Basement-dwelling, Tree-planting, Violin-playing, Dog-loving, Butter-making
by Johnny Stucco
There's nothing to not like about "Cra"
the building's civilized resident spirit.
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.
Julia Ideson Library McKinney Street Entrance
TE Photo 2006
|Julius Cramer's Oak
TE Photo 2006
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.
|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
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.
Ideson Library Detail
TE Photo 2006
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.