I celebrated my birthday this year (2004) with Gary at ER
Rogers in Steilacoom, Washington. We enjoyed the views of Puget Sound and
relaxed in the splendor of a Victorian Mansion.
In 1875, E.R. Rogers married Catherine Webster. Together
they lived in a small wooden house. In 1891, he built his wife a fine mansion
overlooking the Sound. They had scarcely lived there a year before losing the
title to the 17 room house during the panic of 1893. Catherine Webster Rogers
died in1900. E.R. Rogers followed her three years later, succumbing to a heart
attack. He was 74 years old.
The Charles Herman's were the second owners of the house,
and Mrs. Herman decided to keep summer borders. Some of the finest families of
Tacoma spend their summers here. From then on the Waverly house had lodgers.
In 1920, W.L. and Hattie Bair purchased the building and continued to run it as
a boarding house until Mrs. Bair’s death just after World War II. From that
point until the early 1960”s the house remained vacant. Vandals tore into the
building, stripping it of its fixtures and its dignity. To this day, some local
children and adults swear the house is haunted. In the early 1960’s the
developers of the Steilacoom Center had an option on the Bair-owned marine view
site that included the Old Waverly Hotel. They had plans to demolish the
historic building and replace it with a modern restaurant. However, this did
not happen. Renovation began with Clarence Dowling shortly thereafter. Under
the Dowling’s ownership came a museum and again a boarding house. Today the
house has gone the full circle and once again bears the name of E.R. Rogers. We
think he would be proud!