The Starrett Family still visit their forever home.
Their son’s former nanny is the “Most Interactive spirit.”
The Ann Starrett Mansion, “THE GRANDEST BON BON OF THEM ALL”, is described as being “A beautiful Victorian-style home with incredible Queen Anne architectural detailing.” It was built in 1889 on a 8,000 sq ft. lot, inspired by a love between a couple, George and Ann Starrett.
This 1899 Queen Anne beauty was a true labor of love of a man who adored his wife. George added the most wonderful artistic additions that are unique as they are beautiful. This mansion was one of the first built on the west coast with forced air heating. The woodwork decor throughout the house is amazing. The free-standing staircase that coils up in the entrance hall, just inside the lobby is a real work of art, and wasn’t built like the normal staircase of the era. It’s structural design still stumps architects today, wondering how it was built to be so sturdy. The crown jewel of the mansion, however, is the fabulous solar solarium; located in its eight-sided dome tower, dedicated to Ann, in a special way, described below in the “HISTORY” section.
This 5,796 sq ft mansion currently has 8 bedrooms, fireplaces, 7.75 bathrooms, 2 stories, with a finished and developed basement, with the most wonderful artistic additions that are unique as they are beautiful. Bob and Edil Sokol did a lot of improvements and restoration projects. They put in bathrooms, and fireplaces from the time period, and added bedrooms in the basement, among other many renovations. They also carefully restored patterns of the original wallpaper, art frieze and other projects throughout this mansion.
Tom and I were allowed to tour the first floor, and were quite impressed with all the antiques and finery of the original and restored artistic touches; the handy-work of local artisans, such as the restored stencils on the walls, and the entrance hall. The owners’ antiques, when added to the wonderful Queen Anne/Victorian ambiance and design, help visitors step back into time, as if the Starrett family just stepped out for a walk.
In 1893, a very successful contractor, George Starrett found the love of his life, Ann, fell deeply in love with her, and was inspired to build a glorious Queen Ann Mansion for his own beloved queen Ann, in 1899! No expense was spared, as he built this mansion as a monument, expressing his love for her, that is made evident in a very special way.
The crowning tribute to Ann can be seen through the decor of the mansion’s unique, eight-sided dome tower! George Starrett hired the very creative New York artist George Chapman to design and implement a solar calendar for this inside space, using “Ann’s likeness” to depict “The Four Seasons,” and “Four Virtues,” in this solar calendar. George Chapman created “Frescoes of angelic maidens painted in Ann’s image,” to represent each of the four seasons and the virtues.
George Chapman also installed Ruby-colored glass in each of the tower’s small dormer windows. When the sunlight shines through the ruby red glass, on the first day of each of the four seasons, a ruby red light shines directly on George Starrett’s image of his angelic beloved, Ann, that so beautifully represents each season, “recalling George’s passion for Ann, the woman he loved.”
George Starrett spent 6,000 dollars in building this much adored mansion; quite a chunk of change in 1899! George and Ann Starrett fully enjoyed their beautiful new mansion, and lived there all their lives. Their one son, Edward Morris Starrett (1894-1981), and his no-nonsense nanny also lived there. Throughout the years, descendants lived at this family home, until it was decided to put the mansion on the real estate market.
A motivated couple, Bob and Edil Sokol bought this grand old Queen Anne home, and with a boatload of investment money turned the mansion into an upscale, 1889 Victorian boutique bed and breakfast hotel, “The Ann Starrett Mansion,” adding bathrooms and fireplaces that came from homes of the same era. With the help of area Starrett family member, they even restored the original type of wall paper.
Moving onto the Carriage House, they added bedrooms there for their guests as well. They also bought the home across the street and expanded their establishment, adding hot tubs to the rooms offered there.
Around 2005, Bob and Edil Sokol temporarily closed their bed and breakfast. When they reopened, they had stopped serving breakfast, but still ran the Ann Starrett Mansion as a boutique hotel. At some point, they needed to retire, so they put their property on the market, while hiring two people to be the day and night Innkeeper to continue on with the hotel business.
Today, as of 2013, this magnificent home is still for sale, waiting for just the right owner to buy this property. It is being sold as a family residential home, not a commercial property, probably without the antiques as they are the personal property of the Sokol family. What a family home this glorious 4 story mansion would be. Perhaps it could also be reopened as a commercial property of some sort, depending on the imagination and determination of the future new owners. Historic mansions have been transformed into art galleries, a rental space for events, restaurants, hotels and bed and breakfast establishments, while allowing the owners to live upstairs, depending on local zoning laws.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
People who truly loved their home while alive, like to visit and stay in the structure in their afterlife.
The entities of George and Ann Starrett and /or perhaps their descendants or others who lived here love to visit their former mansion, reliving all their great memories in their home.
People who really loved their job, and received a lot of fulfillment from their duties, often don’t want to let the fact that they are dead and in spirit form stop them from continuing on, by helping the living, or reliving their work responsibilities; becoming an unseen staff member to the living owners, willing to volunteer their services – or opinions – to the living!
Female entity of the Starrett’s Nanny – Is still on the payroll it seems! While alive, she took pride in helping to raise young Edward, making things as positive as possible, perhaps not afraid to confront negative thinking, snarky comments, bringing her values into her work. She probably was a staunch defender of Mr. and Mrs. Starrett, and was a loyal, appreciated servant.
Female Entity with Red Hair
Thought perhaps to be Ann Starrett herself or another female descendant, as the Starrett family lived here for many years and several generations.
