Joe Knowles

Joe Knowles welcomed visitors to his Seaview home.

ILWACO — The Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum, located at 115 SE Lake Street in Ilwaco is hosting an exhibit of the work of Joseph Knowles. This exhibition will focus on Joe Knowles as an artist. His paintings, prints and drawings were widely collected and played an important role in this community where he spent the final decades of his career.

“By placing his work in the context of early 20th century American art and illustration we hope that viewers will gain a better understanding of Joe Knowles as a creative and accomplished artist,” said CPHM Director and Curator, Betsy Millard. The exhibition will be on view from July 27 through Oct. 5.

Joseph Edward Knowles (1869-1942) was one of the North Beach Peninsula’s most eminent artists and prominent eccentrics of the first half of the 20th century. He was famous for a publicity stunt for the Boston Post newspaper, in which he entered the Maine woods in August 1913 without tools, dressed only in a loin cloth, emerging two months later dressed in a bearskin. The following year, the Boston American, a rival newspaper, debunked the story. No matter; Knowles had gained the notoriety he needed to launch a national tour of speaking engagements, publish a book, and sell his artwork.

Prior to his notoriety for adventure, Knowles was an illustrator whose work graced the cover of numerous periodicals. The “Golden Age” of illustration was in full swing and Knowles’ artwork fit right in. By the early 1920s Knowles had settled in Seaview, Washington where he made his living from his paintings, prints and commissioned works.

Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free on Thursdays thanks to the Port of Ilwaco. For more information call 360-642-3446 or visit

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