In Washington’s Port Townsend, the historic Grand Dame is for sale and asking $1.5M

Written by MLHA Team

September 22, 2021

The mansion is 5,796 square feet on a corner lot very close to the Port Townsend Bay. 

Built in 1889, the Starret House, or the “Grand Dame” of Port Townsend is a spectacular Victorian resting at 744 Clay Pl. — just a few blocks from the Port Townsend Bay. You could be the next to call the Grand Dame your lady, for the price of $1.5 million. 

The home was built by George Starrett for he and his bride, Ann Van Bokklen. George Starrett was a contractor, originally from Maine, and his considerable skills helped create a national architectural treasure. The building is in Queen Anne style, with a unique and noteworthy free-standing spiral stairway that still remains, one of the few 19th century examples of this design feature that has survived to 2021.

Megan Ockerman of the Society of Archtiectural Historicans wrote: “The brick and wood Ann Starrett House was built for $6,000 with an interior featuring twelve-foot ceilings and interior moldings with lions, doves, and ferns. It also features a free-floating, spiral staircase with two complete turns, which the Smithsonian Institution believes to be the last of its kind in America.”

Starrett was ahead of his time in many ways, including installing central heating in the home, an unusual feature in  homes of the late 1800s. According to listing agent Teri Nomura, while George Starrett designed the mansion, Ann Starrett designed the interiors. And one or both of the Starretts are responsible for the bold frescos atop the mansion’s tower.

“Images of the four seasons in the image of Ann and the four virtues feature a nearly naked ‘winter’ that scandalized the Victorians; some women would not enter the house,” Nomura told the SeattlePI.

The Starrett House now operates as a bed and breakfast, which it could continue to be for its next owners. Or, it could make for one very impressive single-family home. The chance to write the next chapter in the Grand Dame’s history could be yours. 

Keep scrolling to take a tour. 

The Queen Anne Victorian details have been proudly preserved on this historic abode. 

From the entry, we see the free hung staircase begin its ascent. 

The stairs wind between the home’s levels. 

The fresco anchors the staircase as it curves around the 70-foot tower. 

The staircase. 

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Anna Marie Erwert writes from both the renter and new buyer perspective, having (finally) achieved both statuses. She focuses on national real estate trends, specializing in the San Francisco Bay Area and Pacific Northwest. Follow Anna on Twitter: @AnnaMarieErwert. 

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