The Winter House is a plot of real estate in Kettle Falls, Washington. It has been owned by various organizations since its establishment in 1845.
The Winter House was built by Timothy Winter, an employee of the Hudson's Bay Company, in 1845. Initially Winter kept it secret, so as to avoid being taxed for the land it was built on, and intended to use it as a dream home for himself and his family. Shortly after the house's construction was finished, however, Winter's wife and young sons were killed while travelling to the Washington territory from their home in the east. Upon hearing of their deaths, Winter abandoned the manor and struck it from all official maps of the area.
A series of intricate underground water pipes and cisterns was constructed beneath the Winter House sometime between 1845 and 1951. The construction of this system left the house completely undisturbed. After lying in ruin for more than 100 years, the Winter House was rediscovered in 1951 by pilots from the nearby Colville Air Force Station who had been scouting the terrain during a military exercise. The building, which was in inexplicably good condition, was later seized as United States Air Force property, with plans to extend the Colville Air Force Station into its territory, knocking the structure down as a result. Due to budget constraints, the plans to destroy the Winter House were never acted upon. Pilots at the Colville Station would routinely take newer members into the manor, which they believed was haunted, and force them to stay there overnight as part of their initiation.
Following the Colville Station's closure in 1961, the territory was sold to the Gray family, a highly-influential family of realtors and entrepreneurs who had plans to convert it into a showhome that would display all of the modern amenities of the time. Practically overnight, the Gray family renovated the Winter House into a modern mansion, which drew lots of media attention to the town of Kettle Falls, much to its residents' chagrin.
Over the years, the Winter House was updated time and time again to be in line with the most trendy modern technologies available. Eventually the residents of Kettle Falls grew upset that their quiet town was becoming a hotspot for travellers and media savants searching for the next big technological discovery. In 1982, the north wing of the house, which had always been left preserved in its overgrown state, was converted into a museum about the history of the town of Kettle Falls. This, coupled with the fact that the Winter House's taxations were being given directly to Kettle Falls, appeased the town's residents somewhat.
In 1990, the Winter House was sold to the town of Kettle Falls, who happily accepted it, with many residents speculating that it might be converted into a new town hall. However, the mayor of the town and his cabinet quickly became ensnared in a complicated legal entanglement; under Washington state law, the home had to be maintained, lest it be foreclosed on and the town be fined for more money than they could afford. However, the building's enormous floorplan and elaborate setup made it impossible for Kettle Falls to afford its upkeep. With no other option, the town was forced to surrender the deed to the manor back to the Gray family, who, exploiting a loophole in Washington state tax law, now had it free of any land or utilities tax and used it as private residential property. Outraged, the residents of Kettle Falls came to loathe the Gray family for having tricked them. Virgil Gray, who grew up in the Winter House during this time, came to see the house as a symbol for his family's corruption and trickery.
In 1997, the entire north wing of the Winter House was obliterated in a mysterious explosion, deemed a gas leak by Colville County investigators. The entire manor was quietly abandoned by the Gray family shortly thereafer.
In 2008, members of the Starlight Sector, fleeing from persecution in Los Angeles, discovered the ruined Winter House and decided to convert it into their headquarters. They renovated it with defense and security measurements and expanded the house deep underground, where they connected it with the mysterious cistern system, creating an elaborate setup.