The Leader Block building has been a staple in Ferndale since it's construction in 1909. Along with being a drugstore and business location, it was also whispered that it was the location of a secret Speakeasy (an illicit liquor store or night club) during the Prohibition Era as well as a brothel! Further research is needed but there is also some ghostly stories of a 'lady' (we call her Lady Leader Block) visiting the old underground wine cellar. It's enough to send chills down your spine! Stay tuned for more research on this topic...
Ferndale garners its roots from the Lummi Tribe who called the land “Te-tas-um,” which meant, “the crossing place above Lummi.” The native culture is still alive today as seen throughout Ferndale, with displays of Story poles, weaved baskets and more. Many from the Lummi Nation continue to fish and harvest shell fish just as their ancestors did generation after generation.
The city of Ferndale was founded in the 1800’s with the name, “Jam.” This was in reference to the nearby two-mile log jam on the Nooksack River.
Alice Eldridge, the first school teacher, was the first to call the town Ferndale. She admired the lush green ferns that surrounded the schoolhouse. This was characteristic of the Indian culture where names of sites and areas oftentimes described the site itself. As people moved to the area the name stuck.
The Lummi Nation traditionally lived near the sea and in the mountain areas that surrounded Ferndale, and spoke the Salishan language. The tribe smoke-dried seafood, camas bulbs and sun-dried berries, and ate all species of shell fish, crab, salmon, trout, elk, deer and other land and sea mammals. They expressed their language, family heritage and religious traditions through their totem pole carvings.
Lummi Indian people in traditional dress.