A house can be famous: The White House, Falling Water, and Monticello are good examples but what makes a house Infamous? A house can be infamous because of its distinct architecture, the character of its owners (both good and bad) or events that have taken place within its walls (again-both good and bad). Let’s explore some infamous houses that are scattered around the country.
Olsen House, Cushing Maine: You know you have seen that house before – but where? It’s image in burned into your memory but you might not realize that the Cushing House has been the subject of various paintings by Andrew Wyeth. Perhaps the most famous of the paintings is “Christina’s World” the famous painting with the young woman in the pink dress in the foreground and the grey house in the corner across an expanse of field. The home is currently closed for renovations but is normally open to the public.
Winchester Mystery House, San Jose CA: This house was the subject of a 2018 supernatural thriller with Helen Mirren While no one can prove that a ghostly presence lives within the walls of this 24,000 square foot maze of a residence. Though only four stories remain after damage from the 1906 earthquake it still contains an impressive 161 rooms, including 40 bedrooms, 2 ballrooms (one completed and one unfinished) as well as 47 fireplaces, over 10,000 panes of glass, 17 chimneys (with evidence of two others), two basement levels and three elevators. Under normal conditions it is open to visitors but wear comfortable shoes – the tour will take a while!
Mercer Williams House, Savannah Georgia: This home was also made famous in a movie: Midnight in the garden of Good and Evil 1997 based on a book of the same name by John Berendt 1994. It is famous for not one but two grisly deaths and is currently and is open to the public for tours. Construction of this beautiful brick home was begun in 1860 and completion was delayed until after the Civil War until it’s completion in 1868. The home was occupied on and off for decades but lay vacant for over ten years until was fully restored in 1969. In 2019 a complete restoration of the exterior was completed.
Allen House, Monticello Arkansas: Known as “The Most Haunted House in the US” The 8500 square foot house was built in 1906 and was the site of a tragic suicide by poisoning. The room in which the young woman died was sealed up by her mother until her death in 1954. After that the family carved the home into apartments and over the years the residents have complained about peculiar and spectral goings-on. The home has been restored by its current owners and is available for tours and even a “Dinner with a Ghost”!
Myrtles Plantation, St. Francisville LA: This 10,000 Square foot former antebellum plantation was built in 1796 by General David Bradford and is called as "one of America's most haunted homes." (There seem to be many of these – ed.) There are a variety of legends surrounding the Myrtles. The house is reputedly built over an Indian burial ground, and the ghost of a young Native American woman has been reported seen. It is thought to be the home of at least 12 ghosts. Even if you aren’t interested in the undead this home is a beautiful example of the architecture of the period and is available for tours or overnight stays.