‘Clue House’ in Peterborough inspired Parker Brothers

  • The "Clue House" in Peterborough was the inspiration for the Parker Brothers game and includes a secret passageway, original woodwork, a guest house and the table the George Parker used to create the game. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin

  • The "Clue House" in Peterborough was the inspiration for the Parker Brothers game and includes a secret passage way, original woodwork, a guest house and the table the George Parker used to create the game. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • The "Clue House" in Peterborough was the inspiration for the Parker Brothers game and includes a secret passage way, original woodwork, a guest house and the table the George Parker used to create the game. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • The "Clue House" in Peterborough was the inspiration for the Parker Brothers game and includes a secret passage way, original woodwork, a guest house and the table the George Parker used to create the game. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • The "Clue House" in Peterborough was the inspiration for the Parker Brothers game and includes a secret passage way, original woodwork, a guest house and the table the George Parker used to create the game. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • The "Clue House" in Peterborough was the inspiration for the Parker Brothers game and includes a secret passage way, original woodwork, a guest house and the table the George Parker used to create the game. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • The "Clue House" in Peterborough was the inspiration for the Parker Brothers game and includes a secret passage way, original woodwork, a guest house and the table the George Parker used to create the game. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • The "Clue House" in Peterborough was the inspiration for the Parker Brothers game and includes a secret passage way, original woodwork, a guest house and the table the George Parker used to create the game. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • The "Clue House" in Peterborough was the inspiration for the Parker Brothers game and includes a secret passage way, original woodwork, a guest house and the table the George Parker used to create the game. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 2/18/2019 9:23:44 PM

Was it Mr. Green in the library with the revolver? What about Mrs. White with the wrench in the kitchen?

In the game of Clue, it’s a race against time to figure out who committed the murder, with which weapon and in which room. While there’s never been an actual murder in Jim Walsh’s Peterborough home, the game based upon his house has provided years of enjoyment for families looking for an evening of detective work.

When Walsh was moving to New Hampshire 27 years ago, he was looking for the right property for his young family. He looked at the 20-acre parcel of land on Gray Hill Road in Peterborough that had a large home, a guest house and numerous other buildings on the property. The site had breathtaking views of Mount Monadnock, Mount Wachusett and the steeples in Dublin and Hancock. It also had 27 fountains and water spigots, as well as immaculate garden plots that give the property an estate type feel. Walsh now lives in the large home with his wife Maryann.

During the process of buying the property, Walsh was told that the house at one point was owned by George and Grace Parker of the Parker Brothers family – the famous board game makers.

He had heard that it was referred to as the “Clue House,” but it wasn’t until Walsh met Warren Craig, the Parkers’ caretaker, that he got the true story. Craig told Walsh that Clue, the classic murder mystery game for three to six players, was created when George Parker lived in the house. He said a lot of the rooms on the game board are in a way based on the rooms that Walsh has now enjoyed for almost three decades.

“I realized what a treasure of information I had in this gentleman,” Walsh said.

The Parkers lived in the house from 1927 to the early 1960s. There were three other owners between Walsh and the famous game maker. But before Craig passed away, he gave Walsh the table that Parker created all his games on when he lived in the house.

“He said it belongs in this house,” Walsh said. “It links George Parker to the house.”

The table currently sits in the study with a copy of the original game on it, complete with the rope in the billiards room, candle stick in the dining room and the knife in the kitchen. Another framed copy of the game hangs near the family pool table, because you can’t have a house that inspired the game of Clue without your own billards room.

While the rooms on the game board are not identical to the ones in the home that was originally built in 1790, they share many characteristics – like how the library windows bump out, the chandelier that sits above the dining room table and in later versions, a secret passage way.

“It’s so obvious when you look at the board,” Walsh said. “It’s not exactly the same, but when you live here you can see the similarities.”

In the Peterborough home, there is a small channel that goes under the floor to multiple rooms. Walsh isn’t quite sure what it was originally intended for, but it certainly piqued the interest of his children.

“We think it’s how he got the idea for the board because we were told his grandkids used it,” Walsh said.

After purchasing the property in 1926, the Parkers had the old sea captain’s home they were living in at the time in Salem, Massachusetts, deconstructed and brought to Peterborough for an addition to the house that was already there.. Part of the Salem house was also added to the guest house where the Parker’s help lived.

“It was not a normal addition for the 1920’s,” Walsh said, since the house the Parkers brought for the addition was older than the house they had purchased. A final rendering of the home is framed at the bottom of the main staircase, which with its handmade spindles is an example of the pristine woodwork throughout the home.

“This staircase is just incredible. The work that went into it is something you just won’t find,” Walsh said

Over the years, Walsh has redone the kitchen, painted every wall, dug up carpets to reveal beautiful wood floors and changed out wall paper, but has kept many original pieces untouched like door knobs and light fixtures for character purposes.

The house features six bedrooms, including one from the Salem home that was rebuilt to resemble the old sea captain’s room in his sailing vessel. There are another four in the guest house, which helps when Walsh’s children, stepchildren and grandkids come for a visit. There’s a buzzer system for the help, which has been a big hit with kids and grandchildren over the years, but is no longer used for afternoon tea.

Most of the other buildings on the property are now used for storage, but they were once Grace Parker’s canning operation and used to store ice.

The 20 acres also have a network of trails that are used for hiking in the warm months and snowmobiling in the winter. There’s a “spectacular brook” deep in the woods that inspired the name for Walsh’s business, Brookwood Capital. And it’s essentially a full time job to maintain all the gardens.

“The gardens are as spectacular as the home,” Walsh said.

Walsh said suggestions to do a live murder mystery dinner at the house have come up many times, but it hasn’t happened yet. When it does, our money is on Mrs. Peacock with the lead pipe in the study – right next to the table the game was created on.


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