Hear fascinating new information gleaned from recent research about the houses on the lost, even-numbered side of Second Avenue. See images of the houses wrecked for I-35W construction nearly six decades ago. Join researchers Anders Christensen and Ezra Gray for a walking tour of the Healy Block Residential Historic District on Sunday, May 7th to learn more about the “lost” side and updated research on the entire Block.
Tickets are $12 on Eventbrite. On the day of the tour, tickets will be available on site for $15.
Meet in front of the Healy-designed George F. Bates House, 3139 Second Avenue South at 1 p.m. on May 7th. Tour will take place rain or shine.
Walker Library. 2880 Hennepin Ave. S. Minneapolis. 612.543.8400
HENRY INGHAM Henry Parsons
From Yorkshire to Minneapolis: The Architectural Legacy of Master Builders Henry Ingham and Henry Parsons
Saturday, March 18th, 1-3 p.m.
A presentation by Trilby Busch and Anders Christensen of the Healy Project
Along with theron potter healy, ingham and Parsons are the “Big Three” master Builders of turn-of-the-century minneapolis. Take a Virtual tour of north and west Yorkshire, england, the home country of ingham and parsons, followed by a presentation of the buildings they designed and built in minneapolis.
For more information, see these posts on this blog:
“Henry Ingham’s Yorkshire” August 10, 2016 and “More Hauntings: Houses by Henry Ingham” October 24, 2015
On Sunday, February 12, Healy Project supporters, neighbors, and members of the Healy family met at an 1895 Healy-built house in the Wedge. They celebrated the restoration of the house’s interior following a fire and looked forward to a year of special projects and new research regarding the life and works of T.P. Healy. Every inch of the surface of the interior had to be cleaned, and refinished or repainted after the fire.
I have always admired the work of Henry Ingham, a native of Knaresborough, Yorkshire, and one of Minneapolis’s “Big Three” master builders. But I never thought about visiting Knaresborough until I met a woman from Durham, England, on a 2014 trip to Norway. “Oh, you must visit Knaresborough,” she exclaimed. “It’s one of the most historic, quaint, and beautiful cities in North Yorkshire.” And so, last spring I planned a visit. (For a brief bio of Ingham, see http://healyproject.org/more-hauntings-houses-built-by-henry-ingham/).
In July I flew into Manchester, then took the train to Knaresborough, changing trains in Leeds. The train pulled into the charming old station, and I crossed the tracks and started up the very steep hill to my B&B. I had hoped to meet with local architectural historians, but my inquiries from the ‘States weren’t answered. However, as luck would have it, as I walked around town later that afternoon looking for Wellington Street, the 1861 and 1871 addresses of the Ingham family, I came upon some locals having a brew outside the pub. One of them kindly took me to the home of David Druett, a local historian who lives just around the corner from Wellington Street. From him I learned that only a few of the old houses on Wellington Street remain. It’s likely that the Inghams’ residences at #69 and #110 on that street were demolished for a post-WWII government housing project. Druett said that the three remaining old houses are workers’ houses from the 1840s, constructed cheaply (for that time), with relatively thin walls.
It was a disappointment to find the two Ingham residences gone, along with most of old Wellington Street, so I turned my attention to what does remain in Knaresborough. What kind of influences on Ingham’s designs might I find?
Needless to say, the history of Knaresborough, an old market town, goes way back into antiquity. The first recorded mention of Knaresborough is in the Domesday Book, 1086. The Normans built a fortified castle on the bluff overlooking the River Nidd in the 1100s. The ruins of the 14th century castle, built by King Edward II, still remain. The castle was not ravaged by time, however, but by the Parliamentarians during the (English) Civil War. In 1648 demolition of the Royalists’ castle complex began. It would have been totally wrecked if the townspeople hadn’t petitioned to leave the King’s Tower remaining for use as a prison.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries Knaresborough’s economic base was the textile industry. The linen mill on the river began operating in 1791. “The structure might previously have been used as a paper mill, and adapted to new use shortly after November 1790 when a new water wheel was planned. Castle Mills was converted to flax spinning for linen in 1811 and Walton and Company leased it in 1847 for yarn spinning and power loom weaving, which took place in other buildings on the site. Linen production ceased in 1972 and Walton left the site in 1984.” [–from the designation of the Castle Mill building as a listed historic site].
