The Great Waterfight


Its August 1885 and Bellingham is celebrating the arrival of the first Canadian Pacific train connecting the city with a transcontinental line. Somebody has this great idea that the Whatcom and Sehome volunteer fire department hose crews should create an arch of water over the dignitary filled passenger train as it pulls in windows down and ambassadors waving at the crowd. Unfortunately there is a problem with getting full water pressure simultaneously(perhaps having something to do with another kind of liquid consumed liberally by both crews) so the Sehome hose soaks the uniformed, button polished Whatcom crew, which in turn levels their hose at the Sehome firemen. As the water fight reaches a drenching frenzy, the train pulls in and the dignitaries take a bath. Welcome to Bellingham Bay! Atop a nearby building the famous Klondike gold rush photographer E.A. Hegg captures the moment of slapstick history in this pricelss photo.



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