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100th Anniversary: Mills Electric through the Decades

Company President John Huntley recently hosted an open house and barbecue to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Mills Electric Co. in Bellingham. Below are just a few of the projects the AGC member has worked on since its founding in 1911.

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Hotel Leopold 1923. When Mills Electric Co. was established in 1911 it specialized in lamp/appliance repair and it also serviced many downtown businesses. The Hotel Leopold was a long-time client of Mills Electric Co. and was located just a few blocks down the road from Mills’ original location.

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Bellingham Hotel and Mt. Baker Theatre 1930. Mills Electric Co. performed service work throughout the 1900s for both the Bellingham Hotel and Mt. Baker Theatre. The neon sign atop the Bellingham Hotel was the tallest in the world at the time.

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Georgia-Pacific Pulp and Paper Mill 1937. Mills Electric was an integral part of the pulp and paper mill throughout its life in Bellingham. In 1925 businessman Ossian Anderson purchased a mill site on Bellingham’s downtown waterfront which he operated as Puget Sound Pulp and Timber Company. The mill was purchased in 1963 by Atlanta-based Georgia-Pacific Corp. A full-time crew of Mills electricians performed new construction maintenance and service projects at the mill. GP was a major employer in Bellingham until its closure in 2001.

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Bellingham Cold Storage 1946. Mills Electric Co. has performed construction for Bellingham Cold Storage throughout its history starting in the 1940s when the BCS founder Arch Talbot ran Bellingham Bay Shipyards from his property on Squalicum Hill. In 1946 construction of Warehouses 1 and 2 was completed on adjoining property which is the current location of Bellingham Cold Storage. In 1979 Mills did the electrical wiring on the Orchard Drive expansion.

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ConocoPhillips oil refinery under construction 1954. Mills Electric Co. has been performing maintenance and new construction work at ConocoPhillips since its inception in 1954. The local refineries have been an important part of Mills’ business and the community throughout the years.

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Senator Henry Jackson aboard a Uniflite Navy Boat 1966. Uniflite boat builders was started in 1957 by Art Nordvedt with the first boat an all fiberglass 17’ outboard. The Mills Electric Marine Division helped build both pleasure and navy vessels throughout the company’s history.

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Bellingham International Airport Terminal 1979. Current and long-time Mills electrician Dan Stimac helps build the Bellingham International Airport Terminal.

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Immunex 2004. Located on the shores of Elliot Bay in Seattle this biotechnology plant was built from the ground up in 2004 and is currently the largest commercial project completed by Mills Electric to date.

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Clean Diesel Units BP Cherry Point. The new Clean Diesel Project began in July 2011 at the BP Cherry Point Refinery. Mills Electric is proud to be a part of such an important project not only for our community but for the production of cleaner burning fossil fuels.

(All photos courtesy the Whatcom Museum except the Immunex and Clean Diesel photos courtesy Mills Electric)

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