Ferguson Cottage, 1885-2009

Ferguson Cottage (on the left)

Since the “kickoff” for Snohomish’s 150th Anniversary celebration attempted an end run around the history of Snohomish’s loss of the county seat to Everett in 1897 by asking for the county records back, I thought it would be fun to feature this historic photograph of the county’s very first “official courthouse” — which is still standing.

Mother Nature, a bit of a joker herself when it comes to upstaging history, touched us with a flood of historic proportions, forcing the kickoff organizers to huddle for reconsideration of their game plan. As has happened through out the history of our riverside town, a planned trip to Everett had to be cancelled due to flooding. Perhaps a good thing since the decision avoided any potentially loud confrontation with the team from Mukilteo demanding that the re-acquired records be turned over to them!

Mukilteo was the first home of the county seat established by the legislation signed on January 14, 1861. But it was a pro tem designation, pending official elections in July. The first meeting of the county commissioners was held in March, in Mukilteo, and it focused on the building of a road connecting Snohomish with Woods Prairie, the future site of Monroe. At the second meeting the new county was divided into two voting precincts, with voting places at Frost and Fowler’s store in Mukilteo, and Ferguson’s cottage. On July 9, 1861, voters decided 17 to 10 to establish the county seat in Snohomish; in other words, seven more men voted in Snohomish then in Mukilteo!

In a letter written by Jacob Fowler shortly after the election, lamented,

“Some of our boys did not turn out and that many was off at work. Our election is all over. It passed off very quiet, no fighting or drunkenness.”

E. C. Ferguson, on the other hand, recalled how he returned to his home, the small cottage overlooking the river, with the county records in his vest pocket. We will have more about the Ferguson cottage next month, and the move of the county records to his Blue Eagle Saloon.

Courtesy Museum of Snohomish County History, it was taken by Snohomish’s own pioneer photographer Gilbert D. Horton. The Ferguson Cottage is the one story white building on the left, Ferguson's famous Blue Eagle Saloon next in line, then we assume the Jackson Wharf building, since the title of the image is "Jackson's Wharf." The small building on the right is a store selling logging supplies opened by Woodbury Sinclair in 1864, around the same time that Ferguson opened his saloon.

Warner’s Thumbnail History of Snohomish at historylink.org

Margaret Riddle’s Thumbnail History of Mukilteo

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