The Cowgill House  
1890 - 1891
(First of 3 locations)

Occupied the NE corner of 13th St. and Harris Avenue
Currently a parking lot.

 1890 Photo of the Cowgirl Family at 13th and Harris
Whatcom Museum #1996.01 3819
Edgar L. Cowgill (pronounced Co-gill), born near Dover, Delaware, came to Fairhaven from Tacoma in 1888 and became a leading businessman and a member of the town council at the time of incorporation in 1890.
Cowgill built one of the first homes in Fairhaven on the northeast corner of 13th Street and Harris Avenue in 1890.  He was married to Lillie Wasmer, whose sister, Emma, was married to Fairhaven entrepreneur, Charles Schering, and also sister to Bertha Wasmer, wife of "Dirty Dan” Harris, founder of Fairhaven.
Soon after the house was built, plans were made to erect a grand opera house on this site, behind the newly constructed Fairhaven Hotel.  In March 1891, the home was hauled up the hill along 14th Street to Knox Avenue and laid to rest at the corner of 17th and Knox.  
The newly vacant property behind the hotel was excavated.  Unfortunately financing for the opera house fell victim to the depression of the 1890s, and the excavated land remained  idle until the property was paved over in the mid-1970s for a parking lot.

The Second Location at 1705 Knox Avenue

The second location of the Cowgill house became the home of Dennis K. Butler, proprietor of the Sideboard Saloon in the Terminal Building.  In 1914, Butler sold the property on Knox to Robert Forbes, Alaska manager for Pacific American Fisheries. By 1917, Forbes decided to build an elegant new residence on this property, and the original Cowgill house was again relocated.

   Whatcom Museum 
Cowgirl House on 17th and Knox circled.

 Cowgill House,  now Bellingham Co-Housing
at 2614 Donovan Avenue

Third and Final Location

The house was moved back down the hill to 2614 Donovan Avenue and became the home of the Frederick L. Schaefer family. 

In 1997 the house was sold on a contingency basis with plans to move it yet again, this time across the bay to Lummi Island. That plan fell through, however, and the house, still on this site, is now the community office and gathering place for the Bellingham Co-Housing group.




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