Chester Thorne, 1863-1927

The founder of Thornewood Castle, Chester Thorne, was a significant figure in the history of the Pacific Northwest. Building Thornewood Castle was only one of his many endeavors. He arrived in Tacoma, Washington in 1890, and became one of the leading figures in the local industry and community, including founding the Port of Tacoma. He was also known for his genial nature, deliberate mind, and indomitable spirit.

Building Thornewood Castle

Thorne spent his life as a civic leader moving foward the development of the Pacific Northwest region. With this industrious nature, it is not surprising that he decided to build his own castle, right in the heart of the area to which he had devoted his life and career.

His fascination with the grandeur of "the old English estate" led him to design his dream house using the Tudor Gothic style. With the help of architect Kirtland Kelsey Cutter, he converted this dream into this once-in-a-lifetime estate.

Thorne collected materials from across the British Isles to build his home, transported by three ships down the Atlantic around Cape Horn (the southernmost point of South America) and back up the Pacific to Washington State.

From the Tacoma Times, October 17, 1927

"He was one of this city’s best loved men, a great leader in industrial and civic enterprises, a true friend to hundreds in all walks of life. He was the father of the Port of Tacoma and to it he gave much of his time during the later years of his life, serving as Port Commissioner."

From the Seattle Post Intelligencer, October 18, 1927

"Thirty-seven years ago he took a place in that fast-growing city’s financial life. He was not long in rising to leadership, which he maintained to the end. His interests were broad, evenly balanced between private business and promotion of civic enterprises. His activities resulted in acquirement of a large personal fortune, but his wise direction probably contributed a much vaster amount in the enrichment of his city. He was truly a pioneer in founding the business structure of Puget Sound. "

More Historical Information on Chester Thorne

Chester Thorne was born in 1863. He died in 1927 of an illness. He was survived by his wife, Anna, his only daughter, Anita, and three grandchildren.

He graduated from Yale University in 1884 with a degree in engineering.

He was the president of The National Bank of Commerce in Tacoma for 34 years.

He helped found the Port of Tacoma and was deeply involved in many projects dealing with the development of the Pacific Northwest.