Howard Taft Home – Cincinnati, OH
Born in 1857
to the prestigious Taft family of Cincinnati, William Howard Taft is another
buckeye to ascend to the presidency. The home where he was born now sits in the
Mount Auburn Historic District of Cincinnati, at 2038 Auburn Ave. His family
had relocated to Cincinnati 18 years previously for his father, Alphonso Taft
to open a law firm. Taft would go on to follow in his father’s footsteps,
graduating from Yale before returning to Cincinnati to attend law school and
work at The Cincinnati Commercial, a then popular local paper. After passing
the bar and marrying his childhood sweetheart Helen Herron, he was appointed as
judge of the Supreme Court of Cincinnati. Mere years later and he became the
youngest ever Solicitor General of the United States, appointed by President at
the time Benjamin Harrison (another Ohio President we’ll get to eventually.)
From there, sky was the limit; Taft became the Governor-General to the Philippines,
Secretary of War, Civil Governor of Cuba, and even Secretary of State, acting
as President when Theodore Roosevelt was away. Roosevelt, a close Republican
ally had begun to groom Taft as his successor, and in 1908 he won the 27th
Presidential election in a sweeping victory against William Jennings Bryan.
Taft would not be looked upon as a particularly popular president at the time
due to his disregard for the press and his dislike of the flashy politics that
made Roosevelt so popular. This would later lead to a split with Roosevelt, who
attempted his own reelection the following election that would see both Taft
and Roosevelt defeated solidly by Democratic nominee Woodrow Wilson. With the
Presidency out of the way, Taft was eventually appointed Chief Justice of the
Supreme Court, a position he had spent most of his career dreaming of. He was
well respected by his peers in his new position, ended up dropping a staggering
80 pounds, and remarked "I do not remember that I was ever President".
Taft would serve in this capacity for several more years until his death in
1930. He is one of two U.S. Presidents to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
The house on
2038 Auburn Ave. is now a museum and educational center run by the National Park
Service which operates 7 days a week from 8 AM to 4 PM. It is a Greek Revival
two-story home built in 1835, and is about a mile north of downtown Cincinnati.
Taft would end up spending all of his childhood there, remaining for 25 years
until his acceptance to Yale. The house would pass out of family ownership
after Taft’s move to Washington, and his descendants would spend several years
after attempting to reacquire the home as part of the William Howard Taft
Memorial Association. They gained ownership in 1953, and would spend $92,500 on
renovations to restore the property to its former glory in 1961. Three years
later the home was declared a National Historic Landmark, and in 1969 the
National Park Service took over the running of the property. The five rooms
making up the lower level of the home have been restored to appear as they did
when Taft lived there, and many of the portraits and books on display were
actually owned by the family, while the upper level has been converted into a
museum detailing William’s achievements. Another structure sits on the property
as well; the National Historic Site’s Visitor’s Center also known as the Taft
Education Center is located next to the home and includes offices, a gift shop,
and exhibits on the 27th President.
In honor of
President's Day, we've put together a few posts showcasing the beautiful,
historic Ohio homes once owned by former Presidents. With 7 Presidents to its
name, Ohio has plenty of real estate fit for a Commander-in- Chief. Take a
Harding Home - Marion, Ohio
It’s hard to
make your way through Marion, Ohio without catching a glimpse of something
associated with prolific former president Warren G. Harding; from the beautiful
marble memorial in his honor, to Marion Harding High School, to a plethora of
roads, businesses, and locations bearing his name. One such location is the
historic Harding Home, located downtown on Mount Vernon Ave. Harding, who
became the 29th President of the United States in 1921, launched his
bid for the candidacy from the front porch of the expansive Queen Anne style
mansion in Marion. Florence, Harding’s own wife designed the house, which was
erected in 1890 the year before their marriage; the couple would end up making
it their home for 30 years until his presidency. A second building stands on
the property behind the main home as well that served as Harding’s primary
After Harding’s death in 1923, Florence bequeathed the
home to the Harding Memorial Association, who eventually passed it on to the
Ohio Historical Society. It now operates as a museum and memorial for the
purpose of preserving the President’s memory and educating others. Almost
everything in the house is original or restored and gives great insight into
the lives and times of the Harding’s during their stay. The house contains a
reception hall, parlor, Harding’s own office, dining room, 4 bedrooms, and a
bathroom on the second floor, along with the expansive, elaborately decorated
front porch. The one time campaign headquarters now serves as a museum with
exhibits on Mr. and Mrs. Harding, as well as their “First Dog” Laddie Boy, an
Airedale Terrier that happens to be the first presidentially owned pet covered
extensively by the press. The museum is open Monday and Tuesday by appointment
only, with hours noon to 5 PM Wednesday through Sunday.
Harding Home isn’t on the market to become your own Presidential palace, Marion
is not in short supply on stately mansions. Just a mile from the home of one of
America’s most well respected Presidents will find you at 1003 Vernon Heights Blvd,
also known as the historic Isaly Mansion. This 6,400 Square Foot home sits on
1.4 acres of gorgeous scenic property containing woods, gardens, and ponds, as
well as a 30x30 extra detached garage (perhaps you could start your own bid for
the presidency there?) The inside is just as impressive as the beautiful
exterior; it contains a giant updated kitchen with cherry cabinets, corian
countertops, and a huge central island. The third floor holds an actual
ballroom converted into a large recreation room fit for your very own
inauguration party. The Master Suite comes with soaring cathedral ceilings,
it’s very own fireplace, and 2 walk-in closets, as well as an attached
Whirlpool Bath and skylights. Total, Vernon Heights offers 5 fireplaces,
beautiful hardwood flooring, a slate roof, and your very own private Verandah
with 5 bedrooms and 3.5 baths for a stunning price of only $374,900. All this,
and the right to boast you live in the neighborhood of a former U.S. President?
More than worth it!
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promises to be one for the ages, as Super Bowl XLVII is set to roll into New
Orleans and end all debate on just who deserves top billing for the 2012 NFL
season. The Baltimore Ravens will clash with the San Francisco 49ers, forcing the
rest of America to pick a side and cheer them on to victory. While neither team
hails from Ohio, you might be surprised
to learn that several key players, coaches and even sporting equipment come from the buckeye state. Here’s a look at
which Ohio natives will be at the Superdome come February 3rd.
Harbaugh vs. Harbaugh
Bowl is special for a lot of reasons: Both teams are undefeated in Super Bowl
appearances. The game will be the first Super Bowl played in the Superdome
since Hurricane Katrina and the stadium’s subsequent remodel. Another big draw
is that it will be the first time in NFL history that a pair of brothers will
face each other for the Vince Lombardi trophy. John Harbaugh, head coach of the
Baltimore Ravens will go up against 49er’s head coach Jim Harbaugh, his younger
brother. While many are familiar with the two coaches and their rise to the
top, several football enthusiasts are unaware of their deep Ohio roots. Both
Harbaugh’s were born in Toledo, Ohio; John in 1962, and Jim in 1963. The two
would spend most of their childhoods being brought up in the Ohio valley,
before moving to Kentucky, Iowa, Michigan, and California. Their father, also a
football coach would bring them up with a respect for the game that would lead
to both pursuing careers as players in college. John went on to play football
for Miami of Ohio, down in Oxford before becoming an assistant coach at Western
Michigan. Jim, undaunted by his Ohio upbringing would end up as quarterback for
the Michigan Wolverines, leading them to a 1987 Rose Bowl victory and a third
place finish for the Heisman. While John began a career as a coach early in
life, Jim would go on to play professional ball with the Chicago Bears,
Indianapolis Colts, Baltimore Ravens, and San Diego Chargers before his own
coaching career began. He coached at WKU under his own father from 1994-2001,
until becoming quarterback coach of the Oakland Raiders in 2002. He got his
first head coach position with San Diego for 3 years, until joining with
Stanford in 2007. Stanford would go on to 2 consecutive bowl appearances,
including the 2011 Orange Bowl. He was offered the head coach position with the
49ers soon after. John, meanwhile was building an impressive resume with the
NFL. After stints with Cincinnati University and Indiana, John found himself as
assistant coach and defensive backs coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, where he
would remain for 6 years. He would become head coach of the Baltimore Ravens in
The OSU Effect
There’s no denying that Ohio State
churns out awesome NFL recruits, several of whom go on to become
key players to their teams. The 49ers
will be bringing four former OSU players with them to New Orleans this weekend,
most of them starters. Alex Boone of Lakewood, OH, and former All Big-Ten
selection with the Buckeyes will be
representing at the tackle/guard position. Boone started for OSU all 4 years of
his college career, and parlayed that into a successful pro career with the
49ers. Joining him will be linebacker Larry Grant, who played for OSU his
junior and senior years before being named JUCO National Player of the Year in
2005. Grant would end up signing with the St. Louis Rams after the 2008 NFL
draft, before moving to the 49ers in 2011. Two players that Buckeye faithful’s
will have no trouble spotting on the field are Ted Ginn Jr. and Donte Whitner,
who not only tore up the turf in college, but have been climbing the ranks in
the NFL as well. Ginn, who many will remember as the punt returning phenom of
Glenville High and OSU plays wide receiver for the 49ers, and will surely be
utilizing that blazing speed he’s known for on Sunday. While football might be
his forte now, Ginn was originally recruited by OSU in track, and was believed
to have been a shoe-in for the Olympics at one time. He racked up several
awards and honors leading the Bucks to back to back National Championship runs
before being picked 9th overall in the 2007 NFL draft by the Miami
Dolphins, who would trade him in 2011 to San Francisco. Safety Donte Whitner is
perhaps the most interesting figure in the Super Bowl equation thus far. At the
age of 6, Whitner was struck by a car while casing a football into the street.
He fractured his leg in 30 separate places and was told he would most likely
never walk again. Not only is Donte walking today, he’s become a stand-out on
the national football scene. Whitner would also end up at Glenville during high
school before officially becoming a Buckeye. He was selected 8th
overall in the 2006 NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills, where he began his career
by intercepting a pass from Tom Brady in his very first game. Whitner gained
free agency in 2011, when he signed with the 49ers after considering the
Cincinnati Bengals as well. His career highlights include NFL Rookie of the Month
(Sept. 2006), NFC Champion (2012), and participation in the 2012 Pro Bowl.
It might surprise some Ohioans to
know that more college and pro football coaches come from Ohio than any other
state in the country. The best programs in the nation are built by Buckeyes, and
the coaches that make up the staff for the 49ers and Ravens are no different.
49ers Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman is a graduate of John Carroll
University, located in University Heights near Cleveland. The Ravens boast 3
Ohio natives, their Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees is from Dunkirk, Ohio and
coached at Bowling Green, Miami University, the University of Toledo, and was
head coach at Kent State University in 1998. Assistant Special Teams coach
Chris Hewitt played college football for the Cincinnati Bearcats, before
eventually winding up on the Cleveland Browns coaching staff, just before
moving to the Ravens. Don Martindale, the Ravens Inside Linebackers coach is
from Trotwood, Ohio near Dayton where he grew up. He coached for both Defiance
College and the University of Cincinnati before moving to Baltimore.
Made in Ohio
Our state has another thing going for
it when it comes to the Super Bowl, and it’s definitely something only we can
boast about. Every football that will be thrown, cached, and kicked on Sunday
will have been made right here in Ohio. Wilsons, known as the leaders in
sporting equipment manufacturing is based out of Ada, Ohio and goes into
overdrive every January to produce the balls used in the championship game. It
turns out, Wilsons has been making all of the NFL’s balls in Ada since the
1950’s, not to mention all they produce for other sports, colleges, youth
leagues, ect. The totally crazy thing about producing the Super Bowl balls is
that each ball used has the two team’s names and logos stamped onto them,
commemorating the event. Doesn’t sound too difficult right? Well, considering
the final game to decide the remaining teams don’t occur until maybe two weeks
before the event, workers at Wilsons have to go into overdrive to get the balls
done and shipped on time. Infact, workers have a tradition of showing up to
work at the plant in Ada during halftime of the final game, where they watch
the remainder of the game over pizza and party snacks, awaiting the final
puzzle piece before jumping to work on the balls. From around 10 PM to the
early morning hours they’ll work on them until a new set of employees shows to
relieve them. When all is said and done, they’ll produce around 230 game balls
for the Super Bowl total, which are then shipped to the game location.
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were hopeful that 2013 would begin on a high note with an increase in sales and
listings, and boy have we seen them recently! Perhaps due to the avoidance of
the fiscal cliff or building off the momentum of the past few months, the
housing market is coming back well ahead of some economist’s estimates. While
this is good news for realtors and those looking to list, could some buyers
actually be priced out of the market if they wait too long?
recent rise in the market may seem too fresh and unstable, some markets in the
U.S. are seeing huge recoveries right now. The Phoenix area saw an increase of
sales at 21.7% according to S&P Case-Schiller Data last month, with hard
hit areas like Detroit, Miami, and San Francisco not far behind. The result has
been a sharp incline in prices for those areas, as home owners discover the
supply and demand to be in their favor. Sadly this means that some potential
home buyers may find themselves unable to afford homes that they may have been
able to only a few short months ago.
is now forecasting overall increases of 3-4% in home prices for 2013, but like
the above cities, many areas are already seeing these increases before the
spring selling season even begins. This winter has been hot for home sales as
many buyers begin to see the signs that historically low housing prices are set
to take off this year.
cities are seeing the rapid growth of Phoenix or Miami though; The same index
saw a small drop in the New York and Chicago areas. Boston, and our friends in
Cleveland only saw gains around 2%, meaning buyers are much less likely to make
the jump into something new right now.
plus right now for people who are unsure about purchasing this year: You
guessed it, those great rates on mortgages, which financial analysts are predicting
will stick around for almost all of 2013. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate is
expected to remain under 4% for most of the year, but could move a little lower
or higher depending on market conditions.
site Trulia is saying that the market is “51% back to normal” for the month of
November, based on a 6% increase in existing-home sales. The wildcard for the
2013 housing market will be the so-called “shadow inventory” of distressed
homes that number in the 2.3 million and at the current pace of the market even
out to a 7 month supply. Analysts will be watching to see how quickly these
homes sell and for what prices to determine the rise in housing prices in the
listing their homes and builders adding to the supply will also have an impact
on the market. While we’re seeing a little bit of an uptick in listings after
the first of the month, we really won’t know what’s going to happen until we’re
well into spring. If there is an increase, prices may not rise as sharply and
homes may remain more affordable. Not only will buyers find it easier to afford
a new home, but bidding wars will be easier to avoid.
factors affecting the market include the fear over cutting of the
mortgage-interest tax deduction, which survived the fiscal cliff talks but may
be up for grabs again when congress begins talking debt ceiling towards the end
of the month. Many lawmakers support it’s cut, which could raise the overall
cost of home ownership. Another point is the low vacancy/high prices associated
with renting right now, leading several potential buyer to consider home
ownership more seriously.
the conditions or your own budget, there will always be wonderful homes in your
area that could be the perfect match with the help of the right realtor.
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Thankfully, 2013 did not begin on the sour note it could
have: a deal was reached by Congress in the wee hours of January 1st
to prevent potential economic disaster and steered us away from the “fiscal
cliff” you’ve no doubt heard so much about in the past month. While we can
debate the pros and cons of this deal no doubt, most home owners, sellers, and
potential buyers have just one question: How does this impact me?
Depending on where you fall on the earning scale, the fiscal
cliff deal was either good or bad for you; all those making under $400,000
individually ($450,000 total household) will keep the tax rates they now enjoy.
If you make over this amount, your taxes are set to increase to the same rate
they were back in 2003 at 39.6%, up from the 35% they were previously. Capital
gains taxes will also go up from 15% to 20% for the same income bracket. While
this doesn’t directly affect the housing market, you can bet that people
feeling the financial pinch will be more reluctant to make big property
However, the great thing about the fiscal cliff deal is that
two major housing related tax provisions were left untouched: The mortgage
interest deduction, and an extension on the tax relief for mortgage debt
forgiveness. These two provisions are key in keeping homeowners from going into
foreclosure and in their current homes. The deal also allows borrowers to
deduct the amount they pay for private mortgage insurance, another great
incentive when it comes to buying a new home.
Take a look at the details of the deal:
Homeowner Tax Items
through the end of 2013 mortgage debt tax relief
o The legislation extends the tax
exclusion for cancelled or forgiven principal residence debt, enabling short
sales and reducing downward pressure on housing prices.
enables mitigation efforts via government and lenders
for mortgage insurance extended through the end of 2012
o The deduction remains phased-out
ratably by 10% for each $1,000 by which the taxpayer’s AGI exceeds $100,000,
with complete phase-out at $110,000
o Extending the deduction reduces the
cost of homeownership for those using PMI, FHA, or VA mortgage insurance,
particularly first-time buyers
the section 25C energy-efficient tax credit for existing homes through end of
credit is a key tool for the remodeling community
the credit at the $500 cap level, as was the case in 2011
the Pease/PEP phase-outs for deductions
o For married taxpayers above
$300,000 ($250,000 single), the Pease limitation reduces total itemized
deductions by 3% for the dollar amount of AGI above the thresholds
o For example, a married couple at
$350,000 is $50,000 above the limit, and must reduce the Schedule A deduction
total by $50,000 times 3% or $1,500, increasing their tax by approximately
o No more than 20% of the phase-out
is attributable to the MID and the Pease rule will affect a very small number
of current MID beneficiaries
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Home owners ready to sell and potential buyers have had
their ears to the ground for the past couple years, keeping track of the real
estate market and what it could mean for their future. It’s been a long hard
road from 2008, but we’re finally seeing that light at the end of the tunnel,
and will continue to in 2013. If you’re ready to list your home or are looking
to purchase one, you may want to consider doing so in the next year after
reviewing these trends set to take off in 2013.
Return of Home Value
When the real estate bubble burst a few years ago, many home
owners were shocked to find their home values had plummeted. Selling the homes
that they had spent so much time, money, and effort in to create an investment
just wasn’t feasible in this climate. However, that is quickly changing; real
estate site Trulia is reporting a 3.8% spike in home sale prices in just the
past month alone. It’s looking more and more like 2012 was the year we finally
touched bottom, meaning 2013 will be the year we see a substantial turn around.
Even with prices set to rise in the coming year, it’s still a great time for
buyers to get in there and purchase property, as the record-low interest rates
on home loans are set to continue. Interest rates for December 2012 fell to an
average of 3.68% compared to 4.45% in 2011 and 4.69% in 2010. 2013 is going to
be that sweet spot where home owners begin to see a return on their
investments, while buyers can still snatch up real estate they love for prices
they may not see again in their lifetimes.
2012 saw a return of construction and new builds to the real
estate market that had been lacking in years previously. With the ultra-low
prices available to those looking to buy, as well as current owners understandably
unwilling to sell due to home value, the real estate market became thinner than
it had before. The result: buyers turned to home builders to craft their dream
homes. With that boost, builders are now attempting to get back in the game by
upping their constructions, giving potential buyers more options in their
search for the perfect home. Those looking to move into something new this
coming year may want to explore the options of having a home custom built, or
of looking for a new build since the market will continue to be inundated with
them as great options. Building permits were at their highest levels since 2008
this year, which is a great indicator that more builds are coming soon.
The recent plunge in the economy has hit certain groups
harder than others; this is especially true for the 25-35 year old age range that
have seen job prospects diminish greatly and their student loan debts grow. The
result has been a giant downturn in first time buyers who would otherwise be
snapping up real estate and establishing families now. This age group suffered
from a 9.2% jobless rate in 2011, compared to 8.7% for other working aged
groups at the same time. However, recently this jobless rate has fallen
substantially to 7.9%, only .2% more than the national average currently. This
means that more and more young adults that have been chomping at the bit to get
into a new home will potentially be able to in the coming year. This is great
news for home sellers anxious to sell and move up to a new home themselves.
When the first time buyers return to the real estate market, the entire system
Decline in Delinquencies
It’s been a rough couple of years for many homeowners who
have found themselves underwater on mortgages due to the drop in the economy.
When things began to slow in 2008, many owners became delinquent on mortgage
payments, a clear precursor to foreclosure.
Delinquencies peaked in the final 3 months of 2009, averaging 6.89%; to
compare, delinquencies were only 1.49% in 2006 before the beginning of the
recession. The good news is that the delinquencies have been steadily dropping
since 2012 and are expected to continue their decline well into 2013. Currently
they stand at 5.41%, and are expected to drop another 2% in the coming year.
The silver lining to this is that the vast majority of delinquencies right now
are made up of old debts that are a year or more behind; people are not going
into foreclosure or becoming delinquent anywhere near the rate that they once
were a few years ago. We are finally seeing a stabilization of the housing
market and a possible end to ramped foreclosures.
Although there is no denying that the housing market has
been making a recovery in recent months and has the potential to grow even
more, there is one thing that stands between us and a true full recovery. The
culprit? You guessed it: The dreaded fiscal cliff. With much of the United
States’ eyes turned to Washington, it’s no surprise that many people who would
otherwise be taking a chance on buying or selling are waiting to see where the
cards fall. Just the threat of possible economic repercussions has the potential
to upset the recovery underway. Among possible casualties of the fiscal cliff
debates are Mortgage Interest Deductions, The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief
Act of 2007, and the beginning of the Medicare Real Estate Surtax used to fund
the new healthcare system.
Although we’re not quite where we were pre-recession yet,
2012 has given us a lot to be thankful for, and 2013 has the potential to be
even better. No matter the problems or obstacles presented to the housing
market, there will always be great realtors there to help those in need
navigate home sales and purchases, with your benefits in mind. Here’s to a
at the Columbus Zoo
November 16, 2012 - January 1, 2013
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Sunday-Thursday 5-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday 5-10 p.m.
Adults $14. Seniors $10. Children 2-9 $9. Children under 2 free.
4850 W. Powell Rd., Powell, 43065
Turn up the
wattage on your holiday season with Wildlights at the Zoo. We've decked the
halls, trees, bushes, everything but the animals wi eco-friendly LED lights to
bring you the brightest Wildlights display ever!
Franklin Park Conservatory Merry & Bright
November 17, 2012 - January 6, 2013
Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Monday-Tuesday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday-Sunday 10
Adults $11. Seniors and students $9. Children $6. Children under 2 free.
1777 E. Broad St., Columbus, 43203
Celebrate the most wonderful time of the year
with an elegant display of poinsettias, seasonal foliage and twinkling lights,
the family favorite Paul Busse model train and magnificent gingerbread display.
Weekly musical entertainment, enhanced evening activities and family
programming ensure a merry holiday season for all.
Classics at Gateway Film Center
November 21 - December 26, 2012
Gateway Film Center
Classic films show at Wednesday 7 p.m. Friday 2 p.m. Saturday 6 p.m. Sunday 2
1550 N. High St., Columbus, 43201
Gateway Film Center presents its third annual
Holiday Classics film series. The series includes Meet Me In St. Louis (1944),
The Bishop's Wife (1947), Christmas In Connecticut (1945), It's A Wonderful
Life (1946), and White Christmas (1954).
Shadowbox Live: Holiday Hoopla XXI
November 15 - December 29, 2012
Tuesday-Thursday 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. No show
$30. $20 for students and seniors
S. Front St. Suite 260, Columbus, 43215
That's right, if you were born the day of our
first Holiday Hoopla you can now drink. (Legally.) Full of sketch comedy that
pokes fun at our desire to make the holidays perfect, rockin' seasonal tunes
from house band BillWho?, and the hilarious musical send-up The Santa Babies,
Hoopla never disappoints. And after all, what's Christmas without Italian
Gangsters, Alien Invasions and Synchronized Swimming?
Holiday Tours on Capital Square
1 - 31st
offered weekdays at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m., and weekends
at noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Broad and High St. Columbus, OH
Step back in time with a guided tour of the
1861 Statehouse and see holiday decorations as they were in Victorian times.
Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol
December 6-23, 2012
Columbus Civic Theater
Thursday-Saturday 8-10 p.m. Sunday 2-4 p.m.
3837 Indianola Ave., Columbus, 43214
The Columbus Civic Theater presents its
version of the Charles Dickens' holiday favorite adapted directly from the
original novella by Ben Gorman. Using multiple narrators and elements of
Storyteller Theater, our version of A Christmas Carol is a perfect blend of
faithfulness to the script and inventive theatricality.
Men's Chorus: Joy to the World!
December 7-8, 2012
King Avenue United Methodist Church
Friday 8-10 p.m. Saturday 2-4 p.m. and 8-10 p.m.
King Ave., Columbus, 43201
The Holidays are a global celebration. Join us
for this annual holiday tradition and enjoy songs from around the world that
bring Joy and happiness to so many during this time of hope and love.
December 7-23, 2012
7-9: Friday 7:30 p.m. Saturday 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Sunday 2 p.m. Dec. 13-16
and Dec. 20-23: Thursday-Friday 7:30 p.m. Saturday 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sunday
1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
E. State St., Columbus, 43215
Journey with Clara and her Nutcracker Prince
to the Land of the Sugar Plum Fairy - a magical world of the imagination filled
with colorful characters sure to enchant you and your family.
Dickens of a Christmas – Ohio Historical
December 7-16, 2012
Ohio History Center/Ohio Village
7-8: Friday-Saturday 6-9 p.m. Dec. 14-16: Friday-Saturday 6-9 p.m. Sunday
Adults $12. Children 6-12 $9.
E. 17th Ave., Columbus, 43211
Step into the world of Charles Dickens as Ohio
Village revisits the Victorian Christmas made famous in his stories. From plum
pudding to that pretty little German toy, the Christmas tree, Dickens created a
festive and enduring vision of Christmas. Join us in the village as the spirit
of Dickens comes to life through interactions with characters from his
writings, cooking demonstrations, hands-on crafts, decorations, caroling,
readings by candlelight, street vendors, and many more Victorian holiday
Gallery Players: Hanukkah Lights in the Big
Sky by Buffy Sedlachek
December 7-16, 2012
Columbus Jewish Community Center
Adults $20, Seniors $18, Children $10
1125 College Ave. Columbus, OH
When a young boy puts a menorah in the window
of his family's home in Billings, Montana, a brick is thrown at it. A
remarkable story of a community coming together to fight hate with
extraordinary demonstrations of love that blend the traditions of Hanukkah and
Christmas and transform the city from darkness to light. Based on true
Mannheim Steamroller Christmas
Saturday 8 PM
$78.95 - $101.40
West Broad St. Columbus, OH
Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis has been America's favorite holiday
celebration for over 25 years. Grammy Award winner Chip Davis has created a
show that features the beloved Christmas music of Mannheim Steamroller along
with dazzling multimedia effects performed in an intimate setting. The spirit
of the season comes alive with the signature sound of Mannheim Steamroller.
