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I recently did a ghost tour with Haunted ATX…we went to some of the most haunted spots in Austin – check it out!
A Bit More About The Haunted Sites in Austin
Clay Pit Indian Restaurant
Built by a group of early settlers in 1853 as a trading post. It was a business where white men and Indians could carry on their trading. In 1872, O.R. Bertram purchased the building to house his family as well as his dry goods business. Bertram’s General Store occupied the premises for the next eight years. The first floor continued to be used as a store with the saloon in back. The second floor became the Bertram family residence, with a parlor in front and bedrooms in back.
The building continued to serve as a general store in the 34 years following Bertram’s departure. During the 1880’s the State Treasury was stored in the building’s wine cellar along with barrels of gunpowder, molasses, wine, and whiskey. The wine cellar is famous for its double-arched construction inspired by the medieval castles and monasteries of Europe.
Starting in the 1940’s a series of restaurants occupied the property. The first was the Old Madrid Café, followed by the Old Seville, the Old Toro-all popular hangouts for UT students throughout the 1940’s and 1950’s.
In 1977, the building opened as the Red Tomato Italian restaurant and remained for several years. Currently now known as The Clay Pit. Serving Indian cuisine.
The most frequently reported manifestations are that of the sounds of a party going on in one of the upstairs banquet rooms when no one is in the restaurant. Also, in the 1800’s, Bertram’s five-year-old son died from typhoid fever while quarantined in his upstairs bedroom. It is believed that the tiny child remains in his old home, perhaps not understanding that he passed on.
The Driskill Hotel
The Driskill Hotel, opened on December 20, 1886. It was the second tallest building in Austin for many years, the State Capitol Building being the first. Within four months of the Grand Opening, Jesse Driskill was bankrupt and lost the hotel in a high-stakes poker game to J.M. “Doc” Day. The Driskill Hotel closed its doors in May 1887. . Three years later, Driskill died, flat broke.
The Driskills first ghost is that of Jesse Driskill. He makes his presence known by smoking cigars and turning bathroom lights on and off in several guest rooms on the top floors of the hotel. The daughter of a U.S. Senator haunts the grand staircase leading from the mezzanine down to the lobby. According to hotel lore, the senator was visiting Austin to participate in a political event at the hotel. His unattended four-year-old daughter was playing with a ball near the staircase when she slipped, and fell, and died on the marble floor at the bottom of the stairs. Late at night, the front desk staff has heard the child bouncing the ball down the steps as her giggling echoes through the empty lobby.
During the 1940’s a young woman who planned to marry and spend her honeymoon at the hotel met a tragic end by her own hand. After her fiancé canceled the wedding at the last minute, she hanged herself in her rose-filled room. Known as one of the Driskills more active apparitions, many employees and guests have witnessed the sad woman pacing the hallways of the haunted fourth floor traditional side in her wedding dress.
Bride #2 was a Houston socialite engaged to be married in the early 1990’s. When her fiancé had second thoughts and called off the wedding, the young woman took a trip to Austin to recuperate from her shock and depression. She booked Room 29 on the haunted traditional side and went on a weeklong shopping spree with her ex-fiancé’s credit cards. The young woman was last seen coming out of the fourth floor elevator, arms full of bags and packages. Her body was discovered three days later when housekeepers became concerned that she hadn’t left the room to eat. She was found lying in the bathtub, having shot herself in the stomach through a pillow. She is seen most often during October wandering the hallways in a modern wedding gown and with a gun in hand.
Even though I’ve done well over 13 ghost walks in the United States, spanning 13 states, I can honestly say I never thought to write about them or share photos from them until now. I began this ghost series a few weeks ago… I wrote about the ghost walk I did in York, which began where Guy Fawkes was born (the famous gunpowder plot conspirator who was hung and quartered in London), as well as ghost walk I did in New York only 3 months later. Now, a ghost walk I did in Newport, Rhode Island – haunted by the spirits from the gilded age….. Here are photos of haunted scenes around Newport and a tour company I recommend!! Have you had any haunted experiences where you live? I’d love to know!
