historical Downes-Aldrich house in Crockett,
circa 1891-1893, is considered to be one of the most beautiful homes
in Houston County.
The Eastlake Victorian style house was home to some of the first settlers
in Crockett, who
reportedly may not have fully vacated the premises.
The majestic house is rich with history, and according to area residents
the house is also rich with a persistent presence. No one knows for
sure to whom the spirit belongs, but it is believed to most likely
be a former inhabitant of the house.
Two of Crockettís
earliest families enjoyed living in the wooden mansion during the
late 1800ís and early to mid 1900ís. James Elbert Downes and his wife
Lizzie Downes were the builders and first owners of the house. Armistead
Albert Aldrich and his wife Willie Aldrich later owned the house,
where they spent their 50th wedding anniversary. The last family member
known to have lived in the house was Mary Aldrich.
An outstanding example of Eastlake-Victorian architecture, started
about 1891, completed in 1893, by J.E. Downes, prominent local businessman.
Much of the material in the structure was imported from other states.
Downes lived in the house until 1910, and sold it the next year to
Armistead Albert Aldrich (1858-1945), distinguished civic leader and
historian, who resided here until his death. The Aldrich family still
occupies the house.
|The house is
full of antiques owned by former owners, as well as pieces donated
by area residents in memory of their loved ones. Some believe that
by bringing in the treasured belongings of others to a facility, the
spirits of those who treasured the item can accompany the item to
its new home.
Over the years, since the house became a historical homestead, those
who have worked in the house or been involved in the preservation
of the house have reported unexplainable incidents. According to some
local residents one woman who tended to the house resigned from her
position due to strange events that she claimed took place in the
house while she was there. She allegedly left the house with unanswered
questions, to which she did not want the answer.
Accounts of paranormal activity have been passed down through the
years, many of which involve a doll in the attic. The doll can usually
be seen in the attic window, however the window in which it appears
tends to change, however no one takes credit for moving it.
have been involved with the house have reported a mysterious doll,
that allegedly has a mind of its own, even though it tends to lose
its head from time to time. Some claim that the dollís head has
been seen separate from its body, and at other times some claim
the head was missing entirely, and nowhere to be found.
The doll is said to move about in the attic. One day the doll might
be near the window, as if it is gazing out across the lawn, and
on another day the doll might be face-first in a corner of the room.
No one has ever been seen moving the doll, and no one has taken
the credit for a prank well played.
The house is said to possess a presence that can be undeniably felt,
especially if alone. While some have been frightened by their experiences
in the house, others believe the spirit is playful, and thankful
that the house has been preserved in the absence of the families
that loved the home.
© Dana Goolsby
"In The Pines With Dana Goolsby"
September 10, 2011 Column