Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Revolving Door

You just never know what you are going to find when you start researching a story or in this case, a town. When my mom and I were exploring Salem the other day, we happened across this building. At one time it was a bank called the Home Savings and Loan Company. The Huntington Insurance company is in the building now. And they are taking very good care of it. I am particularly interested in the revolving door that you have to go through to enter the building. It is made out of wood and works very well. It is worth going to that insurance agency just to see the door in fact, though I am sure their insurance is good too. For the history buff, the door is the seller. I would like to do a story on this building and I hope it has a ghost. There are some other oldies inside that are worth a look at, too. Need some insurance? Check out Huntington Insurance in Salem, by way of the Revolving Door.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

1900-Pottery Capital of the World. 2000-A Ghost Town

East Liverpool has had many potteries, nearly all of which are gone. The Hall China Company remains, still operating, though they are struggling. Located in the East End of East Liverpool, it occupies a huge portion of property. At one time, hundreds of people worked here. To date there are about 50 left on the job. It is a sad sign of the times. Just another nail in the coffin for East Liverpool. Already there are many areas long deserted, occupied now only by ghosts.

I went around back of Hall China and discovered these old rail road tracks leading up right beside the company building to the left. I can only imagine how much pottery was going out this company on a daily basis to have a train come right up to it. To the right you see the tracks now lead straight into nowhere.

On the other side of East End, along the hillside, there are abandoned houses in many areas. There are also a lot of foundations of the once prosperous homes of pottery employees.

Long empty, this house suffers from broken windows and great lack of care. Perfect home of a ghost though.

See the orb hovering above the power line? There are also a couple in the trees. Dust? You will always hear maybe from me. However, it could also be the former occupants of the houses that were once here. Maybe they see them in all their glory, or maybe they see them as we do. Skeletons of what they used to be, and long forgotten. People lived and loved here for many years. All along this hillside is evidence of people long past. Give it a second look when next you are in the area. What once was here is worth a moment of your time.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Walking With Ghosts In Salem, Ohio

I have a couple of books I got from the Goodwill store. One is called THE SALEM STORY-1806-1956 Another is called IMAGES OF AMERICA-SALEM OHIO. Full of old pics of Salem. Like East Liverpool, Salem is rich in history. I have some Then and Now pics coming soon. But for now, I am talking about this building. I will be doing some extra work toward this one.
This is my mom. She is standing beside an iron gate on the building in question. Behind this is some stairs. I took a lot of pics today, but only one had an orb in it.

This one. At the top of the steps, to the right is an orb. Now personally, I feel this is a ghost and this ghost knew I was coming. My camera is not going to pick up a speck of dust at the top of the steps. And no one can make me believe otherwise. So who is this ghost? What is the history of this building? Did this ghost, when a living person, die of natural causes, or murder? Am I invited here, or is it a warning to stay away? I think that if this ghost didn't want me here, I wouldn't have this pic.
Salem has so much to offer. That would include ghosts.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Real Jake's Lock Was A Fun Adventure

Our group was small, but that made it all the more perfect because ghosts don't always like crowds. We left at about 4:20 pm and reached our final destination, Lock # 39 about an hour later. We stopped along the way to look at Grey's Lock and Vondergreen's, along with a foundation or two. To the left is Cassidy, looking down at us from what I feel is Jake's Lock. To the right we are in the middle of an EVP session.

This is Amber at one of her favorite spots on Jake's Lock-The Stairs.

This is another one of the (at least) 5 foundations in the area. Mike walked around looking for snakes, making most of my little group afraid to enter this area. Thanks Mike. Because snakes do not scare him and he thinks they are fascinating, he forgets that most people are afraid of them. We did have an EVP session right beside it though.

On our way back this is this huge tree that might have fallen last September during the big winds we had. It is impressively large. With my over active imagination, I was walking in the forest around Hogwarts or even Middle Earth.

There were bridges to cross and hills to climb. Everyone was a good sport about it. After all, every good adventure has just that-adventure!

And this is who went. From left to right-Amber, Sarah (hiding behind Kaley and Taya) Mike, Cassidy, Jamie, Erryn, and Sammi. Two of my team members came later-Jon and Shawn. These guys and gals did a great job. For some it was their first time ghost hunting. For others, like Sammi who has been with me a few times and watches TAPS every Wednesday, it was old stuff. Coupled with the long the long walk back, they couldn't have done better. The ghosts were very cordial to us, answering a few questions. One even said Cassidy's name. A lot more work needs to be done back there to find out who might be lingering. Research has been leading to nothing, but my favorite saying still holds true. Some body out there knows something. If you know any kind of history about this area from Grey's Lock to Lock # 40, please let me know. Some history on the building foundations would be so helpful. If you are into hiking, this area is way worth a moment of your time. If you don't mind the ghosts.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Crockery City Brewery-A Closer Look

This building deserved a second, closer look. Yep, definitely of Gotham City origins. There are seven stories, all of them seemingly in a state of distress. The closer you are to this building, the more scary it appears. All of the windows are either gone, cracked, or broken. Some are boarded up.
You can still make out the word Brewery in this picture of the front of the building.

