BHI Sin & Gin Marissa McGrath Sara Holodnick.jpg
 

tours & Gifts

Locally Sourced × Crafted with Love

 

Located in Bellingham, The Bureau is a purveyor of affordable gifts by talented local & regional makers. 

 

The Bureau of Historical Investigation opened in December 2013 and is located in the McHugh Building in downtown Bellingham. Since then, owners Marissa McGrath and Sara Holodnick have been offering unique, quality handmade goods made by local artists.

The Bureau reflects the sensibilities of the surrounding area while also paying tribute to Bellingham's storied past. Our rotation vendors offer a variety of gifts for any budget, including jewelry, natural skincare, housewares, curated vintage finds, prints and originals from emerging artists, thoughtful souvenirs, and more. 

The Bureau is also home to the Good Time Girls guided historical walking tours. Founded in 2005 by McGrath & Holodnick, the tours offer insight into Bellingham's often seedy past. Public tour season runs July-October, but private tours are available for advance booking year-round. 

 

Phone

(360) 305-3172

 

Location

217 W Holly Street
Bellingham, WA 98225

 

Hours

M-T Closed
W-Sa 11a–6p
Su 11a–3p

Product photos by Karen Hanrahan

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The Sin & Gin Tour

A guided walking tour exploring Bellingham's historical underbelly! Public tours run July-August. 

  • $15 per person (18+)
  • $20 per person w/drink ticket (21+)

Fairhaven

Brothels & saloons on the south side! From Devil's Row to Dirty Dan, Fairhaven won't seem so quaint once our sassy, corset-clad guides reveal its dark past. 

Fridays @ 7pm, July 1-August 26. Meets outside Skylark's Hidden Cafe (1308 11th Street). 

Drink tickets good at Skylark's Hidden Cafe. 

Downtown

The rise & fall of Bellingham's Red Light District! Who wanted prostitution banned in Bellingham, and who stood to profit off the status quo?

Saturdays @ 7pm, July 2-August 27. Meets at The Bureau (217 W Holly). 

Drink tickets good at the new Goat Mountain Pizza bar. 


Private Guided Tours

Our private guided tours are perfect for bachelor/bachelorette parties, birthday parties, social groups, extra-special date nights, retirement parties, workplace teambuilding activities, whatever you want! You have choices but basically we just want to know two things:

What do you want learn about?

Interested in the history of vice, sin and how sex workers and saloon owners created the foundation for the much more subdued city that you see today? The SIN & GIN TOUR is the girl for you!

Horrifying history with some great local legend mixed in? The GORE & LORE TOUR should be right up your darkened alley.

Woah… maybe just the basics?  Our HOLLY STREET HISTORY TOUR will give you an intro to the history of our weird little city. 

Downtown or Fairhaven?

We offer Sin & Gin, Gore & Lore and General History tours of both Downtown and Fairhaven. Everyone has their favorite, and we’re happy to tell you more about either New Whatcom or the Southside. Wait, you didn’t know thats what they used to be called? You should probably take a tour!

Please Note: Our private tours run rain or shine. We will happily attempt to reschedule your tour if it's gross outside, but don't generally offer refunds unless conditions are dangerous (e.g. ice/snow) .

**Tour Guides for our Sin & Gin Tour wear historical reproduction undergarments as a costume during Private Guided Tours JUNE-SEPTEMBER ONLY. Historical costuming is not guaranteed outside this season due to weather. We're pretty awesome, but we're not superhuman!**

Pricing

A $90 minimum booking fee covers up to 6 people ($15/per person at 6 people). Additional guests are $15. We offer discounts for groups larger than 15. 

Please book private tours at least two weeks in advance to ensure tour guide availability. 

Book a Private Guided Tour

Online booking is being set-up for this. In the meantime, contact us directly to book a private tour. 


Historical Research

Curious about the history of something? Your family? Your house? Your place of business? That old building in town? Hire an Investigator!

Kolby LaBree is a very experienced historical researcher who lives right here in Bellingham, Washington. She's available for historic research projects of all sizes, from simple look-ups to in-depth narratives. She specializes in (but is not limited to) local/regional history and archival resources.  

Kolby has expert-level experience utilizing local and online resources. Local resources include:

  • Archives
  • Libraries
  • Government repositories

Online resources include:

  • ancestry.com
  • genealogybank.com
  • newspapers.com

Resource examples include: Marriage records, birth records, death records, biographical information, obituaries & newspaper articles, maps, photographs, deeds, tax records, building permits, and more. 

Historical Investigator, Kolby LaBree

Historical Investigator, Kolby LaBree

Contact us!

You can leave us a message at 360-305-3172, email us at info [at] thebureaubellingham.com, or click the button below to complete our handy contact form. We'll get back to you as soon as possible during our regular business hours.

Common inquiries: