Saturday, April 18, 2009

Mansion House

The Mansion House from Ghost Tours of Phoenixville

The historic Phoenixville eaterie, now known as the Pickering Creek Inn, was first opened in 1842. It's across the tracks from the banks of the Schuylkill River by French Creek, at the end of Bridge Street's Restaurant Row.

It was a stop on the Underground RR and housed such illustrious guests as the Sundance Kid, Harry Longabaugh, who had a home in nearby Mont Clare. It was also a departure point for Union soldiers during the Civil War, and one them, Jeremy, is still there and stars as its' most famous spook. He was allegedly shot to death there.

The long-haired soldier is best known for his trick of spinning a single rose that sits in a vase, and he's also been known to have conversations with the guests. And he's not alone.

Workmen renovating the building in 2002 found a couple of sealed rooms, closed off before electricity was run into the House, filled with antiques and the smell of smoke from a long-ago fire (There have been several at the Mansion House over its history). Among the old things discovered in the dusty rooms may have been ghosts upset at being disturbed for the first time in over a century.

Some workers refused to continue on the job after knick-knacks flew off the shelves at them, the scents of cinnamon and perfume filled a room when the rest of the place reeked of smoke, and ghostly hands stroked their hair.

The owner could hear the front door opening and people entering the restaurant - but no one was there. The staff has stories of spooky going-ons in the sub basement and its dirt tunnel, presumably where the runaway slaves hid before being transferred to freedom.

There's enough going on to earn the Mansion House a mention in the book Ghosts of Valley Forge and Phoenixville Area by DP Roseberry, and it's a regular stop on the Ghost Tours of Phoenixville, said to be “the most haunted borough in Pennsylvania.”

So if you're looking for a burger, brew, and some otherworldly entertainment, Phoenixville has a place for you.

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