Where's There?

Autarch Mansion

A huge mansion of black stone with gargoyles and other strange decorations sprouting from its clifflike sides that resides in the otherworldly dimension of the Autarchs [The Mansion in the Mist; 27].

This haunted house of some distant dimension gives off a garish vibe: it looks evil and, worse, its inhabitants are preparing to take over the real world. Headless statues parade about its garden and roots and shrubs twist and tackle those snooping around where they don’t belong. Nothing seems real to Anthony and, indeed, nothing is – except that Bellairs may have used some manor houses and grounds in Northern Island and Scotland for creating this awesome Autarch Mansion.


Baker Street

Vacationing in London, Lewis and Jonathan take in the sights of this infamous street, home of Sherlock Holmes [The Vengeance of the Witch-finder; 2-4].

Baker Street is a roadway in the City of Westminster in London, most famous for its connection to fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, who lived at a fictional 221B Baker Street address. At the time the Holmes stories were published addresses in Baker Street did not go as high as 221; author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle presumably chose such an address to prevent any person's actual residence from being affected by the stories. Baker Street was later extended and, in 1932. "221B" became home to bank – which had to hire a “Secretary to Sherlock Holmes” to answer the mounds of fan mail that arrived in droves.



Professor Childermass undergoes hypnosis as a way to figure out the “Crazy Annie” clue left by the ghost of his brother but pretends he underwent the treatment to remember important historical facts – such as who was the czar of this country in 972 [The Chessmen of Doom; 98].

Located in southeast Europe, the Republic of Bulgaria ranks as the 14th-largest country in Europe and had a population of over 7 Million people. Its capital city, Sofia, is the largest city and concentrates most commercial and cultural activities. The country preserves the traditions (in ethnic name, language, and alphabet) of the First Bulgarian Empire (Centuries 7 to 11), which at times covered most of the Balkans and spread its alphabet, literature and culture among the Slavic and other peoples of Eastern Europe. The reigning czar during 972 was Boris II – we looked it up, why didn’t you?


Cabot Tower

Johnny and Fergie observe this landmark during their layover in Bristol [The Secret of the Underground Room; 54].

Cabot Tower in Bristol was constructed in 1897 to honor John Cabot, 400 years after he set sail in the Matthew from Bristol and landed in what was later to become Canada. The 105-foot tall tower was constructed of sandstone and Bath stone in 1897. A similarly-named tower stands in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. That tower was built in 1898 to commemorate the John Cabot's discovery of Newfoundland, and Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.


Cumberland Valley

Mrs. Zimmermann tells the hospitable Weiss family that she and Rose Rita were looking for relatives in this region, rather than explain the mysterious time traveling muck-up [The Ghost in the Mirror; 50].

The Cumberland Valley is one in a chain of minor valleys that make up the Great Appalachian Valley, a gigantic trough 1,200 miles across the eastern North American continent. Located in south-central Pennsylvania, it is bounded to the west and north by Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians and to the east and south by South Mountain. Interestingly the Cumberland Mountains, seen earlier in the book [19], is a name given a mountain range in the southeastern section of the Appalachian Mountains, but located in West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee – essentially not in the immediate Pennsylvania area.


Fitzwilliam Inn

Professor Childermass and Johnny stay in this historic inn while visiting New Hampshire [The Spell of the Sorcerer's Skull; 3-5].

The Fitzwilliam Inn was known as The Goldsmith Tavern when it was first built in 1793, a stopping point for stage coach passengers traveling from Boston to locales throughout New England and beyond. By 1843 it was the Cheshire Hotel, a respected landmark for anyone stopping at the local train depot. Numerous changes kept the inn competitive with the times. Despite the inn's popularity, it wasn't until 1959 that it began year-round operation. Soon after, in the 1970's, Sunday afternoon concerts became the entertainment of choice during the winter months. These concerts have remained a winter staple for both locals and travelers even through today.


