This is the second installment in our series on the history behind the local brewery buildings. What story do these buildings tell? Why did these brewers choose them as the location for their own stories? Previously we learned about Bellingham’s flagship brewery, Boundary Bay. Today we head south along the bay to Fairhaven’s neighborhood brewery, Stones Throw.
“So, this place used to be a brothel,” says Tony matter-of-factly.
Tony Luciano is co-owner and brewer at Fairhaven Stones Throw, which opened for business in April of 2016 and has grown into one of the most laid-back and welcoming drinking spots on the Tap Trail. I’m sitting in the brewery’s upstairs office with Tony and his partners, Jack Pflueger and Nadine van Niekerk, trying to get a sense of the unique space that is Fairhaven Stones Throw: part house, part garage, part patio, part shipping-container. And sure enough, Jack hands me a dog-eared copy of a book called The Brothels of Bellingham, published in 2004 by Curtis F. Smith (a local dentist).
There it is in black and white: 1009 Larabee Ave., home to Miss Annie’s Palace (which explains the reserved parking sign that’s now planted at the entrance to the brewery). Apparently in the late 1800s there was actually a sort of travel guide published, “The Sporting House and Club Directory”, that would advertise saloons and, yes, brothels. The entry in the guide reads, in part: “Miss Annie is an extremely experienced hostess, pleasant and agreeable when she entertains her guests”. At the time there was some expectation that Fairhaven would become the terminus of the Great Northern Railway (it was in competition with several other cities, including Blaine, Anacortes, Mukilteo, Port Townsend, and Seattle), which led to a period of commercial development.