Yorkshire was an industrial area throughout the Victorian period, known for its textile mills (linen, cotton, wool) large and small. In keeping with its new prosperity and importance, Yorkshire’s civic and institutional buildings were designed to impress. They’re massive and imposing, built of durable brick or stone.
While many pre-1900 cottages and houses were demolished during periods of “urban removal” through the centuries, many remain. Of course, I was primarily interested in the buildings from the mid- to late-nineteenth century. Knaresborough’s Victorian houses have primarily stone or stucco exteriors. I discovered that some of the remaining mid-century buildings are embellished with the Neo-Classical ornaments that Ingham loved.
Here are some photos of typical Victorian buildings in Knaresborough:
This is just a guess, but young Henry Ingham must have seen that there were not many opportunities for making a career as a master carpenter or builder of wood frame houses in North Yorkshire. Sometime between 1871 and Thomas Ingham’s death in 1881, the family moved to the industrial city of Bradford, West Yorkshire. Armed with his certification as a master carpenter and joiner, in 1883 Henry Ingham, accompanied by his brother Alfred, lit off for the prairie boom town of Minneapolis. There in 1884 the Inghams built their first house at 3020 First Avenue South (wrecked in 1963 for freeway construction, as were so many of Healy’s houses).
In 1890, Henry began designing and building houses on his own, and Alfred’s name disappears from the building permits. In his long career, 1884-1913, Henry built over 120 structures, including houses, apartment buildings, barns, and architect-designed residences. The interiors of his houses show exquisite craftsmanship in the millwork and cabinetry; the exteriors have a classical, understated grace. Yorkshire’s loss was Minnesota’s gain. In turn-of-the-century Minneapolis, master carpenter-builder Henry Ingham found his métier.
Many thanks to Kathy Kullberg and Ezra Gray for researching the Ingham family in Yorkshire. Thanks also to David Druett for giving me a glimpse into Victorian Knaresborough.
Ingham building research by Anders Christensen.
Photos without source noted are by Trilby Busch. Please credit if you reuse.
The Healy Project is planning a tour of Ingham houses in the not-too-distant future. Watch this blog for notices.
Another fundraiser for The Healy Project at the Lowbrow restaurant,4244 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis, MN on May 9th!
Have dinner at the Lowbrow on May 9th, a Monday, and 10% of the profits will benefit The Healy Project. Treat yourself to a reasonably priced night out for a good cause. The Lowbrow specializes in classic tavern fare with ingredients from local farms and all made from scratch. They offer local grass fed beef burgers, delicious hand-cut fries, Bison chili, plus gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan offerings. (Check out the Lowbrow’s menu on their web site.)
Last August’s Healy Project fundraiser at the Lowbrow broke the previous record for “Give Back Mondays” at the restaurant. Dozens of people showed up. The place was packed. Good energy, good food, good times.
The Healy Project is dedicated to education about and the preservation of the beautiful old houses by T.P. Healy and other early Minneapolis builders. If you can’t make it May 9th, please consider a donation of any amount to help us preserve the legacy of T.P. Healy.
Join guides Anders Christensen and Brian Finstad on a walking tour of the Healy Block Residential Historic District on the 3100 block of Second and Third Avenues South in Minneapolis.
Meet in front of the George F. Bates House at 3139 Second Avenue South before 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 17th, to sign in for the tour. The house will be open for viewing after the tour. In addition to touring the exteriors of these historic Queen Anne houses designed and built by Theron Potter Healy in the 1880s and ’90s, the interior the Bennett-McBride House, the home of T.P. Healy’s great-grandson, will also be on the tour.
On Sunday, December 6th, the Healy Project hosted a reception for old house buffs at the historic Gluek House at 2447 Bryant Avenue South. Listed on the National Register, the house, designed by architect William Kenyon was built for beer magnate John G. Gluek in 1902. The iconic Colonial Revival house has been a Minneapolis landmark for many decades. Owners Evelyn and Gary Hill were kind enough to open all three floors of this extraordinary house to view, all decked out for the holidays. Over 100 guests came to see the house and meet neighbors, Healy homeowners, and other fans of old houses.
Guests’ nametags were imprinted with the names of Minneapolis architects with the object of finding others with the same architect as the one listed on their tag. They then were to write their names on the the tags of those with the same architect. A drawing of nametags would determine who would win a copy of Larry Millett’s book Minnesota’s Own: Preserving Our Grand Homes. At the end of the reception, Healy Project board member Nathaniel Forbes gave a brief talk about the mission of the Healy Project, and then drew the winning nametag. The winner was Mary Hartnett, who had a James MacLeod nametag.