Don't miss this ultimate holiday tradition from the #1 Christmas music artist
Thursday Dec. 27th, 2012
Barbara R. Nicholson Auditorium
Mt. Vernon Ave. Columbus, OH
Join the King Arts Complex as we celebrate
Kwanzaa. In partnership with the Tawi Family village, these community events
will express the true meaning of the Kwanzaa holiday. Patrons will be able to
learn about the seven principles, enjoy entertainment, see old friends and meet
new friends. We will answer "habari gani" (What's the good news) and
cry "Harambee" (Let's all pull together!) at the end of the evening.
Join us for authentic African cuisine, African dance and drumming.
December 30, 2012
Sunday 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.
W. Nationwide Blvd., Columbus, 43215
Orchestra is teaming up with Hallmark Channel to present the band's
multi-platinum rock opera, "The Lost Christmas Eve" - the newest
chapter in the TSO holiday tradition.
Getting Ready for the Holidays
With December arriving today, chances are you’ve already
began the Christmas decorating process, or will be undertaking it shortly. Most
people will be unloading boxes from attics and basements, untangling lights,
and hauling home a fresh cut Christmas tree this weekend. However, there are a
few things to remember before you begin your campaign for best light display in
the neighborhood, or prettiest Christmas tree, and we’ve got most of it
Lighting the Way
Perhaps the most hated task of holiday decorating, stringing
up lights can be a real hassle, at least when it comes to replacing bulbs and
checking fuses. Start by doing a simple visual check of the light strands
you’re working with; if a bulb looks burned out or the actual cord looks
damaged, you’ll want to fix that before plugging them in. Wrap potentially
broken cords with electrical tape to prevent any nasty shocks, and replace
damaged bulbs with any extras you might have. Once that’s done, you can move on
to actually plugging them in. Even if you took the utmost care bundling them up
from last season, exposure to extreme temperatures can ruin perfectly good
bulbs, and you’ll want to check them before putting them up.
If you plug it in and
nothing happens, you’ll want to check the individual bulbs and make sure they
are not loose from the plugs. Most modern lights will still continue to work
even if a bulb isn’t working, but they won’t work at all if a bulb is missing
or especially loose. If all of the bulbs are pushed in tightly and in working
order, you might have an issue with the fuse, which is often located in the
plug of the strand. Most lights come packaged with a little plastic bag
containing extra fuses and bulbs, so replacing the fuse should be a piece of
Other than that, be sure to use outdoor-labeled lighting and
extension cords for your outdoor displays. Also make sure that everything
outside is plugged into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). All outdoor
lighting should be hung using insulated holders and hooks, and you should never
leave your lights on overnight or when you’re out of the house in case of an
electrical fire. Remember the steps you took at the end of the Christmas season
to help aid in storing your lights again so that you can avoid any problems
O Christmas Tree…
When you’re ready to head out to pick up a Christmas tree,
there are steps you need to take beforehand to ensure that it’s a perfect fit.
Measure the space that you’ll be displaying the tree in, both horizontal and
vertically to make sure you have enough room for it to stand properly. Remember
to bring your tape measure along when you go to get the tree so you’re
absolutely sure you won’t have to hack it down to size. Also give the tree a
once over and inspect the needles; they should look shiny, green and fresh.
Your tree should not have a lot of dried, brown, and brittle needles.
Some tree farms will let you know the type of tree they
sell; look for a hearty breed like a Fraser or a Noble Fir. These trees will
have thicker, stronger branches that can withstand heavy ornaments and
decorations. When it’s time to take the tree to your house, a lot of people
will be tempted to strap it to the top of their car and haul it home. This is
fine; as long as you make sure the straps are good and secure. However if you
want to ensure no damage comes to the tree, its branches, or the needles it
might be a good idea to move it in a truck or SUV. Remember that if you go the
real tree route, you’ll have to water it for the month of December. Plain old
tap water is the best thing for the tree, and when refilling its container,
make sure the water level sits above the cut line to ensure its sucking up
enough H2O to keep it healthy.
The holidays; quite possibly the one time of the year where
all traditional decorating advice can be thrown out the window. “Go big or go
home” is the name of the game when it comes to displays and decorations for the
month of December, and we definitely encourage you to go big!
There are plenty of great sites for coming up
with easy and ingenious ways to deck the halls. Our favorite is definitely
Country Living's huge 101 Holiday Decorating Ideas photo gallery (http://www.countryliving.com/homes/holiday-decorating-1208#slide-1
that has plenty of ideas no matter your style. Some of our favorites include…
Getting Crafty: Don’t underestimate your own
creativity when it comes to Christmas and holiday decorations. There are plenty
of unique ideas to use at home, such as sewing together old skirts to create a
brand new tree skirt, using matchboxes to make the cutest advent calendar ever,
and cutting out images from old botanical and nature themed books to make
vintage style ornaments.
Make your own Wreath: Who says you have to buy a
premade wreath this Christmas? There are plenty of options for making your own!
For the eco-conscious, try repurposing old newspaper and magazines to make a
lovely wreath for your door, or even use family photos from Christmas’s past.
Yarn balls in red and greens can make a cute and clever holiday wreath as well.
One of our favorite ideas includes making a wreath from fresh herbs and plants
for your door; the look is trendy and completely natural.
Vintage is in: This is the time of year to
remember the past and all of those special holiday memories. Help revive them
by including some beautiful vintage/vintage inspired decorations. You can
display printed vintage Christmas cards, either hanging from string across your
fireplace or on a lovely iron card tree. Vintage style present tags can make
surprisingly beautiful and festive ornament ideas for your tree. Use an older,
ornate tray or bowl to display some of your best vintage Christmas tree
The Power of Nature: While poinsettias are a
holiday mainstay, consider a couple other types of flowers, plants, and even
fruits to decorate your home. Amaryllis has long been considered a Christmas
flower as well, and will look stunning in your displays. When it comes to your
tree, why not consider a replacement that will live for several years to come,
like a small potted pine or fir trees. Cranberries make great decorations when
placed in vases with their shiny red exterior. For a real show-stopper, find a
large branch the size of your dinner table and suspend it from the ceiling,
with hanging Christmas tree ornaments placed sporadically all over.
Unconventional Colors: Is anything more
traditional than Christmas red and green? If you find yourself looking for a
way to change up your holiday palette, try variations of the old fave. Light
green and white create a wintery, fresh feeling while still being playful. For
a real icy look, combine soft blue with white and silver, or go all out with
pure white. Metallics, especially gold are eye catching, can be used with any
combination of colors, and can be left up to ring in the New Year as well. For
a thoroughly modern twist, use a bright turquoise/blue with either green or
While this fall has been mild and enjoyable for the most
part, winter is right around the corner, and with it a number of problems that
can plague home owners who are not prepared for it. To help you get ready for
all of the ice, snow, and possible headaches on the way this winter in Ohio, here’s
some ideas on weather-proofing your home this season.
Top to Bottom Cleaning
Fall and Spring are prime times to give your house a once
over, and you’ll be glad you did when that cold weather hits. This is a great
time to turn over your mattress and wash every little bit of bedding you own;
think of how nice that will be when you’re all snuggled up in it come December
or January. A lot of people take this time to have their carpets professionally
cleaned, so that all of that residue left over from the summer months is up and
out of your house. Something else you should consider vacuuming is your window
treatments, drapes, or any upholstered furniture that could be collecting dust
or allergens from when you had the windows open a few months before. The
windows themselves could also probably use a good solid cleaning as well, with
special attention to the inside sills as well. Lastly, check out what’s going
on behind your refrigerator; condenser coils can collect a ton of dust, and
you’ll want to check for any potential leaking depending on your model.
Access your Mess
One of the best things you can do as a home owner is to be
aware of just what is going on in every room and corner of your house. This is
a great time to simply walk your property and access what is going on, or what
could become a problem in the coming months. A good place to start is in your
attic or basement, where insufficient insulating or sealing can cost you tons
of money during the winter. A lot of home owners can take advantage of
weatherization rebates for insulating their house, so it might be a good idea
to look into it for your attic. Houses can lose a huge percent of their heat
through poorly insulated attics and top floors, so make sure you’re covered
before you’re stuck with a huge heating bill. Basements need to have the rim
joist area air-sealed at the bare minimum to prevent heat loss.
Another important area to check that is often overlooked are
the baseboards of your home, which can present signs of water damage and be an
entry point for nasty critters looking for a place to stay in the winter months;
making sure these areas are properly sealed will save you a lot of potential
stress. Obviously you’ll also want to check all doors and windows for potential
drafts that you can weather strip as well. While you’re at it, also check on
your washing machine hoses for bulges or cracks, and make sure your dryer
exhaust tube is in working order. You’ll also want to take a peek at the dryer
vent too; make sure there is no excess lint, debris, or even old bird’s nests
stuck in there. Last but definitely not least, check those fire and carbon
monoxide detectors and make sure their batteries work. If you don’t have one or
the other installed in your home, drop what you’re doing RIGHT NOW and get one!
