthday of the oldest artifact of Bow – a steam locomotive – and the 105th anniversary of the opening of Chuckanut Drive. Explore exciting facts about the milestones of our community!

The railroad impact in Bow

The second part of the 19th century featured the advent of the railroad that changed the economic landscape of America.

And Bow was at the forefront of those processes due to its unique geographical position.

It was then when it got its current name, instead of the previous one Brownsville. It was named after the large London railway station (England). This was followed by a population boom and railroad expansion.

Those processes resulted in technological and agricultural development. For instance, one of the most important events was the building of a steam locomotive used in the area.

Built in 1896, now the vehicle is on the private property of a local farmer, in good working condition.

He built a special 24″ gauge track similar to the road the locomotive operated on.

Everyone can ride Bow Hill Rail Road Train during the Christmas season around the owner’s home.  Photo sessions with Santa are additional bonuses.

In exchange, visitors are asked to donate some human or pet food to the Alger food bank.

Picking up speed with Chuckanut Drive

Overlapped with the development of the Pacific Northwest, the history of Chuckanut Drive was an integral part of many important processes in Skagit and Whatcom counties.

Due to its significance, the segment became a part of the state highway system in 1895 as a Blanchard – Whatcom County line road. 1916 marked its official opening as a gravel road.

Except for its economic role, Chuckanut Drive has significant social and cultural impacts. It is famous for its natural and culinary landmarks.

Thanks to its geographical position and fertile farmland, it connects many cultures and continues enriching its cultural heritage.

As a part of such a dynamic community, the Oyster Bar team is proud to connect our guests with local traditions through a unique culinary and wine experience.

Immerse yourself in the rich cultural traditions of Chuckanut Drive, explore its culinary landmark, and make a reservation 360-223-5811.

Chuckanut Drive – A Century Old and Still Looking Good

chuckanut drive

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!

Rockpoint Oyster 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.

Make a Reservation

Warm up by our fireplace. Call ahead to reserve your seat at the table! 360-766-6185


Featured Wine: Domaine Magdalena Cabernet Sauvignon

(Bin #1114 $87) This sophisticated, balanced Washington Red is everything a Cabernet from Red Mountain should be. It’s fine tannins accent the beautiful notes of blackberry, rose petal and earth. Domaine Magdalena is not only beautifully made but also thoughtfully made. The wine undergoes wild yeast fermentation, is unfiltered and is Demeter certified biodynamic. This wine can stand alone but would pair nicely with so many of our dishes including our vegetarian and wild game options.


For Your Favorite Foodies

Call Today for Your Reservation!

Call 360.766.6185

+ Closing times may vary seasonally so please call for a reservation if wishing to dine after 8pm.

+ It is our policy not to seat parties with children under 9 years of age unless our downstairs dining room is unoccupied.