There are many sets of stairs in the Mansion, and probably many more stories. But here are three stories that we know:
Main Stairs leading to the Ground Floor
The family had a number of pets over the years, including a monkey, a parrot, and dogs. One of those dogs was a mixed breed named Tatters. Tatters got his very name because of what he did to the stairs. Someone had trained him as a puppy to sound an alert when he needed to “go outside”. His solution? He’d descend the stairs and start scratching at the door until someone came to let him out. When he wanted back up, he’d scritch-scratch at the door again, tattering up both sides of the door…hence the name Tatters. You can still see the scratches today.
South Stairs leading outside
Alwin, the youngest Carus child, was looking for something to do one snowy day. He went down the stairs and opened the doors. The snow started blowing into the house! After a few minutes, he went and grabbed a metal-rail sled and set it at the top of the stairs. WHOOSH! Down he went, again and again, until one of the staff felt a draft blow through the kitchen. She came around to find little Alwin, ripping down the stairs, having the time of his life. He was grounded. Again. The family letters that we have suggest that Alwin was grounded quite frequently for a variety of mischievous escapades.
Main Hall stairs
It’s a lovely staircase leading down from the Bedroom Floor. Atop its newel post sits a large lamp, entirely original. And on nearly every tour, someone asks if anyone has ever tried to slide down the rail. In its 144 years of existence, we know there were probably a number who did. We have concrete information of two of those people. They were a grandson and great-granddaughter of Mary and Paul Carus.
The wildest part? The lamppost isn’t anchored on to the newel post. A careless person might knock it clean off, bending the metal post or shattering the globe. Yet there it is, 144 years old and still perfectly intact!