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  • Columns | "In The Pines With Dana Goolsby"

    Downes-Aldrich Haunted House

    Recorded Texas Historic Landmark
    Milam and 7th Street
    Crockett, Texas

    By Dana Goolsby
    Dana Goolsby
    The 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.
    Crockett, TX - Historic Downes-Aldrich House
    Photo by Dana Goolsby, October 2010
    Historical 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 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.
    Crockett TX Downes-Aldrich Haunted House
    Doll in the attic
    Photo by Dana Goolsby, October 2010

    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.

    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
    More Texas Ghosts & Haunted Places
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    Tales from Texas' Past | East Texas | Texas

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