Because of a family emergency, we regret that we have had to cancel this tour. Thanks for your interest. Watch the blog for other upcoming Healy Project events.
On Sunday, November 8th, at 1 p.m. the Healy Project is offering their second tour of the Healy Block Historic District and environs, giving tour-goers a glimpse into the creation of these historic houses and ongoing efforts to preserve them. On the National Register of Historic Places, the Healy Block is the finest group of Queen Anne houses in Minnesota. They are located on the 3100 block of Second and Third Avenues, right off the 31st Street exit on northbound I-35W.
Sign in for the tour beginning at 12:30 at the George F. Bates House, 3139 Second Ave. S. (built by Healy in 1886). You’ll be able to see the interior of two houses and a beautiful Healy barn conversion.
A couple of decades ago, many houses on the Block came close to being demolished. Find out how over the years a dedicated group of residents have made the Healy Block into a Minnesota landmark.
Henry Ingham was a master builder contemporary with T.P. Healy. Originally from Knaresborough, Yorkshire, Ingham arrived in Minneapolis armed with royal certification as a master carpenter. He began building two years before Healy, in 1884, and was active until 1933. To date, researchers have found 144 structures with Ingham’s name on the building permits (similar to Healy’s output). Along with fellow Englishman Henry Parsons, Ingham and Healy make up the “Big Three” of Minneapolis master builders. Unlike Healy, Ingham is known primarily not for his design skills, but for his exquisite craftsmanship as a carpenter. One of his houses has built-in hardwood cabinets and drawers in every closet, including those used by the servants.
It should come as no surprise that I’ve heard stories about haunted Ingham houses. Here are a few I’ve collected over the years:
Occupants of a house built by Ingham and used as a mixed-use office/residence told stories of footsteps sounding in the halls and staircase at night, and lights in the kitchen going off and on when no one was in the room. One resident, “Doug,” said that he had heard the back door open and shut several times in the middle of the night, but when he went out to investigate, no one was inside or outside. None of the tenants much liked going into a dark, small room off the kitchen, and they used it solely as a storage area. Formerly a rooming house and previous to that, a boarding house, the house has had many residents over the years. Apparently at least one of the departed former tenants has chosen to hang around.
Several blocks away is a single-family Ingham house that has had at least one revenant put in an appearance or two. The family w ho lived there in the ’70s and ’80s told me a number of stories about their paranormal experiences at the house. When “Karen” and “Dave” moved in, even though they liked the house, they frequently got the feeling that the house wasn’t completely theirs, as if someone else’s presence still persisted in certain rooms. One night Karen and a friend came to the house, entering through the back door. The rest of the family wasn’t at home, and for a while the two women puttered around in the kitchen, reluctant to leave it. Finally, the friend remarked, “Don’t you feel like running through the house, looking under the beds?” The friends shared a laugh, but then both admitted that they strongly felt a presence in the house and were not eager to leave the kitchen. After a while, this feeling passed, and they ventured into the parlor without incident.
The couple’s daughter, who was three at the time they moved in, quickly acquired the unorthodox habit of leaving her room in the middle of the night to sleep in the hallway. She continued this practice two or three times a week for several years, yet could not explain why she felt the need to leave her room. One night, Karen decided to sleep in the daughter’s room and see what, if anything, would happen. She was awakened by the disturbing impression of hearing a hell-and-brimstone sermon delivered by a male voice. The disembodied voice, like that of a sidewalk evangelist, harangued an invisible audience about sin and perdition.
“Dave” also had a curious experience. He was working in the backyard when a strange old man carrying a violin case appeared at the gate. Pointing to the window of their son’s bedroom at the back of the house, the man said that he had lived in that room for nearly 25 years. He had stopped by because he had recently been having recurring dreams about being in the house. He did not know why this was happening, only that it had become a regular, unsettling occurrence.
Their son had an encounter with the ghost, but only once. As he was coming out of his room one morning, he saw a misty figure emerge from the bathroom, turn to look at him, and disappear into his sister’s room. The apparition was that of a middle-aged man, his mousy brown hair wet as though he had just washed it. Was this ghost and the unseen hellfire evangelist one and the same? They never did find out.