We spent a few days in the charming, affluent seaside town of Newport in Rhode Island. It’s where many millionaires had their summer homes during the gilded age, including the Vanderbilts! We were in New York for Christmas and decided to drive through Connecticut to get there! I’ve always wanted to see it.
The weather was freezing! But we thoroughly enjoyed every minute. We surrendered to the cold and piled on coats and scarves! Of course we we did the mandatory mansion tour of gilded mansions down Bellevue Avenue, as well as some lighthouse and harbor walks, a ghost walk (of course) and antique shopping… but most especially, I LOVED being in our “Turret Suite” at Castle Hill Inn, a 4-star Forbes Rated Property… Photos below!
Plan your vacation there, now! Nothing like relaxing seaside air and salty walked along the cliff. It remind me of my home town in South Africa.
A visit to The Classic Coast—nine vibrant and historic towns all sharing some seriously prime New England coastline—is both everything you expect and enjoyably unpredictable.
The Elms was the summer residence of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Julius Berwind of Philadelphia and New York. Mr. Berwind made his fortune in the coal industry. In 1898, the Berwinds engaged Philadelphia architect Horace Trumbauer to design a house modeled after the mid-18th century French chateau d’Asnieres (c.1750) outside Paris.
This is last in my travel series throwing back to the Newport Mansions on Bellevue Avenue. Scroll down for pics of this posh palace!
This week I’ve been writing about various mansions I toured in Newport, Rhode Island, following our trip to New York last Christmas. Newport is only a few hours drive from New York. I found this house a little less opulent than the iconic Vanderbilt mansions “Marble House” and “Breakers” I wrote about earlier this week. But it was interesting and pretty none the less. I spent less time here (around 30 minutes as opposed to 2 hours) and I was sorry there was no cafe. This is the second last mansion we visited, called “Rosecliff”.
COST: $2.5 Million
Commissioned by Nevada silver heiress Theresa Fair Oelrichs in 1899, architect Stanford White modeled Rosecliff after the Grand Trianon, the garden retreat of French kings at Versailles. After the house was completed in 1902, at a reported cost of $2.5 million, Mrs. Oelrichs hosted fabulous entertainments here, including a fairy tale dinner and a party featuring famed magician Harry Houdini.
I wrote about Marble House in yesterday’s blog post. Today I finish up with some more stunning photographs of inside this exclusive gilded age mansion! A part of me wants to come back and tour this home at night!
Highlight on Marble House in Newport, Rhode Island
This is another original gilded age mansion in the affluent city of Newport, Rhode Island. A lot of prominent families during this time has summer homes here – which they called “Cottages”. I recently wrote about The Breakers in Newport. This is another Vanderbilt residence. It’s photo friendly, $15 for multiple household tours if you buy a package. Expect to spend 1-2 hours here and wear comfortable clothing! There is a gorgeous cafe at this one, overlooking Easton Bay in the North Atlantic Ocean. A Chinese tea house (original from the 1800s) overlooks the ocean and has coffee and snacks. Restrooms available.
Marble House was built between 1888 and 1892 for Mr. and Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt. It was a summer house, or “cottage”, as Newporters called them in remembrance of the modest houses of the early 19th century.
Scroll down for more photos in this travel blog on Marble House, part one! Part two, tomorrow!
The Breakers is the iconic gilded age mansion on Bellevue Avenue in Newport, Rhode Island. It was the Vanderbilt’s home. Expect to spend 1-2 hours there if you really want to take it in. There is an audio tour so no need to worry about reading up on it before. Everyone walks at their own pace in the mansion, there is also wheelchair access and it’s definitely photo friendly. It’s $15 per person winter pass (when we were there), and you can enter and tour as many mansions as you want! I would recommend walking shoes. There is a charming gift shop with Vanderbilt history as well as other trinkets and fiction novels set in the time of the gilded age. We drove up to Newport through Connecticut from New York, to spend a few days in this historical town on the seaside.
COST: $7 Million
The Breakers Stable & Carriage House is located approximately a half-mile west of the house, on Coggeshall Avenue. Completed in 1895, it is 100 feet deep and 150 feet wide, U-shaped with a carriage house in the center.
Scroll down for pictures of this marvelous mansion! (more…)