This female entity is described as having red hair, and being a very peaceful, welcoming spirit who likes to just enjoy the mansion, perhaps acting like a hostess to the living, wanting all to be warm and cozy, and welcomed.
The living have felt a welcoming, warm aura and feeling when entering the mansion, and throughout the structure.
Her female form has been seen by guests and staff. Probably, she quietly floats around the home, as well as perhaps stopping to admire the solar calendar, a testimony to love.
Male Entity – Thought to be George Starrett
It is commonly thought that in eternity, George and Ann are together most of the time. If she is visiting, he may come with her. Or it could be someone else who loved the mansion too.
Not much is reported about him, just that a male presence is sensed, and that he enjoys visiting his home with his beloved. He seems to be at peace, and a very mellow person in spirit form.
One of the Ann Starrett Mansion’s two Innkeepers was outside of the mansion, walking toward the locked up, an empty mansion, or so she thought.
Looking up, she suddenly, she saw a red-haired woman, from the waist up, standing on the free-standing stairway, admiring the solar calendar.
Interestingly, the Innkeeper saw only 1/2 of a person, though the windows on the stairs would’ve shown any real person head to toe, as the windows are full length windows.
Of course, when the concerned Innkeeper rushed inside, no one living was seen there; though an unseen presence may well of been.
Entity of the Nanny
Deemed to be the “Most interactive spirit.” She is the only spirit that interacts with the staff and guests, especially in her old bedroom on the second floor. Described as an older, austere, dignified, but well-mannered woman with some gray hair.
In her old bedroom, a built-in armoire with a gilded mirror, has shown a partial reflection of this Nanny, to both staff and guests who stay there. Staff working late-nights have seen a shadow of a female form in a Victorian attire glide up the stairs to the second floor.
The Nanny still loves her job, continuing on in her old duties:
She turns lights off when the living leave the lights on after leaving the room.
She still likes to stay in her old bedroom.
She watches the late-night staff as they work.
She keeps a close eye on visitors and guests, as they are strangers to her; not family descendants.
It is thought that it is she who lets visitors know that she is present in the grand parlor by gently tinkling the fine crystal on display, though it could also be any of the others as well.
Modern Duties for Nanny:
She has created an “atmosphere of displeasure,” when the living break the “house rules.” She sometimes causes physical events that the living can experience.
Folks who are not neat, and stay in her old room, may feel this displeasure, or experience other physical occurrences to get their attention to reform! Pictures have been lifted off their posts, so that they fall to the ground.
She has thumped some visitors on the head for negative verbal offenses, such as:
Criticism of the bed and breakfast, or the owners or Innkeeper; It is best not to whine while still inside the mansion about anything concerning the accommodations, the service or anything else.
Criticism of The Starrett family, or of the city of Port Townsend has also earned a thump as well.
Watch Your Morals
Perhaps, the Nanny may take a dim view on occasion of unmarried people sleeping together! Or Perhaps the Starretts do as well. (However, the Starretts when they visit seem to leave the living alone, and just enjoy their house and each other.)
One lucky, unmarried couple of a man and a woman, spending the night in the master bedroom, in the off-season, and nearly got the full sports package. Upon entering the Ann Starrett Mansion, the young woman, perhaps a sensitive, sensed the observation of an unseen presence. This could’ve been any of the spirits, but she felt some disapproval as well, which would point to the Nanny.
When they were discussing where to go that evening in their room, the lights mysteriously flickered, which could’ve been faulty wiring, or some other entity perhaps saying, “Hello!” Perhaps, someone was letting them know that they had unseen company; a chaperon of sorts!
Despite the fact that the windows were still sealed, and closed tight, and the heat had not yet been turned on for the cooler seasons, the young couple both felt chills and goose bumps whenever they went near the fainting couch. There was a Bible that was sitting on the table by the fainting couch in the room, opened.
Suddenly, a page turned by itself. No drafts or wind was felt in the room, as it was still.
During the night, the young man experienced “an eerie cold chill.” The canopy curtain began to shake violently for a moment. He loved the experiences, calling them, “experiences of a lifetime,” and hoped to return again.
While there is no hard evidence that has been recorded and shared with the public, there have been a lot of personal experiences reported, ever since Bob and Edil Sokol, the first owners who were outside the family descendants, bought the property until the present time.
While there have been many personal experiences reported and shared, no hard evidence from any investigation has been shared either publicly or on-line.
It may be that no one has been allowed in for an investigation because they didn’t want to upset the spirits. A private investigation may have taken place though when the new owners first discovered that they had unseen visitors and a live-in helper in spirit form.
The Ann Starrett Mansion made it into Jeff Dwyer’s book, Ghost Hunter’s Guide to Seattle and Puget Sound, as a place with these spirits as residents/visitors.
744 Clay Street
Port Townsend, WA 98368
Ann Starrett Mansion is located in the heart of the quiet Port Townsend uptown historic district, up on a hill overlooking the town, with glorious views of the Bay and Sound as well.
- Ghost Hunter’s Guide to Seattle and Puget Sound
By Jeff Dwyer
Pelican Publishing Company
- Ann Starrett Mansion page on FineTravel.com
- Ann Starrett Mansion page on TripAdvisor.com
- Ann Starrett Mansion page on CircaOldHouses.com
- “Spook-tacular ghost stories of the Peninsula,” by Paige Dickerson for PeninsulaDailyNews.com