Thornewood Castle is the most well-known of its kind in the state. Several movies have been filmed there, including the film adaptation of Stephen King’s “Rose Red.” But many people who spend the night or attend a wedding there never learn about its fairy tale history.
This castle is actually about 500 years old, and it’s known as “the house that love built.” One of the founders of Tacoma, Chester Thorne, purchased the 400-year-old Elizabethan manor in 1907 for his bride, Anna. He has the entire castle shipped from England brick by brick, to be included in the building of Thornewood.
Building the castle was just one of Chester Thorne’s many endeavors. He was a civic leader and a very significant figure in the Pacific Northwest. He and Anna had been married for 20 years when he had the castle built for her. They lived there for many years with their daughter, Anita. When Anita grew up and got married, she and her family lived at Thornewood too. Chester Thorne died at the castle in October of 1927 after 41 years of marriage to Anna, who died peacefully 27 years later.
Thornewood Castle is now a bed & breakfast and a well-loved wedding venue, in part because of its fairytale-like appearance. The entire castle has been renovated and restored, but it still retains a significant amount of its historic charm.
One of the most magical parts of the property is Anna’s Secret Garden, which was built especially for her by the Olmstead Brothers. The garden has been nationally recognized in several publications, and walking through it feels a little surreal.
Anna’s Suite is one of the most beautiful rooms in the castle. With its Victorian loungers, jetted tub, luxurious king-sized bed, ornate wall mirrors and views of the gardens, you’ll feel as if you’re in a fairytale when you stay here. And if you smell the distinct scent of lavender or catch a brief glimpse of a woman in the mirror, don’t worry… it’s probably just Anna herself making sure you’re comfortable. She and Chester are rumored to haunt the castle, but they’re very friendly spirits.
People who stay at the Thornewood Castle always have wonderful things to say. And if you ever walk through it yourself, you’ll understand why.