Across town multiple residents of another Ingham house have felt the presence of the ghost of a little boy. “Mike” lived in the large house for a while. Many years before he moved in, a mother and her two-year-old son were brutally murdered in an arson fire in the house next door. Mike knew this but his partner “Ron” did not. Therefore, Mike was surprised when Ron told him that he frequently felt the presence of a small boy, but Ron never actually saw the child. Mike was pretty freaked out when Ron said that the boy would often crawl under their bed.
After Mike and Ron moved out, their friend “Jon” rented the house. Jon, like Ron, knew nothing of the fire that had killed the woman and boy. He worked out of the house as a massage therapist. One woman client, after coming back for several sessions in the house, asked Jon if he was aware that the house was haunted. He said that he did not and asked her who the ghost was. “A little boy,” she replied.
Mike had another strange experience with the house. Mike and Ron brought their cat Midnight with them when they moved into the house on Halloween a decade ago (a foreshadowing of paranormal developments?). However, when they moved out, the cat refused to leave with them. He would run away from their new place and go back to the Ingham house. Their friend Jon, a cat lover with a cat named Tom, was now occupying the house. They assumed that Midnight just liked Jon and Tom better than he did Mike and Ron. But a while later, Jon and Tom moved out of the Ingham house and moved in with Mike and Ron, leaving the house vacant.
Nobody lived at their former home, and nobody was there to take care of Midnight. Yet the cat continued to run away and go back to that house. Midnight had lived many places. He had not lived in the house for very long, so what was his attachment to the place? As Mike was friends with the owner and had keys, he finally just let Midnight into the vacant house and would go over to feed him. Midnight now had the Ingham house all to himself. But why did he want to live in this large, empty house alone? After Mike told a friend about the cat’s puzzling behavior, she replied, “Well, maybe Midnight is not alone in that house.” This suggestion gave Mike goosebumps. He now believes that Midnight has become the little boy ghost’s cat. Midnight still lives there to this day with the current residents–including the child’s spirit?
The last story involves an Ingham house that was wrecked to put in Mueller Park in the Wedge neighborhood. One of the tenants, “Jen,” who occupied the upper unit just prior to the house’s demolition told me that she heard inexplicable footfalls. On several occasions, sometimes at night, sometimes during the day, she heard what sounded like someone walking up the staircase to the second floor. When she looked out into the stairwell, no one was there. Her roommate also reported hearing the footsteps, too, when he was alone in the apartment. Jen also occasionally felt like she was not alone in the apartment, although she could see or hear nothing out of the ordinary.
I’ve kept the other addresses anonymous because these days homeowners fear would-be ghost investigators showing up on their doorsteps more than they fear being made fun of for telling such stories. However, since this house is gone and no building replaced it, I can give the address: 2510 Bryant Ave. S., built 1898. At midnight on Halloween, perhaps you’d like to venture over to Mueller Park to where the house once stood and listen for ghostly footsteps ascending a ghostly staircase. Or perhaps it’s best just to sit at home and raise a toast to the spirits and wonder. . ..
Yesterday upon the stair
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
I wish, I wish he’d go away
When I came home last night at three
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall
I couldn’t see him there at all!
–from “Antigonish” by William Hughes Mearns 1899
I’ve collected dozens and dozens of ghost stories since my first article, “Enter Ghost”, was published in the Wedge neighborhood newspaper in October of 1978. I’ve collected stories of haunted houses, museums, hospitals, ships, highways, barns, churches, schools, theaters–you name it. If you have a story you’d like to share, please contact me at email@example.com. I’d love to hear about your experience.
For nearly four decades I’ve been collecting and retelling ghost stories, as long as I’ve been researching and writing about the work of Theron Potter Healy. It seems that old houses and ghost stories just naturally go together, so it’s no surprise that I’ve heard about haunted Healy houses.
Here are stories I’ve heard about houses built by T.P.Healy:
The first was told to me by a woman I’ll call “Lee” who was raised in one of Healy’s Queen Annes. As a child, she found the large Victorian house mysterious, even a bit spooky. One day when she was looking through the closet in her room, she discovered a pile of letters tied up with a ribbon. She took them out and read them.
