Robert Morse arrived on Bellingham Bay in 1884 and set up the Morse Hardware
Company on what is presently State Street. The company's steady growth
necessitated the 1892 expansion of their facilities, and a booming Alaska
trade during the 1890's firmly established the company as the leading
hardware firm north of Seattle.
Early in 1895, Robert Morse began building his new home on Garden Street
two blocks uphill from his hardware store. Local architect Alfred Lee
designed the Morse house in a classic example of the Queen Anne style of
Victorian architecture that was popular in this period. The structure's
exterior has numerous architectural details of interest such as an octagonal
turret, a steeply pitched roof, stained glass windows, significant
decorative latticework, spindles and cutout trimwork. The foundation of the
Morse house, and the stairway leading from the street to the house, consists
of Chuckanut sandstone.
Originally, the plan for the first floor included two parlors with
fireplaces, a dining room with a butler's pantry, a kitchen and rear hall.
The bedrooms were located on the second floor. In addition to the twelve
original rooms and bath, the basement has five finished rooms.
A two-story glass enclosed sleeping porch was added to the south side of
the house in 1914. Notable interior details include an elegantly carved
maple staircase and extensive use of brass hardware on doors and cabinets.
New wiring, plumbing and a central heating system have been added to
modernize the interior.
The Morse house was used for apartments until 1985, in 1986 it was
converted to its present use as the North Garden Inn Bed and Breakfast. The
house has been maintained in excellent condition. For many years the
exterior of the Morse house was painted a striking shade of charcoal gray,
it is currently being painted a light blue.
For more information see the
Robert I. Morse House National Register of Historic Places Nomination.