LYNDEN, Washington — Within my adopted hometown, snug up against the 49th parallel, the bitterest sports rivalries run between Lynden High and Lynden Christian. Beyond our non-Canadian borders, however, the rivalry to beat is the Lynden Lions vs. the Ferndale Golden Eagles, gloves and pigskins down.
One result of that overheated struggle is that Lyndeners do our fair share of smack talking about Ferndale. Some call it Ferntucky, a hickname Urban Dictionary speculates was originally coined for redneck Fernely, Nevada.
My favorite anti-Ferndale taunt, “Your town used to be called Log Jam!” actually turns out to be a little bit true. In a brief historical essay, Phil Dougherty writes that the town “got its start almost by accident in 1860, when settler John Tawes, traveling north on the Nooksack River, was forced to land on the banks of the Nooksack because of a massive log jam on the river.”
Tawes liked it enough to put down roots there about six miles north of Bellingham. More settlers followed. “[B]y the mid 1870s,” writes Dougherty, “the settlement still had no name, though some informally called it ‘Jam’” — for