Other Local History

As an official historical site, we are always fascinated by local history and stories. Listed here is some information about the history of the area where Thornewood Castle is located and the Pacific Northwest.

The Lakewood Heritage (excerpts quoted from the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce)

Lakewood was called the Prairie in the beginning - an expanse of land about 20 miles square, dotted with small lakes and occasional stands of Oak and Douglas Fir trees. Steilacoom and Nisqually Indians held pow-wows on the Prairie - before the advent of the White hunters, trappers and settlers.

This abundant Nisqually Prairie, midway between the Columbia River and the city of Vancouver, BC, was chosen by the British as the site of one of its fur trading operations, the Hudson Bay Company, in 1833.

Immigrants began to arrive in covered wagons over Naches Pass in 1853 after Washington became a Territory and began to set up farming on the Prairie.

By the late 1800's Indians and settlers were learning to live together, sometimes holding joint celebrations in the summertime on the natural picnic grounds of the Prairie. Contests of horseback riding often accompanied a good old-fashioned salmon bake.

Eventually, many small communities on Puget Sound vied for the distinction of being the western terminus of the much-anticipated Northwest Pacific Railway. The selection of Tacoma was announced on July 14th, 1873.

The Tacoma Country and Golf Club was established in 1894 to further attract the rich and famous. The first golf club west of the Mississippi, it featured trolley transportation from Tacoma to the playground on the Prairie.

In time, many stately homes were built along the shorelines of area lakes (the Prairie), the most impressive being Thornewood, built on American Lake between 1909 and 1911. The Thorne Mansion, now renovated into a spectacular bed and breakfast, was once considered one of the most beautiful estates and gardens in the nation, and often attracted illustrious people of the early 1900s. Thornewood was featured in a Steven King mini-series, "Rose Red."

Click here to read full article of the above excerpts, at the Lakewood WA Chamber of Commerce history page (Written by Val Dumond).

Local History Articles

Locomotive links DuPont to its past: "Nearly 95 years ago, the DuPont Explosive Co. began manufacturing the dynamite that would be used to develop the Pacific Northwest...."

Adding some blue to the greens: History of the Tacoma Country & Golf Club, originally adjoined to the Thornewood estate.

The Chester Thorne Cup: Tacoma heirloom; Historic trophy: Pacific Northwest prize has been passed around since 1895.