Standing at the bottom and looking up is also an adventure. It gives you a good look at the architecture and the darkness that lurks inside. I am sorry, but also when you stand this close to this building, the thought of it's imminent collapse crosses your mind.

And someone is still using it. There was an open door and I stepped in and took some pics, looking for an orb or two, which I did not find.

But you can see the building has weathered many changes, as the blocked up door way and window shows on the back wall here.

This doorway outside is entirely blocked over. I don't want to know where the bricks came from. I just don't.

If you double click on this picture, you will see a tree growing out of the sixth story window. Yes. You read correctly. A tree. It isn't that this building isn't a feast for the history loving eye. It has a dark beauty all its own. If it just didn't look like it was going to fall down, I would have been more comfortable down there.

Now, I attribute my fear of this building to it's obvious need of either a make over or a razing, but it may also hold a ghost or two letting me know not to bother them. Either way, I am in no hurry to enter this building. Or drive past it. Or walk around it. Seeing it from afar works for me. I have not run across any deaths associated with this building at any time in the past, so I can't imagine why it would be haunted, though I can't imagine it not being haunted either. It looks like the home of an evil scientist who does experiments on the roof during a bad storm. I hope he wears a safety harness. If it had gargoyles, it would be perfect. A look at this moment in time is worth a moment of yours.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Barrel Lady

Julia Jordan was 46 years old in October of 1940. She had put an add in the paper Oct. 2 seeking employment as a housekeeper. A man named Christopher Walls answered her add and hired her. With in two weeks they had fallen in love. On October 25, 1940 the two were married. Just 4 short days later Julia would be murdered and found stuffed in a barrel jackknife style on the corner of Jennings Avenue and St. Clair. She had been suffocated.

Accused of the crime was one Frank Cascio, 55, of East Liverpool. He had had a relationship with Julia for about 2 years and it didn't work out. He was very jealous of her relationship with her new husband and was heard talking about wanting to kill her. When she did end up dead, he was the first suspect. However, her case is unsolved to this day. All the evidence they had against Mr. Cascio was circumstantial. A button from a shirt, though no buttons were missing from his shirt. A flashlight under his pillow that looked like one that Julia had. The most incriminating evidence was a ring. Her wedding band was missing when she was found. In his pocket was a wedding band, but there was no inscription in it. Just the words 14 ct gold. Her daughter said it looked liked Julia's. However, the judge said there was 1000 just like it. People had heard Mr. Cascio say he wanted to kill her for getting married to some one else. But again, no one saw him do it. He died in 1961, and is buried at Spring Grove.
Below is a pic of my mom standing at the corner of Jennings and St. Clair. The hillside is overgrown, but we look down the side and wonder where exactly the barrel containing Julia's body might have been discovered.

Since I learned of her case, I have been trying to find her grave. No small task, let me tell you. Records were not always so carefully kept. She was sent to Martins Funeral Home , and in fact that is the place her autopsy was done. Back then they would embalm the body before the autopsy (the same thing was done with Mr. Floyd. I had thought it was suspicious to do that, but apparently it was common practice back then.) I called and talked to Martins and they said she was buried in St. Als Cemetery, according to their records. I also talked to the East Liverpool Health Department, and looking at the death certificate, they said yes, she was buried at St. Als. St. Als rectory says they have no record of her anywhere. According to the cemetery books at the library, Julia Costello (her maiden name) Wall is buried at Spring Grove Cemetery. If she was buried there, she has no grave stone, and since they have such poor records, I may never find her. She is all but forgotten. She was just beginning a new life and it was ripped away from her. Now she is known simply as the Barrel Lady. What a cruel fate.

My efforts to find her have included reading all the news paper articles I can find. In the forties, the Review, as we know it today, was called the East Liverpool Daily Review. Copies are found on microfilm. Reading through these can eat up a lot of time fast. From all this I learned Julia had two children- James Jordan, and Mary Catherine Jordan, who was only 16 at the time her mother was murdered. From what I can understand, James was married, but her name was not given, nor was her ex husband's, at least that I have been able to find so far. Her death certificate says her parents were Catherine and Patrick Costello. So, you would think that would be easy to follow. Nope. The only Catherine Costello I can find died in 1905. She was 55 when she died, making her born in 1850. She is in St. Als also, and at first I was hopeful that Julia might be near her, but Catherine has no headstone either. The only Patrick Costello I can find was born in 1886. He died in 1947 and is in Columbiana County Memorial. The numbers do not add up because he was only 8 when Julia was born (1894). As for her husband, Christopher Walls, he lived in Smith Ferry, in PA. He was 64 when they got married, but I have no idea when he died or where he is buried. Not anywhere around here though. I looked.
So, Julia is either in St. Als, though they have no record of her, or she is in Spring Grove, and they have no records period. Bummer. I spent two days tracking all this down. I also got some help from a lady name Sharon Hall. She is a Find-A-Grave volunteer. She is currently working on Spring Grove Cemetery. For more information on this, please check out
Julia Costello Jordan Wall is buried in one of those two grave yards. If any one knows where she is(hopefully her actual grave!) or knows a family member who can help, please email me. Her story should not be forgotten because she was worth a moment of your time.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Museum of Ceramics in East Liverpool, Ohio

