Eureka Room ‘puzzles’ Bellingham

By Katie Linton

It all begins with a rolled up newspaper in hand, standing on the corner of Commercial and Magnolia in downtown Bellingham, right outside Jake’s Barbershop. This is where you meet your contact who leads you up the creaky stairs to the second story of the old building you’d been standing in front of minutes earlier. Here, you’ll find the Eureka Room, just as the clock starts ticking.

The Eureka Room was opened in February of this year. It is best described as “a mysterious room packed with interlocking puzzles of all kinds which teams work to solve in under an hour,” says the owner and founder of the room, Jesse Stanton.

Room escape games such as this one are a “worldwide phenomenon” as Stanton put it, and after hearing about them he “immediately thought Bellingham would support one.” Because the Bellingham community is full of “lots of smart, creative people who are open to new and different possibilities when it comes to nightlife.” Stanton said.

As for putting together the puzzling mysteries of the Eureka Room, Stanton said, “the specific story and themes of the Eureka Room came from three books in particular but I wouldn’t want to say what they are. The specific puzzles were my own creations for the most part, though a few of them follow familiar formats.”

Stanton put a lot of research and time into getting the Eureka Room’s puzzles up and ready for people to solve.

“I’ve always enjoyed puzzles and riddles so some of them were ideas I’d had in mind for a while. I started out by going to the library and every bookstore in town and getting all the books of puzzles I could find.  After that working out all the specific puzzles, figuring out how to connect them all and integrate them with the story and then testing it all with people to make sure it worked took about two months.”

Since its opening in February the Eureka Room has kept the same puzzle challenge, but Stanton says his “long term hope is to create a new challenge every six months or so.” This will allow people to come back and solve different puzzles and not be limited to just one use of the Eureka Room.

If you’re wondering if the Eureka Room is for you, Stanton thinks it most likely is. It doesn’t just feature one type of challenge; “the Eureka Room has been very intentionally designed to incorporate as many different kinds of challenges as possible: numbers, games, logic, wordplay, spatial rearranging, things that are just very well hidden, and a few others I can’t even mention. This allows different members of a team to shine in different roles throughout the course of the experience.”

Stanton said “one of the most important factors is teamwork. Making sure to share information among all team members in a way that allows everyone to contribute is key. So far about 1 out of every 3 groups who have tried it have succeeded.”

So if you’re looking for something new to do check out the Eureka Room; “it’s a unique and powerful way to challenge yourself.” Stanton said.

It’s open by reservation only and costs $12 for students. Find it on Facebook or check out the website: to book a time slot for you and a team of your best friends/puzzle solvers/sleuths to experience the Eureka Room.


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