Carson City Ghost Walk, 2005
The 2005 Carson City Ghost Walk was held on October 22, 2005. The Ghost Walk is an annual tradition where costumed tour guides lead groups of residents and tourists around the west side of Carson City, telling ghost stories about the houses they see along the way. 2005’s Ghost Walk was the 13th one held, and it had the biggest turnout yet at over 2,000 people.
This was Viola’s second time going on the Ghost Walk, but my first. And our first chance to go together. Every other year, either something had come up that weekend, or we had the baby to take care of, or we just plum forgot that the Ghost Walk was happening. But this year we marked it on the calendar, bought tickets in advance, and showed up ready for the tour. I brought my still camera, video camera, and my little iRiver voice recorder. So on this page you can relive the sights and sounds of the tour. Now, the sounds aren’t always the best, since the little clip-on microphone I have for the iRiver isn’t too great. But it’s better than nothing, right?
The tours started from the Nevada State Museum, and there were two to choose from. The Superstition Walk headed west and visited the Bliss Mansion and Bliss Bungalow, the former St. Teresa’s Church, and the Stewart-Nye and Edwards homes. They also stopped to hear stories about the Yerington, Jones, Rickey, Crowell, Curry, Chartz and Smail homes. The Spells Walk headed south and visited the Brougher Bath mansion, Brewery Arts Center, and the Esser, Rinckle and Ferris mansions. They also saw the Orion Clemens home, Methodist Church, Ormsby-Rosser house, St. Charles Hotel, and the Hyman-Olcovich House. Tours left every half hour, starting at 9:30am, and lasted between 90 minutes and two hours.
Our family joined up with the 2:00 Superstition Tour, and gathered at the museum’s courtyard. Our guide was a lively ghoul named Mike Fink, and he was assisted by Miss Nancy, who followed along with her broom to sweep up stragglers.
The Queen of the Damned and her attendant spirits rode up on their stagecoach to kick off the tour. After they were done giving us all protective charms to wear around our necks, Mike Finn and Miss Nancy led us and our group onto the streets of Carson.
The first stop on our tour was the Yerington house, at the corner of Division and Robinson Streets. This home is supposedly haunted by the ghost of Henry Yerington, former superintendant of the V&T Railroad.
Listen to Mike Fink talk about the Yerington house (MP3, 1:05, 773kb).
After our brief stop at the Yerington house (or, rather, the sidewalk across the street), our group made its way down to the Bliss Bungalow. This charming little building has just undergone a massive renovation to convert it to a bed and breakfast. It is now being operated as part of the Bliss Mansion up the street.
There were no ghosts here at the Bliss Bungalow, but there were a couple of spirits on hand to clue us in on a few superstitions we should be aware of. We all filed into the sitting room and were given lessons in how to properly behave around Halloween.
Listen to the superstitions at the Bliss Bungalow (MP3, 1:35, 1,460kb).
As we strolled further up Robinson Street, we stopped for a minute at the Jones house. No ghosts here, but the Jones house always puts up plenty of decorations for Halloween.
Listen to Mike Fink talk about the Jones house (MP3, 1:08, 1,030kb).
Next it was on to the Bliss Mansion itself. This old house was built in 1879 at what was then the outskirts of town. Owned for years by the Bliss family, it has now been completely restored, and operates as a bed and breakfast. Visit www.blissmansion.com for more details.
Here at the Bliss Mansion, Mr Bliss himself, or the ghostly apparition thereof, had invited a few friends over for brandy. They were sitting in the parlor, discussing their favorite hauntings, quite unaware that a group of “live people” were watching them.
Listen to Mr Bliss, Mr Yerington, and Governor Jones sharing a few laughs (MP3, 1:51, 1,690kb).
Across the street we visited the Rickey House, and just as we were about to leave we ran into the ghost of Robert Roberts. He kept us entertained for a while with stories of how the trees were talking to him.
Mike Fink talks about the Rickey house (MP3, 0:39, 615kb).
Robert Roberts talks to trees (MP3, 4:54, 4,490kb).
Next we walked down to the old St. Teresa’s Church, which has been deconsecrated and is now being used as a performance hall for the Brewery Arts Center. There we were allowed to get off our feet and out of the bright sun while we were treated to a dance performance. It started out with these druidic preists on stage, but after a couple of minutes they threw off their robes and revealed that they were really belly dancers in disguise.
Next we travelled across the street to the Stewart-Nye house, probably the most haunted house on the tour. After gathering outside to watch the White Witches mix potions, we were let inside to hear ghost stories from those who had actually experienced them.
Built in 1860, the Stewart-Nye house is one of the oldest homes in Carson City. It was originally built for William Stewart, a prominent lawyer who later became the first US Senator from Nevada. He in turn sold it to James Nye, who was governor of Nevada Territory before it became a state. After a couple more owners, the house passed to the Catholic Church, who used it as a rectory for St Teresa’s right across the street. The church held the house for 85 years, until the church was deconsecrated, and then they sold it to lawyers King and Taggart.
As the priests and nuns were moving out and turning the house over the King and Taggart, they asked if “she” had been bothering them. And indeed, the new occupants had been having some strange encounters in their new office. A package of paper towels was mysteriously opened and the contents lined up against the wall. An old lady was seen upstairs, only to vanish in an instant. The upstairs lights turn on by themselves, and doors open when no one is around. And one of the lawyers was grabbed from behind one day, when he was in the house alone, forcing him to flee the upstairs and set up his office on the ground floor. He refused to go back upstairs for a full year after that.
King and Taggart staff talks about the history and the presence in the house (MP3, 9:06, 6,401kb).
Next we walked across the street to the Edwards house, to hear the Fox sisters try to lead us in a seance. Things didn’t quite work out as planned, though.
The Fox sisters try to conduct a seance (MP3, 3:45, 2,570kb).
The Edwards house is apparently haunted by either the ghost of Viola Edwards, matriarch of the Edwards family, or the family housekeeper. Whoever it is still comes down at night to do some light housekeeping, and as a result the piano in this house never needs to be dusted. Sounds like a ghost we could all live with.
Mike Fink describes the Edwards house (MP3, 0:58, 687kb).
The front steps of the Curry house. The building is occupied by the Nevada Trial Lawyers Association, but they won’t let the Ghost Walk inside.
After that we stopped at the Curry house. Abe Curry was one of the founders of Carson City, laying out the town and constructing many of the first buildings. He died broke, though, and left his wife destitute. Maybe that’s why he still comes back to this house, looking for her.
At the Curry house (MP3, 1:43, 1,214kb).
The next stop, right next door, was the Chartz house. Alfred Chartz was convicted of murder in eastern Nevada, but after he was pardoned he came to Carson City to practice law. He lived in this house until his death. Ever since then there have been strange noises and doors opening by themselves.
At the Chartz house (MP3, 1:00, 711kb).
And the very last stop was the Smail house, on the corner of Curry and Robinson. It was built in 1862, making it older than the State of Nevada itself. It is now home to the Revelations costume and gift shop.
End of the tour, at the Smail house (MP3, 1:07, 788kb).