Fall can be a dangerous time for both home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.
The Great Outdoors
Although your actual house will be your main concern come
winter, don’t overlook your yard and surrounding property. Now is the time to
gather up any summer furniture or equipment and get it inside or into storage
to prevent damage from ice and precipitation. You’ll also want to drain and
store any garden hoses, install insulating on exterior spigots, and blow any
water out of your sprinkler systems to prevent freezing. All lawn equipment that relies on gas
should be drained before being stored for the winter as well.
The number one home maintenance project undertaken during
the fall is the annual cleaning of the gutters and for good reason too. Clogged
up gutters can lead to standing water, which will freeze during the winter and
cause substantial damage to your roof, or even ruin it altogether. Make sure
that it is clear of all leaves and debris before it gets too cold. While you’re
up there, it might also be a good idea to replace any worn tiles or shingles
you find. To further protect your roof or any power lines in the area, prune
back any tree limbs that seem too close. Branches can get overloaded with snow
and ice and collapse under the weight, causing major damage to whatever happens
to be beneath them. And finally, make sure all driveways, brick patios, and
decks are sealed and weather prepped.
Hot & Cold
Now that everything else has been taken care of, it’s time
to get down to the nitty gritty: your heating system. No matter what kind of
system you rely on (furnace, wood stove, boiler, heat pump, ect.) it’s a good
idea to have it completely serviced. If you do have a furnace, now is the time
to change the filter for the season and make sure you have some replacements on
hand. For homes with fireplaces, you’ll want to check up on it and see how the
flue is doing. If it’s wood burning, you might want to clean it as well. While
you’re checking your roof and gutters, check out the chimney and see if it’s
sustained any damage in the previous year. Another good idea is installing a
cap or a screen at the top of the chimney for the season. While we’re worrying
about the heating system, don’t neglect your cooling system; have the air ducts
cleaned as well. You may also want to cover your air conditioning unit to
protect from ice and snow. Taking these steps now will ensure your air cooling
system will be ready to go when spring rolls around in a few months.
These tips are a great start to preparing your home for the
winter weather that’s sure to hit in the coming weeks, but remember that you
know your house better than anyone, and will probably have even more ideas to
making the most of December, January, and February. Trust your instincts; if you
think something might not make it through the winter, fix or replace it now to
avoid distress later. You’ll be glad when you’re bundled up, safe and cozy with
your family at home.
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10.) 508 East 2nd Street
The Villisca Axe Murder House
Famous Owners: The Moore Family
There isn’t a sadder tale around regarding the origin of a
haunted house than that of the Moore family and their home in Villisca, Iowa. Josiah
and Sarah Moore lived at 508 East 2nd Street with their 4 young
children (Herman, Katherine, Boyd and Paul) where they were considered a
prominent family in the community, both through Josiah’s fledgling business and
Sarah’s dedication to the local church. On the night of June 9th,
1912 the Moore family attended a special program held by the Villisca
Presbyterian Church for the community’s children, which was overseen by Sarah
Moore herself. Two young girls who were friends with the Moore children, Lena
& Ina Stillinger were also in attendance; they lived much further away and
would have to walk in the dark to their grandmother’s home to spend the night,
as the program wasn’t slated to end until sundown. Instead of doing that,
Josiah Moore telephoned the girl’s parents and gained permission to let them
stay the night at their home. The family and the 2 girls reached the Moore
house around 10 PM that night; It would be the last time anyone would see them
Thanks to a vigilant neighbor, the Moore home was investigated
by Josiah’s brother Ross well after 9 AM, far past the time that the family
would have risen for the day. What he found would stun the small town of
Villisca and the entire nation; all 8 occupants of the house had been
bludgeoned to death in their sleep with the blunt end of an axe as they slept. Police
discovered that all of the doors had been locked at the time of the murders,
leading many to believe that the murderer entered the home before the Moore
family had returned from the church, and then waited in hiding for them to fall
asleep. The murder weapon, an axe belonging to Josiah Moore was found the in
the downstairs bedroom that had been occupied by the Stillinger sisters that
night. All of the window coverings had been drawn, and a basin of bloody water
was found in the downstairs kitchen. The police could find no obvious
perpetrator for the crime, and to this day the gruesome murder of an entire
family remains unsolved.
Although many theories have materialized in the years
following the murder in Villisca, the house has served as a reminder to all
passer-byers of the horror of that night and the injustice of the murderer
never being caught. Today the home is a national historical site and open to
tours and overnight stays to those willing to put themselves in the same place
as the murdered Moore family. There have been several reports of strange activity
in the homes, most notably the sound of children’s voices and laughter. Objects
fall or roll across the floor, banging sounds can be heard in the attic, and several
paranormal investigation groups have come from the house with unexplainable
tapes and photos. Some debate over if
the property is in fact haunted still exists; recent caretakers have not agreed
on the subject, leaving many amateur ghost hunters to weigh in. Is the Villisca
Axe Murder House haunted? Perhaps you should stay the night and find out.
The White House
Famous Owners: Every United States President
No house in America is more recognizable than the White
House, which has served as the residence of the sitting President of the United
States for well over 200 years. The neoclassical style building has endured the
growth and changes of the nation from infancy to what it is today, and has
survived an attempted burning by the British army, several wars, and tons of
later additions. It’s no surprise that a property so entrenched in history
would be reported to be haunted, but some wouldn’t believe the number of famous
figures that are supposed to haunt its halls.
Abigail Adams, wife of President John Adams moved into the
White House in 1797 where her primary jobs included caring for the home and
tending the laundry. Supposedly, you can sometimes still see her doing just
that, caring laundry in her outstretched arms heading towards the East Room ,
clad in a lace cap and shawl. David Burns was a businessman alive during the
mid-1700’s who sold most of the land that would make up Washington D.C. and the
White House to the United States, and apparently is still there. President
Franklin D. Roosevelt himself is reported to have heard the sound of a man’s
voice in the Yellow Oval Room, announcing himself as “Mr. Burns.”
Andrew Jackson is also believed to inhabit the White House;
the Rose Room, which served as his chambers during his presidency, is
supposedly one of the most haunted rooms in the house. Mary Lincoln-Todd
claimed years later to hear the sound of Jackson stomping around and swearing
in the White House halls, perhaps reliving his famous defeat at reelection to
John Quincy Adams. President Harry Truman even wrote to his wife Bess about a
possible encounter with Jackson on at least one occasion.
Of course, the most widely reported ghost sighted on the
White House grounds is Abraham Lincoln who has supposedly haunted the
presidential home since his death at the hands of an assassin in 1865. Lincoln
has appeared to a great number of first ladies, including Grace Coolidge, Lady
Bird Johnson, and Eleanor Roosevelt. Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands
apparently met Lincoln during a visit years ago, when he knocked on her door
one night wearing his customary top hat, causing the poor woman to faint. Winston
Churchill also reportedly saw Lincoln one night after exiting the bath, finding
the famous President in front of his fireplace. It is well known among staff
and residents of the White House that any pacing from the upstairs floors is
attributed to the 16th president, who supposedly makes his presence
known to those in charge during times of strife in the country.
8.) 2467 San Diego Ave.
The Whaley House
San Diego, California
Famous Owners: Thomas Whaley
The Whaley House is the second house on our list to be
officially designated as haunted by the state of California, and is supposedly
the single most haunted house in the United States. The house itself was built
over the former gallows of San Diego, and its first reported ghost belongs to
James “Yankee Jim” Robinson, who was hung there in 1852. Thomas Whaley didn’t
think anything of the location’s history apparently, because he bought and
built on the property only 2 years later. Thomas Whaley had moved to California
with his wife and 6 children after the death of an infant son and a fire that
destroyed their store. The next death on the property would be Violet Whaley,
Thomas’ daughter, who committed suicide in the house in 1882 after her new
husband ran out on her. She was only 22 years old.
Over the next several years, many more Whaley’s would lose
their lives within the home, mostly from old age; Anna, Thomas’ widow, and four
of their children would pass away there as well. There are also stories about a
young girl named Annabel Washburn, the supposed playmate of one of the Whaley
children breaking her neck and dying in the backyard. No record exists of such
a family in the area however, and there are no police reports of death records
referring to this accident. What is known is that several guests of the Whaley
House and museum have reported strange occurrences and even full blown
apparitions of the former Whaley family.
Perhaps the most well-known sighting, TV personality Regis
Philbin claimed to have seen an apparition of Anna Whaley while touring the
home in 1964. Guests have seen other apparitions of women, as well as young
girls, and even Thomas Whaley himself. A little girl who was visiting with her
family several years ago began waving to an empty window of the house, only to
later tell her parents that he was the same man pictured in the portraits of
Mr. Whaley. The legends of ghosts are not just limited to humans either;
supposedly, a little spotted fox terrier roams the Whaley House’s halls as well.