This was once the post office for East Liverpool. It is, architecturally, beautiful. The new post office opened to the public on June 15, 1909. The post office remained in the building until 1969, when a new post office building was constructed on the other side of town. In 1970, the state of Ohio purchased the building in anticipation of developing a museum. The building was subsequently designated as The Museum of Ceramics in the spring of 1980.
I was down town today, looking for ghost stories about the area. I am doing a ghost tour of East Liverpool during the Pottery Festival which is running from June 18th-20th. I do not yet know when I will be scheduled to do the tour. When I find out, I will let you know. If you know any stories about the down town area, please email me. I learned a lot today and even met some fellow ghost hunters (Columbiana County Paranormal). Oh, and I talked to a man named Ian who owns the Diamond Building at the diamond. I will be learning more about that with a story coming in the future.
I drove past the museum and saw that it was open. It only costs $4 to go in and go through it. As far as I am concerned it is $4 well spent.
To the left above, the museum as it looks today. To the right, Sarah W. Vodrey, director of the Ceramic Museum. She has had this distinction for about five years and she loves her job. She genuinely cares about her museum and her city. She comes from a long line of Vodreys(6 generations) that came to this area from England in about 1847, and started their own pottery works. They operated until about 1928. Sarah's love for her family history and her city was evident as I spoke with her today.
She says that the museum lost its funding through the Ohio Historical Society last year, and they are struggling. They really need community support and any donations they can get to keep operating. They have a web site if you are interested.

In the basement there are several scenes that use manikins to show you what it was like to work in a pottery. I honestly didn't know there was anything like this around here.

The ceiling in the museum is very beautiful and includes this painting of one of the first potteries in this area.

Many of the walls are covered with pictures from East Liverpool's past. Any history buff would greatly appreciate some of the moments captured and displayed here.

And of course the pottery on display is often breath taking and exquisite.

There are even examples of the equipment used to make the pottery through out the museum. Here is a diagram that explains a pottery wheel. And then.....

You actually get to see the pottery wheel described. It is huge.

Even a small cannon, used, I believe, for civil defense can be found on display inside. I spent about an hour and a half inside taking a walk into East Liverpool's past. And believe me, it was well worth a moment of my time.
The Museum of Ceramics is open Tuesday-Saturday from 9:30 to 3:30. It is $4 for adults and $2 for students. If your family is looking for something fun to do, a visit here would be a great idea, followed by lunch or dinner at the Hot Dog Shoppe. I ate lunch there today and it fosters a great family atmosphere. I loved it. Also worth a moment of your time.

Carnegie Public Library-Is it haunted?

The East Liverpool Carnegie Public Library has been around since about 1902 (on the left). On the right is what the library looks like today.

It was erected on the old Bradshaw Farm property,199 E. 4th Street, East Liverpool. Above is a photograph of that home in 1895.
Construction of the building began in 1899 after a visit from Andrew Carnegie to the city. Designed by A. W. Scott of East Liverpool and constructed by Harvey McHenry the exterior of the building was complete in 1900. The Library was officially opened and dedicated on May 8, 1902.

The Library has seen many functions in its history. At times it has housed a museum, pottery exhibitions and the local Genealogical Society. It has served as a bomb shelter and was used by the Red Cross during World War I .

The Library building has seen several renovations in its 100 years. However, the exterior of the building has remained predominantly the same as in 1900.

On June 15, 1974, a man named H.B. Barth, a long time resident of East Liverpool, died in the library on these steps of a heart attack. He was 89 years old and was in the middle of taking a tour group up to the Ceramic Museum, which was housed on the second floor of the library at the time. Does his ghost inhabit the Library? He was born right where the library was on the Bradshaw Farm. He was raised there. He worked at the library his whole life. And finally, he died there. I would say there is a good possibility his spirit remains there to this day. The pic of the steps below has a beautiful orb in it in the railing at the top of the steps.

I have spent many hours here looking up the history of this area, or tracking down the story of an unsolved murder in this area. My friend Belinda and I went here last year to meet David Dunlap for an interview with him concerning the Tweeds/Morris murders for his documentary.

I met Joan Witt for the first time here to talk about the history of East Liverpool. Wonderful lady, Joan Witt. Loves her city and it's history.

If you have never been to the Carnegie Library in East Liverpool, it is definitely worth a moment of your time.