• A Sudden Light Interior

Timber Baron Estates

The Carson Mansion

The Carson Mansion in Eureka, CA.
Photo courtesy http://www.ingomar.org/

I grew up in a neighborhood called Innis Arden, just north of the Seattle city limit. The area had been owned previously by William Boeing, the founder of the the airplane manufacturing company, and he used it as his hunting grounds; in the fifties, it was developed into a community. Boeing, himself, lived in a wealthy enclave called The Highlands, where many of Seattle’s richest citizens had mansions. When I was a kid growing up across the street from Boeing Creek (or “Hidden Creek” as we called it), I often would explore the woods and look up at the mansions on the hill opposite the creek and wonder who lived in them. I guess those wonderings impressed me, because I modeled The North Estate on The Highlands.

The Highlands are twelve miles north of the downtown area of Seattle. Its founders had wanted a true “links” golf course in Seattle, of the kind one would find in Scotland, and so the wide open space of a few hundred acres of clear-cut land was perfect. They agreed that the area was far enough away from town that no one would bother them (now it is in the city of Seattle), so they built their golf course, The Seattle Golf Club, and then drew straws to determine which building lot they won to build their summer homes—and these were very grand summer homes indeed! Some of the most magnificent mansions still exist in The Highlands, which is a gated community and very exclusive—you can see the area by satellite view on Google Maps, but you can’t get a street view!


From A Sudden Light

page 214-215.
“Riddell House stands on two hundred four acres,” Richard said, sweeping his hand across the horizon. “That’s sizable acreage for a single-family dwelling. When Elijah built this place, there weren’t any other houses for miles. It had been clear-cut and nobody wanted it. Elijah had his city house and what he called his north estate—right here—where he entertained the high society of Seattle. It wasn’t until later that the other rich people started to build around Riddell House, hoping some of Elijah’s stature would rub off on them. They used the moniker The North Estate for the gated community.”

More about timber baron estates

  • King County Landmarks: William E. Boeing House King County Landmarks: William E. Boeing House

    In 1909, Boeing purchased several lots in The Highlands, a gated residential community located on a wooded bluff overlooking Puget Sound. His expansive Mediterranean Revival residence was completed in 1914.

  • The Carson Mansion - Redwood Riches in Northern CaliforniaThe Carson Mansion – Redwood Riches in Northern California

    William Carson came to Humboldt County to discover gold. He found his fortune in Redwood!

  • The HighlandsThe Highlands

    I grew up in Innis Arden, a community just north of the Seattle city limit. It is also just north of the exclusive gated community known as The Highlands, on which I based the fictionalized setting of A Sudden Light

  • Grey Towers Pinchot EstateGrey Towers Pinchot Estate

    Rising above the small town of Milford in northeastern Pennsylvania is Grey Towers, a national historic site operated by the U.S. Forest Service. It is the family home of Gifford Pinchot, the first chief of the U.S. Forest Service and a two-term governor of the Keystone State.


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