C. X. Larrabee

Charles Larrabee, circa 1890s

Charles Xavier Larrabee (November 19, 1843 – September 16, 1914) was a 19th-century businessman and a co-founder of the town of Fairhaven, Washington. Later in life, Larrabee and his wife Frances donated much land for civic purposes, including schools and parks, and were considered stewards of the city of Bellingham.[1][2]

Early life

Larrabee was born in 1843 to William and Mary Ann Larrabee in Portville, New York. He was six years old when the family moved to Omro, Wisconsin in 1849, where his father opened a general store.[3] Once he was old enough, Larrabee traveled to Poughkeepsie, New York to take a course at a business college to add to his public education.[4] Starting in 1869, Larrabee and his brother, Samuel E. Larabie (1845–1914), operated a bank in Deer Lodge, Montana.[5][6]

Business career

In 1875, he went to Montana, and in 1887, his efforts as a prospector were rewarded by the discovery of the valuable Mountain View near Butte. After selling this property to the Boston & Montana Company,[7] he moved to Portland, Oregon. In 1890, he arrived in Bellingham, Washington and associated himself with Nelson Bennett, the founder of Tacoma, Washington.[3]

Together they founded the town of Fairhaven and formed the Fairhaven Land Company, which was financed by Larrabee,[8][9] who was also president of the company in 1896.[10] Larrabee later purchased the land company holdings of his partner and retained control of the corporation until his death, doing work in land development, including building the Fairhaven Hotel, described by one reporter of the Fairhaven Herald as "million-dollar edifice."[11][12]

Larrabee founded the Citizens Bank of Bellingham, and was that institution's first president. He was also a member of the firm of Larrabee Brothers, a group of private bankers in Deer Lodge, Montana. Larrabee organized the Roslyn-Cascade Coal Company of Roslyn, Washington and developed what was known as one of the finest coal mines in the state of Washington. Larrabee was one of the first area businessmen in the Pacific Northwest region to realize the possibilities of the salmon-fishing industry. He also owned a stock ranch known as Brook-Nook, near Dillon, Montana,[13] where he raised trotting horses.

Later life

On August 3, 1892, Larrabee married Frances Frazier Payne (Jan 15, 1867 – June 11, 1941), a daughter of Benjamin and Adelia Payne, residents of St. Louis, Missouri. The Larrabees had four children: Charles Francis; Edward Payne, who served as a lieutenant in World War I;[14] Mary Adele; and Benjamin Howard.

In 1914, Larrabee hired Seattle architect Carl Gould to design a house in Bellingham and christened Larrabee Manor, now Lairmont Manor, upon its completion.[15][12] Charles Larrabee died in September of that year before construction even began.[8] The house was finished under the supervision of his wife, Frances, and is now on the United States National Register of Historic Places and maintained by a non-profit trusteeship.[16][1]


In 1890, a Bellingham grammar school was named in Larrabee's honor. The school was closed down in 2014.[17]

Soon after Larrabee's death, his family donated 20 acres (8.1 ha) of land to the state of Washington for the creation of a state park in Larrabee's name.[18] Charles and Frances Larrabee are interred at the Acacia Mausoleum near Seattle.


  1. ^ a b Kahn, Dean (May 12, 2014). "Historic Lairmont Manor in Bellingham celebrates centennial". The Bellingham Herald. Retrieved April 9, 2016.
  2. ^ Currier, Al (November 1, 2003). "Larrabee a ceaseless promoter of region - YMCA was gift from Larrabee to the community: Wisconsin native moved to Fairhaven in 1889". Bellingham Business Journal. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018 – via HighBeam.
  3. ^ a b "C.X. Larrabee". bham.wednet.edu. Archived from the original on February 21, 2007. Retrieved December 27, 2015.
  4. ^ Bourasaw, Noel V. (2008). "Charles Xavier Larrabee, Part 1 of 2". Skagit River Journal of History & Folklore. Retrieved April 9, 2016.
  5. ^ "Brother of Portland Capitalist Is Dead". The Oregon Daily Journal. Portland, Oregon. April 27, 1914 – via Newspapers.com. Free to read
  6. ^ "Larabie Bros. Bankers". The Anaconda Standard. Anaconda, Montana. December 15, 1907 – via Newspapers.com. Free to read
  7. ^ "A Montana Mining Deal" (PDF). The New York Times. July 23, 1887.
  8. ^ a b "Charles X. Larrabee House - City of Bellingham, WA". City of Bellingham. Archived from the original on December 2, 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  9. ^ Larrabee family papers, Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Heritage Resources, Western Washington University
  10. ^ "Local and Personal". The Islander. Friday Harbor, Washington. July 2, 1896 – via Newspapers.com. Free to read
  11. ^ Bourasaw, Noel V. (2008). "Charles Xavier Larrabee, Part 2 of 2". Skagit River Journal of History & Folklore. Retrieved April 9, 2016.
  12. ^ a b "Charles "X" Larrabee profile". fairhavenhistory.com. Retrieved April 9, 2016.
  13. ^ "Brook-Nook Stock Farm". The New North-West. Deer Lodge, Montana. January 16, 1897 – via Newspapers.com. Free to read
  14. ^ "Lieut. Larrabee Was In German Prison". The Oregon Daily Journal. Portland, Oregon. November 27, 1918 – via Newspapers.com. Free to read
  15. ^ "Lairmont Manor - The Larrabee Story, Charles and Frances Larrabee". Lairmont Foundation. Archived from the original on July 23, 2012. Retrieved March 14, 2008.
  16. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. November 2, 2013. Retrieved April 9, 2016.
  17. ^ "Folks at Larrabee Elementary turn closure of school into learning lessons". bellinghamherald. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  18. ^ "Larrabee State Park". Washington State Parks. Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission. Retrieved April 9, 2016. On Oct. 23, 1915, Frances Larrabee deeded 20 acres to the state for $1 for the property that is now Larrabee State Park. On Nov. 22, 1915, the property officially became the first state park in Washington. Frances and her son Charles later donated another 1,500 acres to increase the size of the park.

External links

Other Languages