Haunted Walnut Street Inn, Springfield

Haunted Walnut Street Inn, Springfield
My introduction to the Walnut Street Inn on the corner of Walnut Street and John Q. Hammons Parkway in Springfield, Missouri, was in the holiday 2016 issue of Midwest Traveler magazine encouraging visitors to “mix it up with ghosts of Christmas past.”

The Inn was built as a private home for Charles A. and Katherine Ashworth McCann in 1894. Charles was the successful entrepreneur of several local businesses. The couple raised their children in the home, and continued to live there for the rest of their lives.

Just a few years after they moved into their new home, in September of 1897, 5-year-old Ruth McCann, fell from the second story and broke her leg.

In October of 1900, daughter Blanch married John Sebree Farrington at the home with approximately 500 guests in attendance. According to a story in the Springfield Missouri Republican, “society was out in forces” that night. Expert decorators worked for two full days getting the home on Walnut Street ready for the event. Each room was decorated in a different color.

After Charles passed away on November 28, 1926, Katherine remained in the home until her death on February 20, 1942.

The Queen Anne Victorian house passed through the hands of several families before it was purchased and renovated by current owners, Gary and Paula Blankenship in 1996.

I find it interesting that a circa 1860 Steinway piano transported via train or wagon was placed in the home not long after it was constructed, and has never left the house!

Originally, the home contained seven fireplaces; but, after a “flue fire in the center wall during the ‘40s, five of them were taken out and thrown away.” The only two remaining original fireplaces are in the library and in the parlor on the second floor.

Guests and staff have reported paranormal activity at the Inn, mainly in the Rosen Room and adjoining hallways. This area is believed to be haunted by the spirit of an elderly lady.

I found a story from an evening staff member, Niki Knopf, telling of a guest’s ghostly encounter in 1998:

An actor from a touring group passing through Springfield was just lying down on the bed in his room one night when he looked over and saw a middle-aged lady wearing her hair up and dressed in Victorian clothing sitting at the table playing cards. All he could think to say was “This is my room.” She disappeared in front of his eyes.

The following year, a couple celebrated their anniversary by staying at the Inn in the McCann Room, next to the Rosen Room.

While the husband was dressing himself in front of the mirror in the bathroom early the next morning, he could see the bedroom behind him reflected in the mirror. As he dressed, he was startled to see the image of a woman “standing in Victorian clothes with her hair up” in the bedroom. He turned around, but she was not there. He turned back to the mirror, and there she stood.

Another paranormal encounter happened to a woman staying at the Inn’s Carriage House alone in the Maschino Room. She was up late reading. Turning out the lights around 2 a.m., she saw that there was a fog or mist hovering around the skylight in the room. She closed her eyes and tried to go to sleep; but, was frightened by the feeling of someone pulling back the covers on the bed to “sit down behind her and to her left.”

When the lady opened her eyes and looked behind her to her left, she saw a “woman sitting on her bed dressed in a Victorian dress with her hair up” looking at her. Then she vanished into thin air. The guest remained awake the rest of the night.

Other paranormal activity reported includes lights turning on by themselves and footsteps in the hallways.

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