Archive for the ‘Needs Investigation’ Category

Forest Hill Cemetery

Friday, October 1st, 2010
Receiving Vault

Receiving Vault, Forest Hill Cemetery

The Forest Hill cemetery is the final resting spot for many prominent Madisonians, early territorial settlers, and Civil War soldiers. Over the years, a number of strange-but-true stories (as well as some exaggerated by wild imagination) have bolstered the cemetery’s haunted reputation. Locals seem to be divided on the topic, though some insist that the cemetery is an active location for paranormal activity.

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Hausmann’s Capital Brewery

Sunday, August 1st, 2010
Hausmann Brewery Trademark

Hausmann Brewery Trademark

In the early days of Madison, Hausmann’s Capital Brewery served beer and free lunch at the site of their brewery on the corner of State and Gorham streets.  Their operation was quite successful. By the 1880s, the brewery was producing 8,000 barrels of beer per year, and just prior to Prohibition, this reached an astonishing 35,000 barrels per year — that’s about 1 million gallons!

In 1907, local temperance laws were enacted in Madison to protect the public, and more precisely, the University of Wisconsin students, from the evil effects of alcohol. A dry zone of a half-mile was created around the UW campus, but luckily the zone fell just short of the Hausmann’s brewery. Even in the depths of winter, the students ventured out of the dry zone to enjoy five cent beers and free sandwiches at Hausmann’s.

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Strangeness at Picnic Point

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

People are experiencing more than bonfires and kissing on Picnic Point! There have been several reports of a reddish, glowing light that rises up from the swamp on the Narrows and then floats out over the lake towards the Capitol.

View from Picnic Point, Lake Mendota<br /> Circa 1898

View from Picnic Point, Lake Mendota Circa 1898

Typical conditions make the possibility of swamp gas unlikely. Some think this energy is the ghost of August Kutzbock, the Capitol architect who reportedly killed himself off of Picnic Point in 1868.

Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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Old American House Haunted by Two Lovers

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010
The American House, circa 1838

The American House, circa 1838

The American House was a popular Madison hotel and boarding house located on the corner of Pinckney and E. Washington (at the site of the current American Exchange Bank building, 1 N. Pinckney St.).

The American was originally built in 1838 and was operated by James Morrison and A.A. Bird. It became fiercely popular with the early territorial settlers. In fact, in May of 1839, the first election of the Dane County board of commissioners was held here, which at that time was the only voting place in the county.

The American was later purchased by J. W. Jefferson, who expanded it to triple its original size in 1858. During these years, it remained a favored establishment of state senators and representatives, but it was often maligned for its somewhat lower-class amenities and home-style food. In fact, it was said that those venturing to eat a meal at the American required “sharp teeth and strong knives.”

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Very Early King Street

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Workers hired in 1837 to construct Madison’s first capitol building initially made their home on King Street. When the workers arrived in Madison from Milwaukee, they found no shelter besides Peck’s cabin, so they hastily erected temporary housing and a few storage buildings at the end of King Street, near the north shore of Lake Monona.

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Another Ghostly Hangout?

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Albert & Lavinia Austin House

308 North Pinckney Street
Austin House Floor Plan

Austin House Floor Plan

This two-and-one-half-story frame Queen Anne residence was built in 1901 for Albert E. Austin and his family. Austin moved to Madison from rural Hazel Green, Wisconsin to enter the employ of F.A. Gill’s shoe store, which Austin later owned and operated until 1915.  Austin died in 1925, and his widow converted her home into a two-unit residence in 1929. She lived in the house until 1940. In the late 1940’s an additional unit was built on the third floor. From about 1955 until 1979, when the building was vacated, it housed apartments and an office on the second floor. During these years, it was owned by a succession of investors.

Pinckney Street, Circa 1900

Pinckney Street, Circa 1900

Austin’s shoe store was located at 3 S. Pinckney, on the Capitol square (very near the Worser).

From an ad in the UW Wisconsin Yearbook, Class of 1907: The best of everything put in shoes you will find in A. E. Austin Co. They have the style, wear and comfort which is hard to find in all makes.

Source: Historic American Buildings Survey
Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.


More Ghostly Hangouts?

Friday, January 1st, 2010

Lorenzo Atkinson Apartments

111 East Gorham Street

Justice James C. Kerwin, who served on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, died unexpectedly at this house on East Gorham Street on Jan. 30, 1921 after being troubled by a nervous condition.

Construction Date: 1916
Wisconsin Architecture & History Inventory (AHI)
#: 37084
District: Mansion Hill Historic District
Style: Craftsman
PPA: 4 – Death

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Ghostly Hangouts?

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Mrs. Catherine Beck House

141 S. Franklin Street

Louis J. Anderson, long time news boy, town crier and shoe shiner, died at this home on Franklin Street on Aug. 23, 1921 after a lingering illness. The home was built in 1877 and was owned by Mrs. Catherine Beck, who operated it as a boarding house.


Construction Date: 1877
Wisconsin Architecture & History Inventory (AHI) #: 97933
Style: Front Gabled
PPA: 4 – Death

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Spooky Places Nearby

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

The Bank of Deerfield, 16 miles east of Madison, was robbed of about $17,000 on the night of Jan. 26, 1900. The robbers blew the vault open with dynamite. Neither the culprits nor the money were ever found.


Spooky Places in Madison

Thursday, October 1st, 2009
UW Armory and Gymnasium, Circa 1899

UW Armory and Gymnasium, Circa 1899

UW Armory and Gymnasium
(Red Gym)

716 Langdon Street, Madison, Wisconsin
Architect: Conver and Porter
Date of construction: 1894

Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.



David Johnson House<br />Circa 1899

David Johnson House, Circa 1899

David Johnson House

423 North Carroll Street, Madison, Wisconsin
Construction Date: 1853, 1891
Wisconsin Architecture & History Inventory (AHI) #: 37007
District: Mansion Hill Historic
Style: Italianate

Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.