The spirits of 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 “A beautiful Victorian-style home with incredible Queen Anne architectural detailing.” It was built in 1889 on an 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 for a man who adored his wife. George added the most wonderful artistic additions to his house that are unique as they are beautiful. It was one of the first built on the west coast to have 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. Its structural design still stumps architects today, and they continue to wonder how it was built to be so sturdy. The crown jewel of the mansion, however, is the fabulous solarium, located in its eight-sided dome tower, dedicated to Ann, in a special way, described below in the “HISTORY” section.
By the numbers, this 5,796 sq ft mansion currently has eight bedrooms, fireplaces, 7.75 bathrooms, two stories, a finished and developed basement, and wonderful artistic additions that are as unique as they are beautiful. Current owners Bob and Edil Sokol made a lot of improvements and added several restoration projects. They put in bathrooms and fireplaces from the time period, and added bedrooms in the basement, among many other renovations. They also carefully restored patterns of the original wallpaper, art frieze and other projects throughout the 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 furnishings; the handiwork 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 travel back in time, as if the Starrett family had just stepped out for a walk.
In 1893 George Starrett, a very successful contractor, found the love of his life, Ann, fell deeply in love with her, and was inspired to build the Queen Ann Mansion. No expense was spared, as the mansion was a monument, made as his way to express his love for her.
The crowning tribute to her can be seen through the decor of the mansion’s unique, eight-sided dome tower! Starrett hired New York artist George Chapman to design and implement a solar calendar for this interior space, using Ann’s likeness to depict “The Four Seasons,” and the “Four Virtues,” in the calendar. Chapman created “Frescoes of angelic maidens painted in Ann’s image,” to represent each of the four seasons and the virtues.
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 Ann.
George Starrett spent 6,000 dollars in building the mansion, quite a chunk of change in 1899! He and Ann fully enjoyed their beautiful new abode, 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 here as well, until it was decided to put the mansion on the real estate market.
A motivated couple, Bob and Edil Sokol, bought the mansion and turned it into an upscale, 1889 Victorian boutique bed and breakfast hotel, adding bathrooms and fireplaces from other homes of the same era. With the help of a local Starrett family member, they even restored the original wall paper.
Moving onto the Carriage House, the Sokols added bedrooms 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, they temporarily closed the 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, and hired two people to be the day and night Innkeeper to continue with the business.
As of 2013, this magnificent home is still for sale, waiting for just the right owner. 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 four 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 owners. Historic mansions have been transformed into art galleries, rental spaces for events, restaurants, hotels and bed and breakfast establishments, all while allowing the owners to live upstairs, depending on local zoning laws.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
People who have 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 there.
People who have really loved their old jobs, and received a lot of fulfillment from their duties in life, often don’t want to let the fact that they are dead and in spirit form stop them from continuing on, helping the living, or reliving their work responsibilities. They become unseen staff members to the living owners, willing to volunteer their services – or opinions – to the living!
The 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, was perhaps not afraid to confront negative thinking, snarky comments, and had a willingness to bring her values into her work. She was probably a staunch defender of Mr. and Mrs. Starrett, and a loyal, appreciated servant.
The 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 through 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 its many rooms.
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.
A 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 the mansion, 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.
In once incident, one of the Ann Starrett Mansion’s two Innkeepers was outside of the mansion, walking toward it, assuming it was locked and empty.
Looking up, she suddenly, she saw a red-haired woman, from the waist up, on the free-standing stairway, admiring the solar calendar.
Interestingly, the Innkeeper saw only half of a person, though the windows on the stairs would’ve shown any real person head to toe, as the windows are full length.
Of course, when the concerned Innkeeper rushed inside, no one living was seen there, though an unseen presence may well have been.
The 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. Staff working late-nights have seen the shadow of a female form in 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 them on after exiting 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 other spirits 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! Pictures have been lifted off their posts, so that they fall to the ground.
She has thumped some visitors on the head for verbal offenses, such as:
Criticism of the bed and breakfast, or the owners or Innkeeper. It is best not to whine while 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 takes a dim view on occasion of unmarried people sleeping together! 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, a man and a woman, spending the night in the master bedroom in the off-season, nearly got the full sports package. Upon entering the Mansion, the young woman, perhaps a sensitive, sensed 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 an opened Bible sitting on the table by the fainting couch.
Suddenly, a page turned by itself. No drafts or wind were felt in the room.
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 no hard evidence has been recorded or shared with the public, there have been a lot of personal experiences reported, ever since Bob and Edil Sokol, the first owners outside the family descendants, bought the property.
It may be that no one has been allowed in for an investigation because they don’t want to upset the spirits. A private investigation may have taken place though when the new owners first discovered 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 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