7.) 3322 DeMenil Place
St. Louis, Missouri
Famous Owners: The Lemp Family
The Lemp Mansion located in St. Louis, Missouri has the
special designation of being home to the first lager beer manufacturer in the
United States, after it was erected William J. Lemp in 1860’s. Lemp came from
Germany, where he had been taught the process of brewing beer by his father in
Eschwege. William discovered that the grounds under St. Louis were perfect for
making a cave system for aging beer, and by the 1870’s he had created a
sprawling tunnel system under the streets of the city for his beer company. Lemp
rose to fame and fortune with his company, but it would all go sour in the
early 1900’s, leading many to believe that the mansion his family inhabited and
the tunnels underneath are now haunted.
The Lemp family would have its first brush with tragedy in
1901 when William’s favorite son Frederick died from mysterious causes; Frederick’s
death would haunt his father for the next three years, until he took his own
life within the mansion. The company which had been taken over by William Jr.
would suffer misfortune as well, closing down completely in 1919 at the start
of prohibition. The brewery would be sold for a fraction of its actual worth
soon after, leaving the rest of the Lemp family to inhabit the mansion at 3322
DeMenil with a diminished fortune. The next tragedy would be in 1920 when
William Jr.’s sister Elsa committed suicide as well at the mansion. William Jr.
would follow her soon after, also ending his own life some 18 years after his
own father. Charles Lemp, William’s brother also killed himself there, and his
own son William III died there of a heart attack at age 42. The last of the
Lemp’s would die there in 1970, when Edwin Lemp, William Lemp Jr.’s brother
would pass away at age 90.
With all of the heartbreak and ended lives connected to the
Lemp Mansion, it’s no wonder that it’s reported to be haunted. Today you can
tour the mansion, or even sleep in the home overnight. Several television shows
have filmed on the property, attempting to capture any sign of the now deceased
Lemp family. If you’re really looking for some scares, you can also tour the
abandoned tunnels once used by the Lemp Brewing Company; it’s a genuine haunted
attraction that sees hundreds of patrons a night during the month of October. Whether
there really are ghosts in Lemp Mansion, or just actors in costumes down in the
tunnels, we may never know (unless you want to check for yourself!)
For the next week we'll be
introducing you to the more TERRIFYING pieces of real estate in the United
States. Some of them you've no doubt heard of, some might be new to you. And
some...might be located a little closer than you'd want them to be...
#13) 112 Ocean Avenue
Other Names: The Amityville Horror
Location: Amityville, New York
Year Built: 1925
Famous Owners: The Lutz Family,
The DeFeo Family
112 Ocean Avenue, also known as
“The Amityville Horror House” has been a controversial home for several years,
due to the events that supposedly took place, and the ensuing backlash that
framed the entire affair as an elaborate hoax. Amityville’s morbid history
began on November 13th, 1974 when then 23 year old Ronald DeFeo Jr.
shot and killed his parents and four siblings in their beds. Investigators have
spent years attempting to uncover his motivations for the killings, and his
story of what happened the night of the murders has changed several times. At
one time it was believed that DeFeo was looking to collect his parent’s life
insurance, then that his extensive drug use was to blame, and even that he was
possessed by a demonic spirit. Whatever the cause, DeFeo ended up in Green
Haven Correctional Facility with 6 consecutive life sentences and no chance of
A little over a year later, the
Lutz family purchased the home despite being aware of its troubled past. George
and Kathy Lutz moved into 112 Ocean Avenue with their three children on
December 19th, 1975 and would only end up staying in the home for a
total of 28 days. Shortly after having Father Ralph J. Pecoraro bless the
property, the Lutz family began experiencing a series of horrific events that
would serve as inspiration for countless books, movies, and TV specials.
First was Father Pecoraro’s
warning: that he felt something wrong in one of the upstairs bedrooms and
encouraged no members of the family sleep there. In later years, he would say
that he heard something whisper “get out” while he toured the home. George
began waking up at precisely 3:15 AM each night with the compulsion to check on
the boat house. He would later learn that 3:15 AM was the presumed time of the
murders committed by Ronald DeFeo. Other strange events included swarms of
flies in the winter, troubling dreams revolving around the murders, awful
smells that couldn’t have come from the plumbing or any other source, and cold
spots through-out the home.
Things began to escalate quickly
from there; the Lutz’s 5 year old daughter Missy began talking to an invisible
friend named “Jodie” who she said would crawl in her window and could turn into
a pig. Kathy Lutz reported that one night while tucking Missy in, she saw
glowing red eyes watching her from outside the window. An increasingly
withdrawn George became obsessed with the fireplace, which he would spend hours
tending, telling Kathy that he could never feel its warmth. They also
discovered a tiny concealed room in the basement measuring 5 by 4 feet in size,
the walls painted blood red; their family dog Harry refused to go near it and
would whimper in fear while in the basement. They began hearing what sounded
like people walking around the top floors when no one was there, and doors and
windows would slam shut on their own. A strange slime appeared to ooze out of
the walls; a crucifix that Kathy had pinned to a wall spun upside down and
began to emit a foul odor, and the family experienced unexplained welts and bite
marks on their bodies. The final straw came on January 14th,
1976 after a night that the Lutz’s
have never spoken of publicly, and refuse to give details on. The family fled
the house, leaving their possessions and never returning to the property.
Since going public with their story, numerous interviews have been given by
the Lutz family on what they experienced. After leaving the house, they were
contacted by Jay Anson, a writer who used 45 hours of tape recorded interviews
with the Lutz family to write “The Amityville Horror: A True Story”. Despite
the title, several skeptics would tear into the family’s story which at times
did not hold up to fact. George and Kathy have said that they did not work
directly with Anson, and that some things featured in the book and the
subsequent movies have been embellished, but maintain that they did endure
inhuman torment. Accusers believe that the family was well aware of the tragedy
that had occurred there, and moved into the home hoping to capitalize from it. William
Weber, Ronald DeFeo’s defense attorney actually met with the Lutz’s at one
point, and claimed years later that the three had cooked up the story of a
haunting over a few bottles of wine. Whatever the truth, the house was sold to
the Cromanty family in March of 1977 and reports of the paranormal have come to
a stop. Was 112 Ocean Avenue ever really haunted? We certainly don’t know, and
we’re not keen on finding out.
#12) 525 South Winchester Blvd.
Other Names: The Winchester
Location: San Jose, California
Year Built: 1884
Famous Owners: Sarah Winchester
The Winchester Mystery House has the distinct honor of being one of only two
houses designated by the State of California as haunted (we’ll get to the other
one in a little bit.) The sad tale behind the ghosts that supposedly inhabit
the sprawling, maze-like complex starts in 1873 with the creation of the
Winchester Repeating Arms Company, founded by Oliver Winchester. His son,
William Wert Winchester would go on to head the company responsible for the
Winchester repeater, a.k.a “The Gun that Won the West.” Although the company
and the guns they manufactured would lead to a great deal of wealth for William
and his wife Sarah, it would also supposedly become a source of torment for
them as well. Sarah would give birth to their only child Annie Pardee
Winchester in 1866, only to lose her 6 weeks later to marasmus. Soon after
that, William passed away as well from tuberculosis, leaving the devastated
Sarah Winchester alone to grieve for her family.
The creation of the house would
begin following a visit by Sarah to a psychic medium, who told the heiress that
the countless people killed at the hands of Winchester’s famous rifles were to
blame for the loss of her family. Fearing that the same vengeful spirits would
come for her as well, Sarah began construction of The Winchester Mystery House,
believing that she would meet a similar fate if she ever stopped building on to
it. The results are staggering; in 38 years construction never ceased on the
property, leading to 7 stories, 160 rooms, 2 ballrooms, 47 fireplaces, 10,000
window panes, and 3 elevators all sitting on 162 acres. It is estimated that
20,500 gallons of paint were used to paint the
home, and that if such a feat of
building were undertaken today, it would cost close to $71 million dollars. But
it’s not just the extravagance of the Winchester house that sets it apart; it’s
the outright weirdness. Windows are built into floors, doors lead to
nowhere, and staircases lead right up to the ceiling. Mrs. Winchester believed
the unconventional features of her home were instrumental in confusing the
spirits and keeping them from harming her. She continued to supervise the
construction of her home right up until her death in 1922.
Even after the Winchester heiress’s death, strange things have continued to
occur within the houses walls. Mrs. Winchester was well known for her musical
talents, including playing the pump organ located within the house; several
caretakers of the property and guests alike have heard the sounds of ghostly
organ music floating throughout the empty home. People have heard the sound of
breathing while standing in an empty room, footsteps in the room that Mrs.
Winchester passed away in, and even screws un-screwing themselves and falling
to the floor. Several paranormal investigators have toured the home countless
times since Sarah Winchester’s death, and although no definitive proof exists
of ghosts within the Winchester Mystery House, all have experienced things that
cannot be readily explained by science. Perhaps Mrs. Winchester still exists
there and continues to oversee the workings of her extraordinary home.
