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Ferndale is located on the eastern side of Bellingham Bay, across from the City of Bellingham. Ferndale is a major commercial center for Whatcom County and has been since its founding in 1891. It was incorporated as a city in 1907 and today serves as an important retail hub for Western Washington with several shopping centers, including two malls: South Hill Mall (the largest mall between Seattle and Vancouver) and Village Green Shopping Center; it also contains one of only three Cabela's stores west of the Mississippi River. Ferndale was officially founded by James Wickersham after he purchased land from his father-in-law John Brouse Jr., who had settled there earlier that year along with his brother Frank Brouse Sr.. The town site originally consisted mostly orchards but soon became famous for its strawberries which were shipped all over America at their peak popularity during World War I when they were considered "patriotic" to eat because they helped feed American soldiers fighting overseas.