1. Carlyle House (Alexandria, VA)
In 1749, British merchant John Carlyle purchased two of the best lots in Alexandria, and put up this beautiful mansion—with its unique stone cornice and ornate woodwork—by the early 1750s. Just in time for General Edward Braddock to use the Georgian-style home to plan the French and Indian War. The home stayed in the Carlyle family until 1827, and eventually served as a Civil War hospital, a particular point of interest for visiting ghost hunters. A 6-year-long restoration began when the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NVRPA) acquired the property in 1970. The NVRPA holds an annual reenactment of Colonel John Carlyle’s 1780 funeral and reading of his last will. Call 703-683-3451 for more information.
2. Prospect Place Mansion (Dresden, Ohio)
This mansion, listed by the Ohio Underground Railroad Association, was built in 1856 by abolitionist G.W. Adams. The Greek Revival-Italianate is the last remaining of five similar Dresden-area mansions. The home had many innovative features for its time, including a unique refrigeration system in the basement. In the 1980s, local businessman Dave Longaberger saved the 29-room mansion from the wrecking ball. Its current owner—a descendant of G.W. Adams—has continued the restoration. Locals are familiar with the tale of Constance Cox, a young girl who took a fatal fall off a balcony one winter in the 19th century. Since the child couldn’t have a proper burial until the spring, her body was kept in the basement icebox where her mother visited with her. The site of numerous paranormal investigations, ghost hunters maintain that the spirits of both Constance and her mother remain at the house. The Prospect Mansion/ G.W. Adams Educational Center welcomes visitors for paranormal investigations and tours, but warns of “interacting with the spirit of the bounty hunter in the barn.” Call 740-221-4175 for more information.
3. House of Seven Gables (Salem, Massachusetts)
Built by sea captain John Turner in 1668, this traditional colonial home existed 24 years before Salem gained notoriety for its witch trials. The house stayed in Turner family hands for three generations, until Susan Ingersoll—cousin to Nathaniel Hawthorne—acquired it. Hawthorne visited the home, by then known as the House of Seven Gables, and was inspired to write his 1852 classic novel of the same name. As the oldest surviving wooden mansion in the country, the house has undergone countless renovations in its 340-year history. Georgian-style changes made in a 1725 remodel have been preserved. A mysterious “secret” staircase that Turner added in 1692 can still be seen in the main chimney. Another mysterious feature of the place is a female apparition, who locals believe to be Susan Ingersoll. Some claim to see the woman peering through windows. The House of Seven Gables hosts seasonal theatrical dramatizations and regular historical house tours; Hawthorne’s birth home has been moved to the site. Call 978-744-0991 for more information. For the rest of our Haunted Historical House Tour finds, visit thisoldhouse.com
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