Mr. Conrad, the Widows, and the Persistent Haunting of the Conrad-Caldwell House

Well his name is on the door, after all. Who could blame Mr. Conrad for coming back home? The Conrad-Caldwell house is one of the jewels of Old Louisville’s extraordinary neighborhood, St. James Court. So much so, in fact, that the neighborhood made it into a museum for the public. They have since filled it from top to bottom with the finest period antiques. It is considered one of the best examples of Richardsonian Romanesque Architecture anywhere.

And why wouldn’t it be? Mr. Conrad had incredible taste. Theophile Conrad made a fortune running a large-scale tannery. He made enough to buy land and build a veritable castle for himself, his wife, and his six children on St. James Court. He and his family moved in the home in 1895. He died there in 1905, of a heart attack. And many say he never left.

As I say in book one, Mr. Conrad is often heard walking around, and some people have claimed to actually see his full apparition, scolding people who dare to wander into cordoned off areas. Most people seem to think he’s a watchful, protective presence who has never done any one any harm.

As for the widows, they came along in 1948, when the house became the Rose Anna Hughes Home for Widows. Amazingly, it operated until 1980. So, it stands to reason after they went to the great beyond, some of them would come back for the companionship they enjoyed at the home. Staff reports they sometimes hear echoes of a piano playing, or the sound of women talking. They’ve even scolded staff for leaving the window open when a rainstorm was coming in.

The Conrad Caldwell house is considered one of the most haunted places in the area, if not the country. It’s a fact most of the staff relays with pride, not fear.

The grand staircase at the Conrad is truly stunning, a miracle of wood artistry with its sprawling wood panels and delicate carvings. It seemed a great place for me to set one of my most momentous scenes in the first book of The Charmed One trilogy, coming soon.

If you love architecture and history, I highly recommend visiting the Conrad Caldwell House. In this case, truth is every bit as good as fiction.

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