The historic Thornewood Castle in Lakewood,
Washington not only has a long and rich history,
it is also called home to several resident ghosts.
This magnificent three story manor home was built by Chester Thorne, one
of the founders of the Port of Tacoma. Taking almost four years to
complete, the 27,000 square foot manor was finally ready in 1911. Only the very best went into the building of the manor, including 400 year
old bricks from an original English castle.
Designed by famous architect, Kirkland Cutter, the crystal windows were
made in England and the stained glass panels date as far back as 1300. The English Tudor/Gothic mansion, having 54 rooms, including 28 bedrooms
and 22 baths, is one of the few genuine private castles in the United
Thorne was fascinated with the grandeur of
old English estates and the wealthy man was determined to reinvent his
own castle and dream house. Built to last through the centuries, Thornewood Castle has solid three-foot-thick foundations, 18 inch
floors of concrete and cinder, 10 inch walls, and hand hewn woodwork
from ancient English oak, held together by solid wood dowels. Three ships had to be commissioned to transport the original bricks,
wood and windows around Cape Horn to the Pacific Northwest.
After the house was built Thorne hired
a landscape architectural firm that turned 37 of the estate’s 100
acres into formal English gardens that required a full-time staff of
28 gardeners. Inside, the staff included 40 servants to look
after the needs of Chester, his wife, Anna, and their daughter Anita.
Over the years, the house hosted many fine
garden parties and dinners with the likes of Presidents Theodore
Roosevelt and William Howard Taft among some of the guests.
the wealthy banker and businessman died on October 16, 1927, after
having enjoyed his home for over a decade and making significant
contributions to the Seattle/Tacoma area. Anna Thorne was
elected to the board of directors of her husband’s bank, and continued
to oversee her husband’s philanthropic efforts in the community, as
well as the mansion and gardens. By that time, their daughter had
married Cadwallader Corse and the couple, along with their son, also
lived in the large manor.
Later, the pair would divorce and Anita
remarried Major General David C. Stone. When Stone was
transferred to the Panama Canal Zone, Anna found Thornewood to be to
big and lonely and moved to a smaller Georgian home that she had built
at the corner of North 5th Avenue and D Street in Tacoma. When the Stones returned to Thornewood, Anna also returned to the
castle, dying peacefully in 1954.
When General Stone passed away in 1959, Anita
sold the house and grounds to Harold St. John, who subdivided the land for
30 home sites. Just over four acres were reserved for the mansion, along
with 110 feet of the lake front. Over the next several years the house
was sold several times until it was purchased by current owners, Wayne and
Deanna Robinson in 2000.
historic castle is said to host a number of spirits that refuse to leave,
either for their love of the manor or for the tragedies that occurred over
its long history. The most prevalent sighting is that of Chester
Thorne himself, who has reportedly made several appearances over the
years. In what was his former room, light bulbs are often found to
Others have reported seeing Anna, Chester’s
wife, sitting in the window seat of her room, overlooking the garden. Anna’s room is now the bridal suite which contains an original mirror from
her time, where guest have reported seeing her reflection.
Reportedly, the grandchild of a former
owner drowned in the lake and occasionally guests have seen a small child
standing alone by the lake, only to rush down and find no one there.
Now on the National Register of Historic
Places, the castle now serves as a gracious country inn that has been
lovingly restored, offering all the modern conveniences of modern lodging. The land also presents its guests the opportunity to roam the
grounds, a lovely ˝ acre sunken English garden, and fishing, swimming and
boating on the American Lake.
Appropriately, Thornewood Castle served as the site for the filming of
Stephen King’s mini-series "Rose Red” in 2002.