Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Statues in Fairhaven

J.J. Donovan sculpture
On my way to the yoga class this morning, I thought I'd take a picture of two statues I've found to be quite interesting in Fairhaven, where my class is held. I have seen this one for awhile now, and I wondered who he was. I found this information online:
John Joseph (J.J.) Donovan arrived in Fairhaven in 1888 at the invitation of Nelson Bennett for the purpose of building a railroad which would transport coal from his mine on the Skagit River to be shipped from the newly-settled town of Fairhaven. (from Fairhaven History)
 Then I wondered, when I studied the statue, what he is writing. And sure enough, that information was also available from that link:
The statue includes a replica of an actual letter from J.J. Donovan to his wife Clara.  In the letter, J.J. is describing the four towns on Bellingham Bay:  Fairhaven, Bellingham, Sehome and Whatcom. The town of Bellingham would soon become part of Fairhaven later that year.  In 1904 a City of Bellingham would be formed when Fairhaven and Whatcom were consolidated.
Just down the street from this statue is the Village Bookstore, one of my favorite places to peruse books while waiting for time to leave for my class. Just last year I noticed a new addition to the Fairhaven sculptures, unmistakably Mark Twain. Take a look:
Mark Twain sculpture
 I knew without seeing the information that it had to be him. And sure enough, that same link confirmed it and gave me more information.
In August 1895, Samuel Clemens – better known as Mark Twain – visited Fairhaven. Artist Gary Lee Price’s life-sized bronze sculpture of Twain seated on a bench, reading a book, joins similar nearby sculptures of Fairhaven founder Dirty Dan Harris and community leader J.J. Donovan. Donated by community member Michael Botwin to the City of Bellingham and Village Books, the bench has space so visitors can sit awhile with the legendary writer and humorist.
I didn't get a picture of the Dirty Dan sculpture, so I'll save that for another day. The bench underneath Twain's arm is a favorite place for people to take photos. Hope you enjoy these guys as much as I do.


  1. I love statutes like these. We have a variety of them in one of the local shopping centers. They are all child-size, with children as the subjects. My grandchildren love playing among them. I would especially like your Mark Twain statue. I would want to sit there and chat with him as my paternal grandmother's name is Clemons and I was always told she was a relative.

  2. You gotta love Google! What did we do before?

  3. What fun.
    Thank you so much for showing us - and giving us the additional information too.

  4. I love it! I would definitely take a photo with Mark Twain. He is such a recognizable person. Is it the mustache? Have a great Wednesday!

  5. I like these sculptures and the info with them. It's too bad they have to be done privately . they are important and should be publicly funded.

  6. Fun to sit with Twain like that. Great statues!

  7. Thanks for the pictures. I have never been to Washington state, so this post was very interesting.

  8. Twain does seem to invite you to sit a spell and talk. Of course the live Twain would be doing most of the talking.

  9. Mark really does look like he is inviting you to take a seat. I probably would.

  10. If you've never taken a Good Time Girls tour of Fairhaven, it would be a fun summer thing to do.


  11. Oh, I love them! Can hardy wait to see Dirty Dan. :)

  12. Recognized Mark Twain, but didn't know he went out west.

  13. Mark Twain was one of my favorites 'til I read a biography of his and how he (mis)treated his wife.....now, not so much. But his face has so much character, doesn't it?

    Love reading this and the art...and history!!


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