Downtown, An Old Space Becomes New Again

For Fred and Colleen Schacht, the Hamlet Hotel has been a reclamation project, sentimental journey, and business venture wrapped into one century-old downtown building. The Hamlet isn’t really a hotel but a four-suite Airbnb, where guests check themselves in via cellphone and internet (though the Schachts are just a phone call away). The Hamlet’s location, at 1202 Railroad Ave., makes it stand out — few hotel options exist downtown — even as it blends into Bellingham’s downtown. Built in 1906, the building was first a street-level tavern with the 12-room Cottage Hotel upstairs. Today, the upstairs, a dark, dusty, and closed-off storage space for the past seven decades, is seeing new life — and new light, with restored windows and the refurbishing of other original features like brick and flooring. Fred hopes a restaurant will occupy space on the street level. He dug up the building’s historical photos for guidance on the restoration and the couple is happy with how the project turned out. “The windows and treatment look, to my eye, exactly what it looked like in the day,” he says. “In a way, we’re kind of taking it back to its roots.”

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Builder | The Franklin Corp.,
Ferndale Architect | Zervais Group, Bellingham
Photographer | Kristi Coulter Photography Design

"Today, the upstairs, a dark, dusty, and closed-off storage space for the past seven decades, is seeing new life — and new light"