The Walker-Ames Haunted House – Rachel’s Inspiration for Grave Danger

IMG_8412I recently attended a ghost tour of the historic logging town Port Gamble, Washington. The town was the inspiration for the setting of my book, Grave Danger, and I was particularly excited that as part of the tour, we were able to enter the Walker-Ames house, which was my model for the Montgomery Mansion. This was my second tour of the house, but the first late at night, with a group of people hoping to run into a ghost or two. Sadly (or thankfully, depending on your point of view) we didn’t meet any specters, but I was able to take some pictures of the interior of the gorgeous old house.

IMG_8416The house was pitch-dark during the tour (since we were looking for ghosts) so I couldn’t actually see what I was taking a picture of–had no idea how bright the wallpaper was, and objects will be off-center in some shots. The daylight shots of the exterior were taken at another time.

In the book Libby stands on the porch and looks over the town, imagining how Lyle felt when living there. Later, Mark has a conversation with Jason on the porch.

IMG_8378Upon entry into the house, there is an enclosed vestibule and then an interior door into the front hall. This second photo is the interior door, taken during the ghost tour.

IMG_8422IMG_8376Next is the entry hall, with center hearth. The stairway shot following is to the right of the hearth. In Grave Danger, this is the first room Libby enters and is disappointed to take in the cold, empty room, which could be warm and inviting, given the stained-glass windows above the stairs and rich woodwork of the staircase.

IMG_8371The curved windows are in the round room to the left of the entryway, and the next photo is of the hearth in that room. This is the room where Libby interviews the elder Montgomery family members.


The house is utterly gorgeous and it would be wonderful to see it fixed up in all its glory, except then people would live there and I wouldn’t getΒ to go on ghost tours and take pictures, and be inspired.


So, tell me, have you ever been on a ghost tour? Or is there a particular tour you’d like to go on? I’m giving away a print copy of Grave Danger and a magnet with a picture of the Walker-Ames house to one commenter.

About Rachel Grant

Archaeologist Rachel Grant writes romantic suspense where archaeology, politics, and war collide.

Posted on October 29, 2013, in Halloween, Rachel Grant and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.

  1. When we were in Williamsburg there were ghost tours but we didn’t have enough time to go on it but it did look interesting.

  2. I just love seeing the “Montgomery Mansion” brought to life, Rachel! I can just see Libby interviewing family members and being threatened.
    I’ve been on a ton of haunted tours. Since my husband is from Charleston, SC, we’ve walked through all of those homes looking for ghosts. Also in Savannah and New Orleans. But near our house here in Virginia, we’ve gone on the paranormal tours of Oatlands Plantation which dates back to the earliest Virginia charter in the late sixteen hundreds. So scary my daughter bailed on the tour and I had to run outside to find her in the dark!

    • Thanks, Sharon! It was fun to be inside the house again and envision those pivotal scenes in a real place.

      Those ghost tours sound amazing. And I totally understand your daughter’s reaction. My son would do the same thing. πŸ™‚

      Our concept of “old” is very different here on the West Coast. Port Gamble was founded in the 1850s, making it one of the oldest white settlements in the Pacific Northwest, yet at 160 years old, the age is nothing in comparison to East Coast settlements, which of course, are nothing in comparison to European villages.

      When I worked in the DC area, the archaeologists there would make fun of us in the West for recording 100-year-old tin can scatters as “historic sites.” It was very Crocodile Dundee – “You call that an historic site? Now this is an historic site…”

    • Sharon: I’ll have to check out Oatlands before we leave Virginia. I’ve only been to the plantation for cross country meets. πŸ˜‰

  3. I’m to much of a chicken to go on one!

    • The Port Gamble Tour ended up being very tame – no ghosts greeted us at all. But it did have the potential to be scary. I think I was both relieved and disappointed in the lack of paranormal activity. πŸ™‚

  4. Rachel: I’ve never been on a ghost tour, but I love going through old houses. It was fun to see the inspiration for the Montgomery Mansion. I can definitely imagine all of those scenes there. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks, Gwen! I love touring old houses too. The first house I ever lived in was built during the Civil War in the Bay Area in California. It had been a stage coach stop, and was a speakeasy during prohibition. I haven’t been back since I was 7 years old, but would love to see it now.

      • How cool! I’ve never lived in a house with much history. Other than our base apartments in Germany–which had old servants’ quarters in the attic–every place I’ve lived was built no earlier than the 70s.

  5. I have not been to a ghost tour but have been to two plantation tours in New Orleans, and let me tell you, they might as well have been called ghost tours because they were creepy. As soon as you enter the house you just get goosebumps. You automatically have that feeling something unnatural is around you. Still, Even with the creepiness I still thought they were beautiful.

    • Oh, I would love to tour old homes in New Orleans! And I agree, plantation tours can be plenty creepy in broad daylight. I toured one in Virginia or Maryland years ago and felt sick at seeing the slave quarters. But I think it’s also an important reminder.

  6. Neat blog post, Rachel! It’s such a beautiful, bright and friendly looking house, hard to believe dark and spooky things live in there. πŸ™‚

    I went on a Jack-the-Ripper tour through London about 20 years ago. All I remember is it was an excruciatingly long walk in cold, blustery weather. The tour guide was amusing and descriptive but it was real hard to ‘visualize’ new condos and chic stores being old ale houses in bad neighborhoods.

  7. No, I haven’t

  8. Old Town in Alexandria, Virginia has a ghost tour that I’ve never quite managed to go on. While you were in DC, Rachel, did you? It sounds fun. A colonial-clad tour guide with a old fashioned lantern takes you on a walking tour of the historic district while regaling you with tales of murder, mystery, and George Washington, and then abandons you in a graveyard.

  9. You brought the setting of your book to life and it looks awesome! I love all things supernatural, but have never actually taken a tour.

    The closest I’ve come is parking outside Michael Meyers’ home (from Halloween) in Pasadena. THAT was creepy enough! I’d love to take a cemetery or voodoo tour in New Orleans, however! πŸ˜‰

  10. I would love to go on the Gettysburg ghost trail tour.

  11. Great pictures! I was just in the Walker-Ames house this past Saturday. My friend, William Becker, was having a “Haunted Hot Spots- Finding Your Psychic Voice” class there. Very beautiful house! It was amazing to explore!

    You asked about ghost tours. I am from the very historic town of Oregon City, OR, and have been on ghost tours many times there. William is one of the tour guides along with my friend, Rocky. Awesome tours! I have learned so much about the fascinating history of Oregon City by taking these tours. I highly recommend them if you are ever in or near Oregon City. If you want more info. about them, check out or

    I have also been on ghost tours in Seattle which were also very fun & fascinating!

    Holly S.

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