Categories
Mysterious America

Twin Haunted Mansions of Marian University

Since acquiring the Allison and Wheeler-Stokely mansions, rumors persist at this Catholic university that both former estates have an active spiritual life, and not of the religious variety.

Marian University in Indianapolis, Indiana was established in 1851 by the Sisters of St. Francis as St. Francis Normal in Oldenburg, Indiana. In 1936, it merged with Immaculate Conception Junior College to become Marian College. The Sisters of St. Francis purchased Riverdale, the former James A. Allison estate in Indianapolis, and moved in. Marian College officially opened on September 15, 1937. Its name changed to Marian University in 2009. Since occupying the Allison Mansion, and in 1963, the Wheeler-Stokely Mansion, rumors persist that both former estates have an active spiritual life, and not of the religious variety.

Built for automotive mogul James Asbury Allison (1872-1928) between 1911 and 1914, this Art & Crafts Country-style mansion quickly gained a reputation as a “house of wonders”. It was revolutionary at the time for integrating the latest advancements, including intercoms, automatic lighted closets, an indoor swimming pool, and even an electric elevator. Allison co-founded the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, co-founded the Prest-O-Lite Company, and founded the Allison Engineering Company.

Architect Herbert Bass designed the mansion’s exterior, but Allison fired him before completion and hired Philadelphia architect William Price (1861-1916) to design the interior.

The Sisters of St. Francis of Oldenberg purchased Allison’s estate at 3200 Cold Spring Road in 1936 and moved their school there, renaming it Marian College. It served as their main administration building, library, and living quarters for decades. Allison had previously worked with the Sisters of St. Francis to open a hospital in Miami Beach, Florida. After his death in 1928, rumors spread that his ethereal form remained at his beloved Indianapolis estate, which he called “Riverdale”. 

Categories
Photography

Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis, Indiana

Established in 1863, Crown Hill Funeral Home and Cemetery at 700 38th Street in Indianapolis, Indiana, sprawls across 555 acres, making it the third largest private cemetery in the United States. Indianapolis architect Adolph Scherrer designed its triple-arch Gothic gatehouse at 34th Street and Boulevard Place in 1885. Crown Hill is the final resting place for one U.S. president, three vice presidents, and several governors, U.S. Senators, U.S. Representatives, industrialists, military generals, and over 190,000 other former residents. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

Brig. Gen. Abel D. Streight (1828-1892)

Monument to Brig. Gen. Abel Delos Streight (1828-1892) and family. Streight grew up in New York and moved to Indianapolis to open a publishing business just before the Civil War. He became colonel of the 51st Indiana Infantry Regiment and conducted Streight’s Raid in 1863, when he was captured and later released. He was brevetted Brigadier General after the war and served as a state senator.

Corliss Randle Ruckle (1877-1889) II

Monument to Corliss Randle Ruckle (1877-1889). Corliss was the son of Nicholas and Jane Charlotte Ruckle. He died of diphtheria at 12 years of age.

Categories
Historic America Photography

When Freemen Shall Stand

Francis Scott Key (1779-1843) was a Maryland lawyer and author who wrote the poem that became famous as the lyrics to “The Star-Spangled Banner“, our national anthem. During the War of 1812, Key was aboard a British ship negotiating the release of American prisoners during the Battle of Baltimore and witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry.

Francis Scott Key (1779-1843)

The sights inspired him to write a poem called “Defence of Fort M’Henry”, which was later put to music and re-titled “The Star-Spangled Banner”. Key and his wife were buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery Frederick, Maryland and this monument was erected in his honor.

Categories
Photography

Green Lawn Cemetery in Columbus, Ohio

Designed by Architect Howard Daniels and established in 1848, Green Lawn Cemetery, at 1000 Greenlawn Avenue in Columbus, Ohio, is a historic private rural cemetery. Its meandering roads wander 360 acres, where over 155,000 are interred, including Samuel Bush, grandfather of President George H.W. Bush and great-grandfather of President George W. Bush, and World War I flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker.

Charles H. Hayden (1837-1920)

The Hayden mausoleum is a centerpiece of Green Lawn Cemetery. It was designed by Ohio architect Frank Packard and built at a modern-day cost of approximately $2.5 million. Built for banker Charles H. Hayden (1837-1920) and his family, it is made from granite and white marble, and its interior sarcophagi were made in Italy. It is truly impressive.

Emil Ambos (1844-1898)

I love this bronze statue of an old fisherman, erected in the memory of Emil Ambos (1844-1898). Emil was the son of Peter Ambos, a talented German confectioner who became a wealthy banker and industrialist. The statue used to be holding two fish, but apparently both have been stolen.