One of a pair of statues guarding the gate to Wardner's Castle
Wardner's Castle today, and...
over a century ago.
If you do a Google search for Wardner's Castle in Bellingham, WA, the top results will be: as a bed-and-breakfast, as a major historical home, and as a widely-believed-haunted house.
Wardner's Castle was designed by architect Kirtland Cutter and built in 1889 for Jim Wardner, who lived in Fairhaven for only two years but during that time invested in the Bloedel-Donovan coal mine, founded a waterworks, an electric company, the Samish Lake Logging and Milling Company, Fairhaven National Bank, and-- rumor has it-- the infamous Eliza Island Consolidated Black Cat Company. Busy guy.
The web search on this home is downright comical in the abundance of information, and I could spend all day researching and writing about it, but I already have a five-year-old pestering me-- I mean um, cheerfully asking me-- for her breakfast, so that project is doubtful. Instead, here are some interesting links I've found which, should you have no pestering five-year-olds of your own, you should check out.
Click here to read a blog post by Taylor, a local ghost-hunting girl, about the creepy side of Wardner's Castle. Please note that I don't know her sources. However, as far as local-legend stuff goes, everything she writes about is widely believed to be true. I remember my high school paper (Sehome High School, and the paper was called The Rising Tide, but who knows what it's called now) did an article on the house in the mid-90's and had many of the same pictures of the murals.
Click here for a blog post by Brandon Nelson, a local real estate agent who showed the home to prospective buyers in March 2010. He has some pictures of the interior included. I don't know if it was sold to these buyers or some others, but it was recently purchased by somebody who is now doing a lot of work-- when I walked by last week it was empty and there was a lot of plaster and drywall lying around.
Click here for a short "official" history of the home on the City of Bellingham website.
Click here for a longer history of James F. Wardner himself from the Skagit Journal. This article has several more interesting relevant links included. See why you could spend all day on this?
Lastly, click here for an article, also from the Skagit Journal, about the legendary Consolidated Black Cat Company. It's a fun read.
All right, you guys have fun. I've got breakfast to get on the table!