10 May 2021

RANDOM Times •

To survive, you must tell stories…(“,)

The decaying beauty of the Winderbourne mansion (for sale)

3 min read

Sometimes people are surprised to learn just how many abandoned places there are in Maryland. From ghost towns to asylums, the Old Line State is full of secret spots that have long been forgotten. But probably this place is among the most interesting.

Winderbourne Mansion is a victorian-era house built in 1884 by Enoch and Mary Totten.
Enoch Totten was a Civil War veteran and a prominent Washington lawyer, shot four times at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House (with a minie ball passed through his right hand after ricocheting off his saber.)
The Tottens lived in Washington but desired a summer home to escape the city’s terrific heat.
The money to build the house came from Mary, who was extremely wealthy because her father, Timothy Howe, was a senator of Wisconsin and the cousin and heir of Elias Howe, known for perfecting the sewing machine. The mansion took its name from one of Elias’s inventions: the bobbin winder.
Originally, Winderbourne was painted pink, with dark rose trim. The Tottens had a love for gardening, and staffed gardeners all over the year to maintain the exotic plants they imported from around the world.

On current days many locals believe the house to be haunted, in part because of the immense tragedy that happened there: all three of the Totten children contracted Typhoid fever, likely from drinking contaminated water, and one of the children died for this reason. Another daughter, Edith Totten, who became a doctor, adopted a daughter of her own who died after sliding down a long banister in the house and likely falling off. Edith herself dropped dead at age 48 after delivering a lecture at Johns Hopkins University.
In 1929, the house saw a change of ownership to Edward and Beulah Pickrell. Edward was a policeman with the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad. Their son, Edward Pickrell Jr., inherited the house and stayed there until his death in 2004. His brother Paxton Pickrell has been attempting to sell the long decaying property for years to no avail.
The house is currently abandoned and has no plans of restoration, but apparently it is still for sale.
The property is located right up against Black Hills regional park with a great view of the waters of Seneca Lake, and it crumbles more and more each day, from the exterior to the interior. Old furniture, knick-knacks, letters, magazines, and clothing rest where they were left, while the walls crumble around them.