#11) 92 2nd Street
Other Names: The Lizzie Borden
House, The Lizzie Borden Axe Murder House
Location: Fall River,
Year Built: 1845
Famous Owners: Andrew & Abby
Borden, Lizzie & Emma Borden
There isn’t a child around that
probably hasn’t heard the famous rhyme about Lizzie Borden, who history will
always remember as an axe murderer that did away with her father and step
mother. However, what most people fail to remember is that Lizzie Borden was
actually acquitted of all charges and never served any real jail time. The
story behind the murders and even the house is a strange one that still raises
several questions over a hundred years later; one is if the spirits of the
Borden family still exist there today.
Lizzie’s father, Andrew Jackson
Borden was well known in the community of Fall River as the wealthy owner of
several commercial properties, the president of the Union Savings Bank, and
director of the Dufee Safe Deposit and Trust Co. Andrew had not always been so
fortunate; he began as an undertaker, then a textile investor, utilizing his
shrewd business skills and legendary penny-pinching ways to accumulate wealth.
His tight-fistedness was well known, and the home that would be the scene of
his murder years later was one of the only houses on the block that did not
have indoor plumbing and still used oil lamps instead of electricity to save on
money. In 1865 Sarah Borden, Lizzie and her older sister Emma’s mother would
pass away, prompting Andrew Borden to remarry in the same year. He married Abby
Durfee Gray who was described as somewhat cold and uncaring towards the Borden
years before the murders, Lizzie
would stop referring to Abby as mother and only called her “Mrs. Borden.”
It was the well-known tension
between Lizzie and Abby that would cause many to suspect that Lizzie was to
blame for her parent’s murders. On August 4th, 1892 the Borden’s
maid Brigit Sullivan would be awoken by Lizzie around 11:10 AM, shouting that
someone had killed her father. As doctors, the police, and family friends
arrived to tend to Lizzie and the body, Brigit would also find Abby Borden dead
in one of the upstairs bedrooms. Both bodies had sustained heavy injuries to
the face and head, with marks consistent to that of an axe. Upon further
investigating of the house, police found a hatchet in the basement devoid of
any blood, but missing a large portion of the handle. A week later, the Falls
River police department would arrest Lizzie Borden as a suspect in the murder
of her parents.
Aside from the obvious tension between Abby and Lizzie were other markers
that Lizzie could have potentially been at fault. Both Lizzie and Emma had
become angry with their father for his generosity towards Abby’s side of the
family, giving portions of property and money away that they saw as their
inheritance. Andrew Borden had also angered Lizzie in the days before his
murder after killing pigeons that she kept in their barn as pets. Also
mentioned at the trial was the fact that in the days leading up to the deaths
of Andrew and Abby Borden, the entire household had been violently ill. A local
druggist testified that Lizzie had sought to procure Prussic acid from him,
supposedly to clean a cloak. At the time of their illness, Abby Borden had
raised the suspicion that they were being poisoned. Before Lizzie had been
arrested, the police had requested she turn over the dress she had been wearing
the morning of the murders. It was discovered that the dress she handed over
was not the same dress, and that the original dress had been burned several
days earlier, supposedly because Lizzie had brushed against wet paint and ruined
it. All of this added up to a damning portrait of Lizzie as the killer of
Andrew and Abby Borden.
The court case against Lizzie Borden began the following June, and saw a
number of witnesses and prominent Fall River citizens take the stand. Several
people testified to Lizzie’s religious affiliation with the local church and
her generous nature. Some even downplayed the hostility between Lizzie and
Abby, claiming that it had been blown out of proportion by the media. Police
also discovered that the hatchet found in the basement could not have been the
murder weapon, and that there were too many possibilities when it came to who
could have enter the Borden house at that time of the morning. With no clear
cut answer, Lizzie was acquitted of the murders and allowed to return to the
Borden house with her sister Emma. To this day people theorizes who could have
killed the Borden’s; some believe that Lizzie entered a fugue state and
committed them without remembering, while others claim that the maid Brigit, who
was present in the home at the time did it. Another theory has surfaced in
recent times that Andrew Borden actually had an illegitimate son, who attempted
to extort money from the Borden fortune. When he was turned away, he sought
vengeance by killing Andrew and Abby, the only family member’s home at the
time. Whatever the case, Lizzie Borden continued to live in Fall River until
her death in 1927, after changing her name to Lisbeth in an attempt to distance
herself from the murders. She is buried in the local Oak Grove Cemetery, along
with her parents and sister Emma.
Since the deaths of the Borden
family, several visitors to the house have reported strange occurrences. Some
have heard what sounds like a woman crying, or of muffled speaking in other
rooms, or the sound of footsteps up on the third floor. Many believe that Abby
Borden is definitely still present in the house; a bed stationed in the room
where she died has been known to become ruffled as if someone has just laid
down to rest, complete with an imprint on the pillow of a human head. When
visitors leave the room and return, the bed returns to pristine condition (Abby
was killed while making beds the morning of the murders.) Lights also turn on
and off randomly, and electrical equipment is prone to acting up. If ghosts do
indeed exist, and are caused by tragic and violent deaths, then there’s no
question that the Borden’s house is haunted. The real mystery lies in who put
Safety for all to
think about on Beggar’s Night…
KEEP YOUR WALKWAYS AND LAWN WELL LIT AND CLEAR OF ANY DEBRIS. Garden hoses, planters, lawn decorations can all pose as a hazard to
anyone walking through. Whether you like
it or not, some trick or treaters will walk through your lawn so make sure your
lawn is cleaned of debris as well.
PLAN A ROUTE for your children so you always know where to check if need be. Set times for them to check in and a time for
TRY TO REFRAIN FROM DECORATING WITH LIVE FLAME.
If you put a jack-o-lantern out on your porch, make sure to put it off
to the side where children and their costumes will not be near it.
KEEP YOUR PETS, ESPECIALLY CATS, INDOORS. People are
not always nice and the trend has been that some trick-or-treaters will
mistreat cats and possibly other animals.
If you have outdoor cats, make sure they stay indoors that evening and
watch over your pets!
PROVIDE A GOOD MEAL FOR THE KIDS before they go out for Beggar’s Night so they do not gorge on
candy as they are walking door to door and make themselves sick.
What to take with you:
Whistle (FOR EMERGENCY ONLY)
A cell phone
(preferably with GPS) in case of emergency and most important numbers
programmed for easy access.
BE CAUTIOUS WHEN WEARING DARK CLOTHING, FLOWING CLOTHING, OR MASKS: Flowing
clothing can easily trip the wearer or someone nearby. Flowing clothing can also easily catch
fire. Look for costumes that are labeled
as “flame resistant”.
MASKS INHIBIT THE WEARER'S EYESIGHT
DARK CLOTHING MEANS NOBODY, INCLUDING DRIVERS, CAN SEE YOU! Wear reflectors somewhere on your person,
like on your shoes. You can purchase
reflective tape at stores such as Walmart, Home Depot, and any other hardware or sporting
WEAR WELL FITTING SHOES
On Beggar's Night:
DRIVERS! DRIVE VERY CAREFULLY THROUGH THE STREETS AND WATCH FOR MOVEMENT!
should be accompanied by an adult or a mature child.
should stay away from the streets and only cross at corners or crosswalks.
HOUSES THAT ARE NOT WELL LIT. NEVER ENTER A HOUSE, A CAR, OR TALK TO
ANYONE YOU DO NOT RECOGNIZE OR SOMEONE WHO IS INSIDE A CAR. Nowadays people drive in carloads to other
neighborhoods. While most of these
people mean well, some may not.
Last but not least, parents; inspect the goodies before you allow your children to consume them.
Please feel free to
click on the image below. When it takes you to the next screen, right
click the image and save it to your desk top. Print this checklist off
at your convenience and post it on your fridge for easy access!
Most of all, Have a Happy Halloween!!!
feel free to click on the image below. When it takes you to the next
screen, right click the image and save it to your desktop. Print this
checklist off at your convenience and post it on your fridge for easy
Trick or Treat isn’t the only thing going on in
October! Check out these local events for ways to get into the Halloween
Halloween is complete without a trip to the local pumpkin patch. Listed are
some of the best patches in central Ohio. Also don’t forget about the Circleville
Dates: October 17-20,
Hours: Tuesday 5-10 p.m. Wednesday 9 a.m-11 p.m. Thursday-Saturday 10
Address: 159 E. Franklin St., Circleville, 43113
symbolizes the arrival of autumn more than Giant Pumpkins. If you're looking
for pumpkins with flair of homespun Americana, there's no better place to go
than to one of the nation's largest pumpkin festivals, the 106th Circleville
Pumpkin Show. The event attracts over 400,000 visitors to this small Midwest
community of 13,000.Visitors from all 50 states and many foreign countries come
to see giant pumpkins, 7 parades, entertainment, contests and sample
pumpkin-flavored delicacies. Reportedly Ohio's oldest and largest festival,
this show has been called The Greatest Free Show on Earth.
