Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The American Theater of East Liverpool, Ohio

This is the American Theater in 1914 in East Liverpool, Ohio. It was decorated to celebrate the opening of the now Old Lincoln Highway.
In 1950 it caught on fire. This is an aerial view of the event. Please click on this picture. It will enlarge it and you can see several buildings that I have talked about on this blog. The old school with the clock tower, like I said, right out of a Harry Potter book!!! A little farther down, on the same street, the Ceramic Theater. To the far left of the picture is a huge bus station. I mean it is huge. And gone. Some of this scene is still here, but not most. What do you see that is missing? Email me!

In this photo you can see smoke coming out of the top windows. But it was a beautiful building. And look at the big buildings surrounding it, on both sides.

The aftermath of the fire was devastating, of course, but it was rebuilt and people like you and me went there to see movies for years. I remember seeing The Amityville Horror, The Legend of Boggy Creek and Disney's Snow White there to name a few. And what does it look like today?

This is the American Theater today. As of 1999, an unfortunate member of The Parking Lot Club. Oh and so are the buildings that were around it. If you go back up and look at the aerial view of the fire, you get a pretty good look at what East Liverpool looked like in the 50's. I would like to see an aerial view of today. I think it would shock you. This building would have been worth a moment of your time.

C.C. THOMPSON MANSION Legends and Ghosts?

This is one of the most interesting historical attractions in East Liverpool. Colorful and pleasing to the eye, it sits hidden between Kent State and the YMCA.

Note the gate. It is fastened with a chain and a heavey metal ball. When you open the gate and walk through, it closes automatically. I thought that was cool.
It is well maintained. Protected. I like that it sits beside Route 11 so it is seen by any passers by. Sadly, it is only open to the public once or twice a year. (Pottery Festival and Christmas time.)
 I would
love to see it open to tours for people interested in ghosts!
Pictured below is the C.C. Thompson Pottery Company, which wasn't too far from his mansion.   Route 11 runs through there now. There is no evidence today that that large pottery ever existed, except for pictures, and this beautiful mansion.
 Any deaths in the house?  If you do the tour, you will find they tell you that one child died in the house.   Are there legends about the house?  YES there is!

As the legend goes, there was a family that lived in the house.  The husband was reported to be a river boat captain.  Every day he would  go to work and every day his wife would climb up to the widow's peak to watch for him to come home.
One day, she climbed to the top as usual, only to see the horrific scene of the docks where her husband worked ablaze with fire.  She waited and waited for him to come home, but when it got dark, she just knew he was dead.  Feeling she could not live in this world without him, she made a terrible decision.
She went down stairs and poisoned their two children, leaving them sitting lying in their beds.  She then climbed back up into the widows peak and hanged herself.
Hours later, her husband finally made it home, exhausted, covered in soot, but very much alive.   No one greeted him at the door. The house was deathly quiet.  As he searched for his beloved family, he found them one by one.  A moment of maddness seized him as well, and he took pistol out into the front yard and shot himself.
This is a legend only about this house and so far there has been no proof found as to its truth.  As with many stories and legends, over the decades, details get mixed up with other stories or locaitons.  It is possible this happened in another house long ago, in the same area as this beautiful old mansion.

I visited the house a few years ago, and was given a private tour by Joan Witt.  She was a remarkable woman and loved the history of East Liverpool.

Me and Joan Witt
Love the stairs!
 As she gave us the tour of the house, we left a digital recorder running in the kitchen.

It ran for about half an hour.  That night I sat and listened to it.  No EVP, but there was something strange.  Even though none of us were in the kitchen, the sound of a chair moving across the floor could clearly be heard.

The maniquins are a bit creepy.  It wold make an investigation of the
building that much more interesting!