Grange Ghost Tours give a
chilling look at local history
Carters home on
Main Street stirs the imagination
Helen E. McKinney
LA GRANGE, Ky. (September 2008) Julia often comes
and goes as she pleases. She is not restrained by time, space or boundaries.
She is, what you might call, a free spirit.
Many believe that Julia, a ghost, resides upstairs at the
former Central Hotel and Peak Funeral Home. Owned by La Grange Mayor
Elsie Carter, the Main Street structure is thought to be haunted by
Julia Crawford, the Peak familys nanny.
Carter said her home has a friendly feeling. Thats
one of the reasons she bought it in 1990.
by Helen McKinney
Carter explains the strange
cold sensation she gets in
the kitchen of her home.
All she knew of its previous history was that it had been
a funeral home. The front part of the home was built in 1865. The home
burned in 1897, and the back part was added in 1905 during the time
it was a hotel.
Before the Peaks bought it in 1917, the building had also housed a post
office and harness shop. It was a funeral home from 1922 to 1962. For
a time, Carter used the majority of it as the Garden Party Restaurant.
This home is one of several buildings on the years Spirits of
La Grange Ghost Tours. The tours will be held Sept. 5 through Nov. 1.
Tours will be given Friday and Saturday nights at 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.,
with special group tours for 10 or more offered on Thursday nights at
Tour guide Barbara Edds said that a special event is being offered this
year, The Great Ghost Steak Out. A meal will be offered followed by
paranormal workshops and investigations to be held inside specific locations.
The workshops and investigations will be led by Paranormal Researchers
of Ohio Valley, which has investigated all of the locations.
I think this is the only event of its kind in the area,
said Edds. It is a very rare opportunity for anyone interested
in the paranormal, or just anyone who wonders about experiences they
have had that they just couldnt quite explain.
Carter said she is not taken in by all of the ghost hype.
But strange things have happened many times in her home. And since she
lives there, she has to deal with it.
While standing at the kitchen sink, Carter has experienced a cold sensation
many times. She has even been videotaped by Chris McGill and his team
of paranormal researchers for his former company, Ghostbusters.
A very visible softball-sized orb appeared beside her several times
on the video. This dancing orb was thought to be Julia.
Film great D.W. Griffiths funeral was held in 1948 at the Peak
Funeral Home. Actress Lillian Gish sang to the funeral goers from the
top floor balcony, said Carter.
Former Oldham County attorney Bruce Hamilton purchased it and used the
upstairs for many years to store books before he died. When Carter viewed
the building for the first time, she knew she had to buy it.
The Ghost Tours tell a lot about the history of La Grange,
said Edds. The town was established in 1824 by a deed from William Berry
Taylor, a land surveyor who owned more than 25,000 acres in three counties
and was known as Big Foot Billy. It is said that wherever
Taylor put his foot down, he owned the land.
The Kenyon Hotel once stood where the fire station is now located. Built
by Taylor in the early 1800s, it was known far and wide for its gracious
accommodations. It is even thought that famed wildlife artist John James
Audubon stayed in the hotel while he was an itinerant artist and writer.
The proceeds from the tour benefits Discover Downtown La Grange in its
efforts for historic preservation and the revitalization of downtown
We try to make sure everyone has fun and is entertained and hopefully
will learn a thing or two they didnt know about our great little
town, said Edds, now in her third year as a ghost tour guide.
I think our tours touch that place inside many of us who really
would like to know if ghosts could be real and would love to be able
to experience an encounter, she said. If spirits still haunt
the streets and buildings of La Grange, I can understand why its
such a great little town. Why would anyone ever want to leave?
Tour price is $15 per person. Thursday
special group rates for 10 or more are $13 per person. Reservations
are required. For more information, visit: www.spiritsoflagrange.com
or call (502) 356-3293.
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