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  Texas : Features : Ghosts :

Texas Ghosts
Houston's Julia Ideson Library Ghost Story

Houston's Basement-dwelling, Tree-planting, Violin-playing, Dog-loving, Butter-making Ghost

There's nothing to not like about "Cra"
the building's civilized resident spirit.

by Johnny Stucco
How many Texas ghosts can produce their own death certificate? Not many. Considering the space that Julius Frank Cramer "haunts," it's fitting that there should be some documentation. But if you're looking for a complete write-up, a photo I.D. or his mother's maiden name, forget it. No self-respecting spirit would be caught dead with a complete resume. You got to have that mystery, or it ain't no real ghost story.

Ghosts generally like to remain mysterious and the spirit of Julius Frank Cramer is no exception to this rule. His complete name is known as well as the date and cause of his non-violent death (pulmonary hemorrhage aggravated by chronic prostatic [sic] problems). Also known is his place of birth (Baltimore, Maryland) and where his body was buried (Hiawatha, Kansas). But a story wrapped up with a bow, it is not.
Houston Julia Ideson Library McKinney Street Entrance
Houston's Julia Ideson Library McKinney Street Entrance
TE Photo 2006
Houston Julia Ideson Library Julius Cramer's Oak
Julius Cramer's Oak
TE Photo 2006
The Julia Ideson Library has a file on the late Mr. Cramer which they will provide to researchers (providing the requester isn't too breathless or wide-eyed). Over the years someone took the time to look him up in the old city directories and have put his various employment and residences down on a single sheet. There aren't that many. His first entry was as an employee of the Star Creamery where his job was listed as a butter-maker. His address was the same as the creamery - the first of what was to become a trend in Mr. Cramer's life. He also worked for the Milam Seafood Company and his address was the same as that company. He had also been custodian of Houston's old (first) Carnegie Library building which was replaced by the building now known as the Julia Ideson Building.
Carnegie Library in Houston_copy.jpg (49803 bytes)
Houston's main Carnegie Library, demolished to build what is now the Julia Ideson Library
TE Postcard
When he became security guard/ gardener/ custodian/ janitor (and you thought a custodian and a janitor were the same thing) of this building, his address was given as the library's side street entrance.

If Julius had a love interest, it is not known. The music which he allegedly plays on the violin are uplifting Strauss waltzes, not moody romantic pieces.

Julius' mysteries are both large and small. On the death certificate box reserved for type of death the word "Sudden" appears - followed by a question mark. That's the coroner's mild afterthought since he wasn't curious enough to perform a complete autopsy. Cra's remains were iced down and shipped to a sister who lived in the NE Kansas town of Hiawatha.
Houston Julia Ideson Library  architectural detail
Julia Ideson Library Detail
TE Photo 2006
Sheet music occasional found scattered around the library floor seem to be the only tangible manifestation of Cra's presence inside the building. Other than the violin music, the only other acoustic clues are the sounds of his dog's nails clicking on the building's marble floors and staircases. All stories in the files can agree that Cra's dog was a German Shepherd, even though there's a discrepancy over Mr. Cramer's race. Several stories have him listed as a Black man who attended church in nearby Freedman's Town, while others mention him as being "white." It hardly matter now. All his trials are now over.
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