John Holbrook's Witch Stairs


Looking Down

Second Floor To Attic Flight

These stairs leading to the attic are set at a steep pitch, thus saving floor space. The staggered side to side placement of the stairs are designed to make the ascent and descent less dangerous.


Ethel Louise Waterman

April 1899

Photograph By Caleb Lysander Howe

Charles A. Boyden and his wife Ethel Louise Waterman, and Alice Boyden called this flight "witches stairs"---

The witch in the attic could not descend into the main living area with the steep steps, especially with the steps staggered to the left and right. Witches cannot see their feet, a characteristic which only adds to their difficulty in an already adverse situation.


Risers Eighteen Inches High

Treads Six Inches Deep

Capt. Nathaniel Bliss built this Federal style residence in 1825 at Chapin Street, for merchant John Holbrook, along the road later called Asylum Street. Widow Sarah Holbrook sold it in 1841 for debts to Dr. Charles Chapin---


John Holbrook


Sarah Holbrook


Indian shutters on the window interiors.


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