Five Dials

Prospero ventures into this seemingly innocent village where he stays the night at the local inn, The Card Player. Following a horrific encounter during the night, Prospero flees and eventually stumbles upon a similarly-named inn [The Face in the Frost; 86, 96-7]

One of Prospero’s most memorable encounters takes place in Five Dials, a Southern Kingdom stopover that seems welcoming to weary travelers such as our hero. As one quickly discovers, things are not what they appear in the dials. This village features a mystifying five-sided clock tower that may have historical antecedents on a six-faced pillar in the West End of London. Five Dials Inn stands in the west England village of Horton – a part of the country Bellairs was familiar with from his many overseas visits.



Having been given 24 hours to prove his existence, Sir Bertram wanders the land until he comes to this road winding “through country vaguely reminiscent of northern Indiana” [The Pedant and the Shuffly; 30-1].

As an undergraduate, Bellairs traveled from South Bend to Chicago frequently, always passing through the industrial hotbed of Gary, Indiana – known for not being the most picturesque place in the country. In the fall of 1960 Bellairs returned to Gary to teach at Indiana University. Dale Fitschen recalls driving Bellairs on the Indiana Toll Road, inspiration (heh...) for the Hagway: “In winter, the sky was gray and the air yellow, miles of utility towers, polluted ponds, and blasted heath. Twere godawful on morale to pass that on the way to make an attempt at sprightly teaching.”


Hawaii House

An old house outside of New Zebedee, built by a retired sea captain who had ventured to the Hawaiian Islands [The House where Nobody Lived; 22].

The Hawaii House was built by Captain Abediah Chadwick for him and his young Hawaiian bride, the Princess Makalani. Its unique architecture undoubtedly influenced by the mansions Chadwick saw on his voyages of the South Seas, the house is mostly known for its solitary and secretive existence – until Lewis Barnavelt gets involved. Casually mentioned but a few times in Strickland’s novels, the house where nobody lived takes center stage once an unsuspecting family moves in.


Hoosac High School

Anthony prepares for the school’s science fair by using the chemistry lab here [The Lamp from the Warlock's Tomb; 12].

Anthony Monday has a small circle of friends – including red-haired Ted Hoopenbecker – that he associates with and who all attend Hoosac High School, where Anthony's tried out for the basketball team (something we can’t imagine Bellairs even considering any point in his life) and is now preparing for a science fair. It’s a big school with classrooms and offices and even a science lab and – most importantly – patterned after the third Marshall High School, where Bellairs graduated in 1955.



Rose Rita fights with her mother about not wanting to attend this summer camp [The Letter, the Witch, and the Ring; 4].

While nothing is written about Camp Kitch-itti-Kippi, it does share a name with Kitch-iti-kipi, Michigan’s largest natural freshwater spring; its name translates to “big cold water” and is often referred to as “The Big Spring.” Two hundred feet across, the forty foot deep, bowl-shaped spring gushes 10,000 gallons of water from its fissures every minute at a constant 45°F. The clear, spring-fed pond was discovered by John I. Bellaire, a resident of nearby Manistique, who could have purchased the beloved property for himself. Instead he wanted the land preserved for all to enjoy and in 1926 the State of Michigan purchased the land for $10, with the stipulation that the land "be forever used as a public park."


Michigan State Capitol Building

The description of Hercule Poirot’s egg-shaped head reminded Lewis of this building in Lansing [The Sign of the Sinister Sorcerer; 113].

The Michigan State Capitol building in Lansing, designed by renowned state capitol architect Elijah E. Myers, was completed in 1879. The third building to house the state’s government took six years to complete, stands 267 from ground-to-finial, and contains over nine acres of hand-painted surfaces. Named a National Historic Landmark in 1992, its prominent, white dome originally matched the light tan color of the building but was repainted during the building's renovation.


Mooselookmeguntic Lake

Jarmyn Thanatos, using the pseudonym Armyn J. Omen, is found residing in an old hunting and fishing lodge by this lake [The Bell, the Book, and the Spellbinder; 129].

