Thomas E. Barrett, who came from Ireland in 1868, built this house in 1874. He was one of the earliest white settlers to the area. He took a native wife and they raised seven children in this single-story 18’ x 20’ cabin. When more space was needed, a lean-to was added to the building to accommodate the overflow of family members.
According to Chet Speziale, Mr. Barrett was a day late and a dollar short in nearly everything he tackled. He explored for gold in the foothills of Mt. Baker, worked as a clerk at the Sehome Coal Mines, and ran a tavern in Fairhaven where he had an enigmatic reputation for being a "genial Irishman."
Barrett retired on his claim on the shores of Barrett Lake, then called Trudder. He set up a Post Office and all mail to the Ferndale area was addressed to the individual in care of Trudder Post Office, Whatcom County, Washington Territory. Frequently, the first settler on the scene would setup a post office, since it only required one government form and a few dollars. They then encouraged others to come, making it sound more like a town existed there. They sold the newcomers part of their land donation claim and used the proceeds to finance clearing and other improvements on the remainder of the property.
Thomas Barrett was the clerk of the Ferndale School District, which had 50-60 pupils on November 13, 1875. He was also part of the delegation for statehood in 1889. He died on October 13, 1889 and is buried in Woodlawn cemetery. Thomas Barrett had ten children, six boys and four girls with his wife Fanny.
The Barrett House was donated to the Old Settlers Association by Pete and Sandie Hanson and moved to Pioneer Park in 1989. Today, the house displays Post Office memorabilia collected by and in memory of retired Postmaster Chet Speziale. A horse drawn Postal carrier’s wagon dominates the center of the cabin.