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The county seat of Whatcom County is Bellingham, Washington. It encompasses what were once the towns of Fairhaven, Sehome, and Whatcom and is the northernmost city in the contiguous United States. Explorer George Vancouver visited the area in 1792 and named the bay Bellingham Bay, in honor of Sir William Bellingham, a member of the Vancouver Expedition. The city takes its name from that bay. The 18588 Fraser Canyon Gold Rush caused the population to boom, transforming the tiny mill town into a mecca for those seeking gold. Bellingham also provided much of the lumber which was used to rebuild San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake. It was also the site of the 1907 Bellingham Riots, which erupted when a mob of 500 or so white men, upset with the East Indian immigrants who immigrated to work in the lumber mills in the area, attacked the immigrants in their homes.

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