If you think this one’s a mouthful to say then you haven’t made it to Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg yet. The 16,300 acre Mooselookmeguntic Lake is located in western Maine and is that state’s second largest body of water. Famous for its several schools of fish and recreation opportunities, the lake’s 17-character name is the fourth longest place name in the United States, an Abnaki word for "moose feeding place". If you say its name backwards it may dry up and disappear.


New Zebedee Opera House

Opening in 1902, this now-abandoned theater above stores in downtown New Zebedee is being refurnished to stage a production of Immanuel Vanderhelm’s lost opera [The Doom of the Haunted Opera; 14, 61].

Built in 1902 and only open for the better part of two decades, the New Zebedee Opera House never-the-less did see some major talent pass through its curtains: singer Enrico Caruso sang there and escape artist and illusionist Harry Houdini wowed its audiences as well. Bellairs mentioned the theatre only in passing but Lewis explores the abandoned theater from top to bottom (proscenium to trap-door, if you will) in Strickland’s tale, inspired by the real Eagle Opera House in Marshall.


Peter's Sweet Shop

Johnny enjoys snacking and talking with his new friend, Fergie, at this Duston Heights establishment [The Mummy, the Will, and the Crypt; 89].

If you want ooey-gooey chocolates or something from behind the soda fountain, Peter’s Sweet Shop on Merrimack Street is the place to go. Johnny and Fergie have been hitting up this local eatery for years: snacking on sweets, discussing girls and the Red Sox, and, of course, planning and plotting their next adventure. Did we mention chocolates?


Rhegium, Italy

Upon arriving in Constantinople, Mr. Townsend, dressed as a monk, flags down a fishing boat and is taken to a monastery near this ancient city [The Trolley to Yesterday; 83].

Reggio di Calabria is the largest city of Calabria and the capital of the Province of Reggio Calabria; during the Roman Empire it was a lavish city known by its Latin name, Rhegium. Today in the modern city one section of its ancient walls still stand, dating back to the 5th-4th century BC, and elsewhere remains of Roman baths dot the sea promenade. Townsend must have been at sea for weeks: to travel from Constantinople one must sail through the Aegean Sea along the coast of Greece, dip into the Mediterranean Sea, and then onward through the Ionian Sea to reach the tip of Italy. And then back again, back again, lickety-split....


Rollingstone, Minnesota

As a sort of punishment, Miss Eells is sent out to this small city to oversee branch library operations [The Dark Secret of Weatherend; 4].

The township of Rollingstone, Minnesota was organized May 1858 and incorporated as a village in August 1892. Today it is a community of just over 600 residents in the north-central part of Winona County. The town takes its name for being between two branches of the Rollingstone River whose Dakota Indian name is Eyan-omen-man-met-pah, which translates to “the stream where the stone rolls”. Supposedly there was a rock in a nearby river that legends say would rock mystically during periods of high water. This is, then, not a Bob Dylan reference.


Saint Michael's Catholic Church

Johnny attended services at this church in Duston Heights, as well as attending its adjoining school [The Curse of the Blue Figurine; 16].

Built in the 1880s by the nefarious Father Baart, St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church operates regular weekly services as well as an adjoining parochial elementary school. Both the church and school – and most of what occurs there – are based on the memories of St. Mary’s, John Bellairs’ church in his hometown of Marshall, Michigan.


Skellig Padraic

The Warden of the Out Isles deserts Prospero on this island near the Arctic Circle, whose attractions are scant little else besides craggy rocks, a hut for shelter, and a roofless stone chapel beside a graveyard [The Dolphin Cross; Magic Mirrors; 181].

The Skellig Islands are two small, rocky islands off the western coast of Ireland: Skellig Michael (or Michael’s Rock) contains a well-preserved monastic outpost of the Early Christian period, now designated a World Heritage Site; and Skellig Bheag (or Little Rock) is the home of over 25,000 pairs of gannets. Bellairs has apparently created a third similarly-named island, thus Padraic's (or Patrick’s) Rock.


