A Love Story

The “house that love built" continues to this day to enchant visitors from far and wide. Part of the Thornewood story is how Chester Thorne built the castle, and especially its gardens, as a gift to his wife, Anna Thorne.

They had been married for just over 20 years when construction of Thornewood began. Positioned on the shores of American Lake, with views of Mount Rainier, Chester Thorne picked an ideal Pacific Northwest landscape to locate this standing legacy.

Chess, as he was called by friends and relatives retained Kirtland Kelsey Cutter as the architect to design the raising of this "built to last" property.

Anna's Secret Garden

Anna called the sunken English garden, built especially for Anna, her “Secret Garden." The gardens were designed by the Olmsted Brothers and were nationally recognized in several national publications over the years. The Olmsted garden is a part of a Smithsonian Institute Heritage Exhibit. Nisqually Valley topsoil was hauled in to cover the grounds at Thornewood making for amazing garden growth.

The Thorne Family

The Thorne's lived in Thornewood with their daughter, Anita. The Thorne family and Thornewood were attended by 40 servants and 28 gardeners. When Anita married and had children, they continued to reside at Thornewood for many years.

The Thornes had been married 41 years and had three grandchildren when Chester Thorne died of illness at Thornewood on Sunday, October 16, 1927. Anna died peacefully in 1954, 27 years later.

37 of the estate's 100 acres were planted with formal English gardens as a gesture of love from husband to wife.

The current Thornewood estate sits on 4 acres, but still contains Anna's favorite “Secret Garden."