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.
Marker Text: "Downes-Aldrich House|
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.1972"
|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
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.
Locals that 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.
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.
The Pines With Dana Goolsby"
September 10, 2011 Column
Ghosts & Haunted Places
from Texas' Past | East Texas
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