Soo Locks

Lewis received mail with postage stamps featuring an image of this waterway [The Tower at the End of the World; 25].

The Soo Locks are a set of locks which enable ships to travel between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes. They are located on the St. Marys River between Lake Superior and Lake Huron, between the Upper Peninsula of the US state of Michigan and the Canadian province of Ontario. They bypass the rapids of the river, where the water falls 21 feet. The locks pass an average of 10,000 ships per year, despite being closed during the winter from January through March, when ice shuts down shipping on the Great Lakes. The winter closure period is used to inspect and maintain the locks.


Stark Corners, New Hampshire

Johnny, Fergie, and Professor Childermass visit this village in their search to learn about Evaristus Sloane, who was said to have lived in the area [The Eyes of the Killer Robot; 46-9].

While there is no village named Stark Corners in New Hampshire, the closest in name is simply Stark, located in the northwest part of the state on the northern border of the White Mountain National Forest. As Bellairs notes there isn’t much there - “a bandstand on a little patch of grass...a church...at the far end of the main street stood a two story white inn with a long front porch” - though both are named for General John Stark. Incorporated in 1795 and renamed in 1832, Stark is probably best known for its famous covered bridge over the Upper Ammonoosuc River. It was built in 1857 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.


Strawbery Banke

On their long and winding journey into New Hampshire, Professor Childermass and Johnny get lost and pass the “tall, narrow mansions” of this township [The Drum, the Doll, and the Zombie; 25].

Strawbery Banke is an outdoor history museum located in the South End historic district of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The neighborhood's history traces back to 1630, when Captain Walter Neal chose the area to build a settlement, naming it after the wild berries growing along the Piscataqua River. Strawbery Banke existed as a neighborhood for four centuries from 1630 to the late 1950s. The neighborhood's 40 buildings in the Colonial, Georgian, and Federal style architectures were saved from 1950s urban renewal by the efforts of a large group of historic preservationists. Strawbery Banke opened as a museum in 1965.


Wilder Creek

Wilder Creek is presumably south/south-east of New Zebedee based solely on the vague descriptions of the associated road and bridge. Little is said of the stream itself, except that Wilder Creek Road runs along a “high hill” on one side of the creek [The House with a Clock in its Walls; 99] and Lewis assumes the New Zebedee storm sewers feed into the stream [The Figure in the Shadows; 102].

Wilder Creek is a body of water in Capharnaum County that shares its name with a nearby bridge, park, and, road. And probably something else but we just don't know about it. Yet.


Windrow Estate

Zebulon Windrow’s vast property overlooking the Hudson River in lower New York State; contains a mansion and church [The Revenge of the Wizard's Ghost; 44].

Long before Professor Childermass and Fergie reach this estate, where they’ll do some snoopin’ around, they can see the tall stone steeple of the church over the trees. Closer, they feel the enormous church looming very near...somehow threatening, like a crouching monster of stone. It’s an impressive piece of architecture for New England and old England, too: the church on the Windrow Estate is an exact replica of the 750-year-old Cathedral of Saint Mary – better known as Salisbury Cathedral – in Salisbury, England.


Wittenberg, Germany

In the written testament of Father Augustus St. Francis Xavier Kemp, it says he eventually left America and studied in this Germany city [The Whistle, the Grave, and the Ghost; 123].

The importance of Wittenberg, Germany historically is due to its close connection with Martin Luther and the dawn of the Protestant Reformation. On October 31, 1517, Luther nailed his 95 Theses against the selling of indulgences at the door of the All Saints', the Castle Church. In 1858 commemorative bronze doors were mounted where the original wooden ones had been located. On the 2,200-pound doors are inscribed the 95 Theses in their original Latin, making them the most photographed doors throughout Europe.