Historic house of many names
January 2, 2009 · 8:06 AM
By JON SAYER
For the Review
When a house has been home for the likes of a well-known or wealthy family, it will usually be identified with that family for the rest of time. This can be confusing when a place has seen as many historic clans as the big red house on Bergman Road overlooking Manzanita Bay. Depending on who you ask it could be called the Magner Estate, the Westinghouse-Lindbergh Estate or just the Lindbergh House.
It’s a home with a special story that has touched three historic families over the 100 years of its existence. It is currently owned by Barbara and Richard Ramsey.
The house was built in 1908 by Seattle Yacht Club Commodore Robert Magner. He built the home over Manzanita Bay so he could watch the sailboat races that held around the island in those days.
When Magner and his wife separated, she remained in the Bainbridge Island home with their two sons. Barbara Ramsey said Magner went on to found a California forerunner to Triple-A and build the first motor home.
The house saw its second famous family in 1928. George Westinghouse III, son of industrialist George Westinghouse Jr., who developed the alternating-current (AC) electrical system we use today, bought the home in large part due to its relative isolation. He was trying to protect his family from kidnappers that commonly abducted children of the rich in the early 20th century.
The Westinghouses upgraded the estate by adding an extra wing before fleeing in 1936 when they heard of a kidnapping in Tacoma.
Jon Lindbergh, son of Charles Lindbergh, the first man to fly a plane across the Atlantic, and his wife, Barbara, bought the home in 1964 and raised their family here.
Many legends abound of the 20 years the Lindberghs lived here. The Ramseys said Jon may have attempted to raise east-coast lobsters in the basement, a possibility hinted to by a wood carving that held the image of lobsters and was installed in the kitchen by the Lindberghs. Richard Ramsey also said grandfather Charles received a phone call at the house from President Nixon in 1969, letting him know that Apollo 11 landed on the moon.
The Lindberghs sold the home in 1984 and it passed through two owners until the Ramseys came upon it in 1996. At 100 years old, the Ramsey believe it may still has some history ahead of it.
“A lot of houses you don’t walk in it and think, ‘Boy, this will be standing in a hundred years,’” Barbara Ramsey said, “but this one will easily be standing a hundred years from now.”