The letters, she discovered, were those exchanged by a former resident of that room and her boyfriend in the military. Apparently the writer was, like her, the daughter of the homeowners. Lee was taken aback to learn that the boyfriend was stationed at a base that had the same name as she. As Lee read through the letters, it became clear that the writers were star-crossed lovers who never did get together. Her parents disapproved of him, and pressured her into ending the relationship.
Lee sometimes felt a presence in the room, and once, she saw the apparition of a young couple standing together by the closet. She couldn’t help but wonder if they had been united eventually, if not in life, then in death. Why the letters were still in the closet, Lee did not know. She put them back where they were and never looked at them again. They are still in the closet, awaiting the next resident to find them and speculate about the full story surrounding their contents.
The second story involves another Healy Queen Anne on the same block as Lee’s former home. The owner “Ted” says that he knew the house would be his from the moment he saw it while driving by. He called the number on the “for sale” sign out front. The owner, who lived out of state, told him that the house was vacant, and that it would be difficult to get a key to Ted. Instead, the owner advised Ted to climb in through a basement window. And so he did.
Ted went from the basement, to the main floor, up the formal staircase to the second floor, then up to the third floor. As Ted was looking around the attic rooms, he heard someone moving around on the second floor. Ted froze, thinking that someone had seen him breaking and entering and had called the police. How could he explain that the owner had told him to break in?
However, when he went down to the second floor, no one was there. In fact,, the house was completely still. Ted checked the first floor and basement and found no one. Not intimidated by the mysterious interloper, Ted wound up buying the house, which he still owns and lives in today.
Shortly after Ted acquired the house, he invited a well known psychic in for a tour. She told him that the lower floors had residual hauntings, but nothing active. On the other hand, on the third floor “lived” a little boy ghost, an intelligent haunting. The psychic told Ted that the boy had said to her, “Ted doesn’t see me, but Newton does.” This freaked out Ted because Newton was his cat’s name–and the psychic didn’t know that. Ted still occasionally hears footsteps on the second and third floor, but is not disturbed by them.
The next Healy haunting story involves a turn-of-the century house in South Minneapolis. Actually, I have stories from two owners about it. When my first ghost story articles appeared the “Wedge” newspaper and the “Hill and Lake Press”, then-owner “Jake” told me that “weird things” were happening in the house. But when I asked him to explain, he demurred, saying he’d rather not think about it.
Ten years later I became friends with the couple who currently own it. Owner “Cherie” told me that when she was in the front bedroom of the house, sometimes their dog would stand, hackles raised, looking out into the hallway at the top of the stairs. Occasionally, the dog would bark at something out there that the humans couldn’t see. At times they would hear footsteps in the hall and on the front staircase.
While these owners didn’t know it when they bought the house, the neighbors eventually told them that someone had been murdered in the house. When the property was a rooming house, the landlord had gotten into a dispute with one of tenants. Their quarrel eventually escalated to the point that the landlord came to the house with a shotgun. As the tenant stood at the top of the stairs, the landlord shot him. The tenant tumbled down the staircase, killed by the blast.
One sunny winter Saturday I was visiting with Cherie. We were talking and sipping tea in the parlor when we heard a loud “clink” from the kitchen. We hotfooted it through the pantry into the kitchen. To our amazement, a glass jar was sitting in the middle of the hardwood floor, intact. It had formerly sat on a shelf over the sink, 10 feet away. How did it get there? Perhaps an unseen resident was trying to make his or her presence known.
Years ago, while I was writing the article about Healy for “Twin Cities” magazine, the owners of a Healy house in Central Minneapolis told me about their feline ghost. The house had been converted to a duplex; what had been the formal front stairs was accessible to both upper and lower units. Both the owners, one tenant, and two visitors had witnessed the apparition of a cat bounding down what was the main staircase. The cat seemed real and solid–until it passed through the closed front door and disappeared. Who knows what the back story to that is?
A final ghost story, which is not about a haunted house: For the past four years, members of the Healy Project have met at different Healy-built houses to celebrate his birthday in May. On his 170th birthday, a group of Healy aficionados met at a house in the Wedge. We gathered around the cake on the dining room table and sang “Happy Birthday.” The candles stayed lighted throughout the singing. But the instant the singing stopped, a big gust of wind from the doorway blew them out. No fooling.
Do you have a ghost story to share? I’d love to hear it. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can meet at a Twin Cities coffee house–or if you’re out of town–over the phone.
Next: A post on haunted houses built by master builder Henry Ingham.