Historic and Haunted?

The Cincinnati Music Hall, seen in 1937, from the Ohio Guide Collection on Ohio Memory.
The Cincinnati Music Hall, seen in 1937, from the Ohio Guide Collection on Ohio Memory.

We are now just one week away from Halloween, and as Ohioans around the state stock up on candy and finalize their costumes, we wanted to take a look at a few of the supposed haunted sites included on Ohio Memory! Ohio certainly has no shortage of reputedly haunted places, from prisons and cemeteries to schools and hotels. Some of the more popular local legends include The Ridges, a former mental hospital in Athens, Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery in Columbus, Granville’s historic Buxton Inn, and the Loveland Castle outside of Cincinnati. On Ohio Memory, we find mention of a few allegedly haunted locations, including the Cincinnati Music Hall, the Columbian House in Waterville, and Mirror Lake on the campus of the Ohio State University.

Like most colleges and universities, Ohio State has its fair share of ghost stories. Some of these revolve around Mirror Lake, a popular spot near the center of campus which, according to this article from the university paper The Lantern, is said to be haunted by the “Lady of the Lake.”

Close-up of the Columbian House, from the Ohio Guide Collection.
Close-up of the Columbian House, from the Ohio Guide Collection.

The Columbian House, built in Waterville in 1828 as a trading post and stagecoach stop, has served many purposes over the years, from a jail to a school to a ballroom. The building’s resident ghosts are presumed to be the spirits of those prisoners who died on the site, or visitors from when the house served as a tavern and way-station for stagecoach travelers.  In 1927, Henry Ford reportedly even held his Halloween party in the building, thanks to its reputation for being haunted!

The Cincinnati Music Hall, seen at the top of this post, is a Gothic Revival-style building which opened for its first performance, of Beethoven’s “Eroica” and Gluck’s “Alceste,” on May 14, 1878. When it was constructed in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, it was built on the grounds of a pauper’s cemetery which served the former Commercial Hospital and Lunatic Asylum. This burial site surrounded another building–a former orphanage which came to be known as the “Pest House” after it began serving as a spot for isolating infectious patients from the hospital–which was torn down prior to the Music Hall’s construction. The storied history of the property has led to its reputation as “one of the most haunted places in Cincinnati,” but this hasn’t kept the beautiful building from being recognized as the city’s premier performance spaces for classical music. It currently serves as the home of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Cincinnati Opera, the May Festival Chorus, and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.

Whether or not you give any credence to the idea of haunted locations around the state, we hope you’ll visit Ohio Memory to learn more about the interesting (and sometimes infamous) histories behind many of Ohio’s historic places!


Thanks to Lily Birkhimer, Digital Projects Coordinator at the Ohio History Connection, for this week’s post!

 

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