Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Washington Square haunting

High on my list of favorite activities are A) decorating, and B) scaring the crap out of myself. That's why I couldn't be more excited to check out the haunted Merchant's House in Washington Square!
Built in 1832, the red brick and white-marble row house is New York City's only family home preserved intact from the nineteenth century, complete with the family's original furnishings and personal possessions. "Unfinished needlework, family photographs, a shaving mirror, sewing boxes -- leave the uncanny impression that the family has just stepped out for a while." (merchants house website) According to the New York Times, "One simply walks through the beautiful doorway into another time and place in New York." The NY Times has also referred to it as "Manhattan's most haunted house."

The house was owned by Seabury Tredwell, a wealthy NY merchant who ran a hardware importing business near the South Street Seaport. His family lived in the home until 1933 when his daughter, Gertrude Tredwell, died in an upstairs bedroom of the house. Seabury had forbidden her to marry the man she loved and she died a recluse spinster at the age of 93. Reports of her sighting in the home have been made ever since, and Henry James' "Washington Square" is said to be based upon her life. Read more about the apparent haunting in this New York Times article.

Haunting or no haunting, the Merchant's House is worth a visit to check out its Greek Revival interiors and Federal-style facade.