Circle S Farms
9015 London-Groveport Road
Grove City, Ohio
Phone: (614) 878-7980
4600 Lockbourne Road
Phone: (614) 491-0812
Hoffman’s Farm Market
800 Hilliard-Rome Road
Phone: (614) 878-5161
5950 Shannon Road
Canal Winchester, Ohio
While Halloween can be a spooky time of year for young children, Central
Ohio offers a variety of great attractions fit for the whole family.
Location: Ohio History Center/Ohio Village
Hours: Saturday 5:30-9:30 p.m.
Admission: Adults $12. Youth (6-12) $9. Children 5 and under free.
Address: 800 E. 17th Ave., Columbus, 43211
Phone: 614-297-2300, 800-686-6124
part of an Ohio Village tradition-a family-focused, 19th-century Halloween
celebration. Fortune telling, street theatre, the Museum of Oddities, games,
crafts and special activities for children lead up to spectacular fireside
readings of Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and an appearance
of the fearsome headless horseman.
Location: Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Hours: Friday 5-9 p.m. Saturday 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Address: 4850 W. Powell Rd., Powell, 43065
Phone: 614-645-3550, 800-666-5397
a trip out to the Zoo for this merry-not-scary Halloween celebration. Young
ghosts and goblins can visit candy stations, watch live shows, meet some
superheroes, board a haunted train, interact with pirates, stroll through the
Little Boo Mansion and a whole lot more spooktacular surprises.
Location: Santa Maria
Hours: Thursday-Saturday 7-10 p.m.
Admission: Adults $5. Youth 3-11 $3.
Address: Battelle Riverfront Park, 25 Marconi Blvd., Columbus, 43215
year at the end of October the ship takes on an eerie appearance as it is
transformed into a "Haunted ship" and the tale of Captain Booney
and his fated crew is told. A family friendly adventure thru the ship with a
little Halloween fun for everyone. This is a family friendly adventure
guaranteeing a little "boo" for all ages.
of these Halloween themed attractions and events are not recommended for the
little ones…adults who scare easily might not want to go either!
Central Ohio Haunted House Attractions
A state-wide attraction, and not to be
missed by the adrenaline junkies! Truly ADULT content, including demon birth
simulation. Thursday-Saturday Doors open at 8:30pm, open as long as there’s a
line to get in. Tickets are $20 and $30 each. Open 9/27-11/3.
great scare, and two venues in one. Also offer face-painting for an
Fridays-Saturdays 7:30pm-12:00am Oct 12-13, 19-20, 26-27, Nov 11-2, and
Sundays 7:30-10:00pm Oct 14, 21, 28.
General Admission Tickets are $20
6765 Dublin Center Drive, off of Sawmill Road
Not for children on most days, but they do have a “Lights On Sunday” event
with lights on/no actors that may be fun for the very brave over-six set!
Sundays 5:00-7:00pm Family Lights-On (No Actors) Check website for ticket
Dates: October 26 -
November 3, 2012
Location: Capitol Theatre, Riffe Center
Hours: Friday-Saturday 8 p.m. Sunday 2 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday 7:30
Address: 77 S. High St., Columbus, 43215
Phone: 614-229-4848, 614-229-4860
to the passion, the seduction and romance of this exciting ballet inspired by
the Bram Stoker novel. Dracula is a BalletMet classic that audiences beg for
year after year, and critics call "perfection."
Halloween: Masquerade on High
Dates: October 27,
Location: Short North Arts District
Hours: Saturday 5 p.m.-1 a.m.
Address: Along High Street in the Short North, Columbus, 43201
annual HighBall Halloween is a cross between Carnivale and Mardi Gras with a pinch
of Halloween and a healthy splash of the Short North's artistic spirit. The
evening's festivities will include Outrageous Costume Contests (all entries
are welcome!), a Couture Costume Fashion Showdown for fashion professionals,
live bands, the city's hottest DJs, and prizes!
Be sure to check back tomorrow, and every day leading up to Halloween for our
13 Days of Halloween Haunted House Countdown! These spooky homes will get you
in the spirit for your own haunted piece of real estate! **
For those looking to purchase in the Akron area, August saw the listing of a beautiful 2,170 square foot ranch home with stunning ground to ceiling windowed walls, an open floor plan, and plenty of views of the surrounding wooded lot. It’s the perfect home for those looking for a little bit of privacy and a lot of style. There’s just one little problem with this gorgeous 1950’s home, and it’s not the $329,000 price tag; this is the childhood home and scene of the first murder committed by Jeffrey Dahmer.
For the past seven years the house has been owned by musician Chris Butler, who although admits to simply loving the home and it’s construction, found himself spending more and more time out of state. His decision to sell the property has presented an interesting problem for the realtor listing it; how do you overcome years of negative press and sell the home once belonging to a prolific serial killer?
This property falls into a category referred to as “Stigmatized Property”; homes that were once the scenes of murders, suicides, and supposed hauntings all fall under this category and can sometimes be a challenge to sell. Sellers are by law required to disclose physical information on their homes, whether it be a damaged roof, cracks in the foundation, or any other number of potential problems with the property. When it comes to non-physical problems, often referred to as “emotional defects” the laws become a little murky from state to state. Only some states require sellers to divulge emotional defects, and even then the principle of caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) is often invoked. Most states do not require realtors to divulge this information to potential buyers, but are required to own up to anything if they are asked directly. If someone were interested in the property in Akron and heard of its connection to Dahmer, leading them to ask their agent, they would have to divulge any information they knew of. It really comes down to potential buyers doing their research on the property before making an offer.
Perhaps the most famous case involving stigmatized property, the Stambovsky vs. Ackley trial in New York, would set precedence for such cases. Helen Ackley, the longtime owner of a home in Nyack, New York built just outside of New York City and along the Hudson River (an area already suspected of ghosts thanks to Sleepy Hollow) spent the better part of her residency there perpetuating the idea that the house was haunted. Her home would be featured in a column in Readers Digest and the local papers, with Ackley and her family claiming to have experienced poltergeist activity numerous times. The family would even later open up the home to locals, charging admission for “ghost tours” and other spooky themed activities. However, by the late 80’s Helen was ready to retire to Florida, and needed to sell her supposedly haunted estate. The fact that the Ackley family had spent decades claiming that the home was infested with ghosts was swept under the rug, and it wasn’t long before Jeffrey Stambovsky made a $650,000 offer on the home.
It would be some time after going into contract on the home that Stambovsky would run into one of his future neighbors, who asked the question that would lead to one of the most unique court cases in New York history; “So you’re buying the haunted house are you?”
After digging through records and articles on the property, Stambovsky would file an action requesting rescission of contract, and for damages for fraudulent misinterpretation against Ackley and her agent. When Mr. Stambovsky did not attend the closing, his $32,500 down payment was forfeited and a New York Supreme Court dismissed his action, which he appealed in turn. According to the Supreme Court, it didn’t matter if you believed in ghosts or not; the wide reporting of the hauntings did in fact affect the value of the home. However, the realtor was not legally obligated to tell Mr. Stambovsky anything, and cited caveat emptor, meaning he was not entitled to damages. However, an appellate court overturned this decision, saying that no normal home inspection would be able to uncover the presence of spirits, and that the buyer was misled in such a way that any discussion of potential deaths or hauntings of the residence would have never come up. Ackley was accused of preying on Mr. Stambovsky’s ignorance of the area to sell her home, and he was allowed to end the contract and receive damages. The home wouldn’t be sold until 1991, and it is unknown if the buyers this time around were aware of the home’s past.
It’s messy cases like this that lead many realtors to disclose information when asked, as to avoid any legal ramifications against themselves or the sellers. However, you can’t always take things at face value, and it might be smart to look up your potential new home in public records, or even get to know your possible new neighbors and ask them about the neighborhood. This doesn’t just apply to other-worldly phenomena’s either; it’s always a good idea to look up the neighborhood you’re thinking of purchasing in to see if crimes are prevalent in the area, or if you’re potentially living down the street from recorded offenders. It’s always good to know exactly what you’re getting in to.
Sadly, a wonderful property can suffer devaluation based on its past and sit empty for long periods of time. Before Chris Butler purchased the Dahmer home in 2005, the property sat for 6 months and was listed well below what it was actually worth. This led Butler to ask the realtor why it hadn’t been purchased yet, and he received the news on its horrific past. The Dahmers had purchased the home in 1968 and raised their two children, including Jeffrey there. It was here that Dahmer would commit his first murder, that of Steven M. Hicks in 1978. Worse yet, police would later find Hicks remains scattered throughout the property, well after his murder spree came to a close. When Butler was notified of this he “didn’t stop shaking for another 24 hours.” Despite this, Butler did purchase the home, and reported no paranormal activity, no feelings of dread, and not many curious onlookers. While a property like this might not be for everybody, it’s really up to the buyer to decide if they can look past the sometimes unsettling history of a house and see a home worthy of their love.