that go bump in the night
Grange Ghost Tours
spotlight the unexplained
Helen E. McKinney
LA GRANGE, Ky. (September 2007) Two years after
purchasing her circa 1830s home, Linda Foster awoke abruptly in the
middle of the night. She had felt someone holding her hand in a firm
grip. She thought she was dreaming until the feeling persisted, but
she realized there was no one else in the room with her.
by Helen McKinney
Foster tells her story
at Christmas in Kentucky.
Foster purchased her home at 203 E. Washington St. from
Kate Travis several years after Travis husband died. Foster runs
her business, Christmas in Kentucky, from inside the supposedly haunted
When Kate Travis reluctantly sold the house in 1993, she left behind
a large mirror, which she told Foster would be a way to remember her
husband. The ornate, ceiling to floor length mirror hangs in the entryway
and had once hung in the American Red Cross building in Louisville.
If one looks closely at it, he can see the faint outline of a Victorian
woman, possibly a nurse who wants to make sure everyone is well cared
for. In a smaller portion of the mirror, a cross is faintly visible.
Foster explained the image by saying that old mirrors lose their silvering
after a time. This usually occurs around the edges where air can get
in. But oddly, the Victorian ladys image is in the middle of the
Some describe mirrors as portals between dimensions, said
Foster. A paranormal team has visited La Grange three times to conduct
studies on reported paranormal activity.
Because of its otherworldly hauntings, Fosters home is a stop
on this years Spirit Tours of La Grange. These tours will run
Sept. 7 through Nov. 3 and will be given in two groups at 7 p.m. and
7:30 p.m. beginning at the Oldham County History Center. Reservations
must be made, since guests come from Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. The
tours are not recommended for children under 12.
Fosters home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places
as the William T. Barbour Home. It has the distinction of being the
only federal style brick home that remains in the La Grange historic
district. Barbour was a surveyor and laid out the plan for the city
of La Grange.
The home has also been a girls dormitory for the Funk Seminary.
The building contains its original yellow poplar floors. Its 12- to
13-inch thick walls need no insulation.
The tour talks about buildings that are no longer standing,
said tour guide Barbara Edds. Edds is a member of Discover Downtown
La Grange, the group that arranges the tours and uses the proceeds for
its façade program to renovate the outside of downtown buildings.
by Helen McKinney
leads a Ghost Tour
in La Grange.
La Grange became a city in 1827 and has a long and varied
past. La Grange is one of three cities within the United States
that has recordings from its founding, said Edds.
These original town documents have survived a courthouse fire, since
they were contained in a separate building that stood where the jail
now stands. The current courthouse was completed in 1875, as was the
building across the street that houses Laser Technology.
Locals know this building as The Opera House. It still contains
its original floor plan, including a ticket booth and stage. Built by
C. Sauer and Son, it was often used for musical performances, dancing,
plays, Funk Seminary graduation ceremonies and even as a space to roll
bandages during World War II.
Other buildings on the tour include the Central Hotel and Peak Funeral
Home at 114 E. Main St. La Grange Mayor Elsie Carter now lives in this
building built in 1905. It served the county as the Peak Funeral Home
from 1920 until the 1950s.
The home is said to be visited by Julia, who was the Peak familys
nanny during the 1920s. Julia resided upstairs with the family, while
the funeral business was conducted downstairs. Julia is said to be an
active presence in the building.
While visitors wait to begin the tour, they are encouraged to visit
the history centers current exhibit, Old Haunts and Favorite Spots:
Oldham County Cemeteries, which runs through Nov. 3.
We have done a lot of cemetery research and fall is the time for
the Discover Downtown La Grange Ghost Tours so the exhibit seemed appropriate,
said Nancy Theiss, executive director of the History Center.
History Center genealogy coordinator Dot Carraco has led a team of cemetery
researchers and documented their findings over the last 10 years. They
go out in the county and manually record each marker, said Theiss.
The marker is located with a GPS and digital photos are taken of each
grave that is found.
Carraco, 79, then goes back to the office and records the information
in the computer. These records are in the process of being updated and
can be found online at the History Center website at www.oldhamcountyhistoricalsociety.org.
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