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Mysterious America Photography

Fort Fisher’s Sentinel

Fort Fisher was built by Confederate forces during the American Civil War to protect Wilmington, North Carolina. It fell on January 15, 1865 after hours of brutal fighting. Since then, visitors to the fort’s ruins have reported numerous strange encounters, including sightings of a mysterious sentinel, as well as its commander, Col. William Lamb. Others report hearing disembodied footsteps, phantom screams, and gunshots. In 1961, the site was declared a National Historic Landmark and added to the National Register of Historic Places five years later.

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Mysterious America Photography

Coronado Theater

The Coronado is a historic, 2,400 seat theater in downtown Rockford, Illinois. It was designed by architect Frederick J. Klein, cost $1.5 million to build, and opened on October 9, 1927. Some have speculated that the theater was built on an American Indian burial ground because of its proximity to Beattie Park, which contains small Indian Mounds from the Upper Mississippian/Late Woodland period. The theater was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

According to theater volunteers and a local psychic named Mark Dorsett, it is haunted by three ghosts: Willard Van Matre, the Coronado’s original owner (who died in 1953), Miss Kileen, the theater’s first office manager, and Louis St. Pierre, a Bridge enthusiast and the first theater manager. While Van Matre likes to greet visitors at the theater entrance, the scent of lilac perfume is associated with Miss Kileen. Other people have reported feeling “uneasy” on the catwalks, allegedly because they are occupied by the ghosts of men who died during construction of the building.

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Mysterious America Photography

Valentown Hall

Levi Valentine built this hall at the junction of High Street and Valentine Road in Victor, New York in 1879 in the hopes of creating a commercial center for a new town along a railroad. However, the railroad never came and the building was never used. It would have been one of the first indoor shopping malls in the country. Since being purchased by J. Sheldon Fisher in 1940, it has operated as a museum and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.

Rumors abound that the old building is haunted–vehemently denied by its current owners. However, in 2006 it appeared on an episode of Ghost Hunters and in 2010 on an episode of Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files. One unverified story is that a jealous husband committed a murder in the fourth-floor ballroom, and that human remains were found in the basement. The ghosts are said to be either attracted to or attached to the hundreds of antiques housed at Valentown.

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Roadside America

Catoctin Iron Furnace in Frederick County, Maryland

For over a century, the Catoctin Iron Furnace smelted iron, its forges spewing smoke and burning red hot. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it fueled the machines of war. Much of this backbreaking work was done by slaves.

Catoctin Iron Furnace is a historic iron forge along U.S. Route 15 from Frederick to Thurmont in Frederick County, Maryland. Though forges were present when the ironworks were operational, there is currently no forge at the site. But you can still tour the grounds and the ruins of the “Isabella forge” casting shed and the owner’s mansion.

In 1774, four brothers: Thomas, Baker, Roger, and James Johnson, built Catoctin Furnace to manufacture pig iron from locally-mined hematite. The oven produced cannonballs for the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, including shells fired during Yorktown’s siege. Some claim it also provided cannon and produced plates for the USS Monitor during the Civil War, but researchers consider that improbable.

On the eve of the American Revolution, the Johnson brothers eyed the Monocacy River Valley’s industrial potential. They acquired land under Catoctin Ridge and erected an iron furnace. The original Johnson Oven burned until 1776, producing useful tools and household products including the famous “Catoctin Stove,” also called the “Ten Plate Stove” and the “Franklin Stove”.

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Mysterious America Photography

James Eldred Home

The James J. Eldred home in Greene County, Illinois is a grand, Greek-Revival ranch house that has stood abandoned since the 1930s. During the 1860s and ‘70s, James and his wife Emeline had a reputation for hosting grand parties at their “Bluff Dale Farm.” But life was harsh living along the Illinois River. The three Eldred daughters, Alma, Alice, and Eva, all died of illness at home in their beds. Both Alice and Eva were 17. Alma was only four years old.

In 1999, the home was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and in recent years the Illinois Valley Cultural Heritage Association has made great strides in restoring it to its former glory. While there are no specific ghost stories about the property, its owners list “phantom footsteps,” “phantom knocking at the front door,” “giggles of a young lady,” and “small shadows moving in the nursery” as phenomenon experienced there.

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Photography

Contemplation of Justice

Statue outside the U.S. Supreme Court, 1 First Street NE in Washington, DC. ‘Contemplation of Justice’ by sculptor James Earle Fraser depicts a female figure in meditation while holding a book of law in one hand and a figure of Justice in the other. Fraser also sculpted the Frederic A. and Florence Sheffield Boardman Keep memorial at St. Paul’s Rock Creek Cemetery, among other famous works.

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Mysterious America Photography

Belle Isle Power Plant

Belle Isle, in the James River in downtown Richmond, Virginia, opened as a public park in 1973. During the American Civil War, it was a prison camp for Union POWs. Disease, starvation, and exposure took a toll, and as many as 1,000 prisoners died on the island. In the twentieth century, the Virginia Electric Power Company operated a hydroelectric power plant on Belle Isle. The ruins of the power plant and the nail factory can still be seen to this day. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.