Built upon a maple and pin oak tree lined street is our folk Victorian home. We call her the Haven. She sits among many other historic homes in the Old West Historic District of Lawrence, Kansas. The major portion of the district stretches approximately six blocks; half the houses were built in the 19th century. The Haven was built in 1887. The land our home was eventually built on was sold by President Buchanan in 1860 to a Wyandotte Indian Tribesman, Robert Robertaile. Robert was granted 640 acres of reservation land.
Years before our daughter Jillian decided to attend The University of Kansas, we had been looking at real estate in Lawrence, Kansas. We would drive to Lawrence on the weekends to look at real estate, drag the main street called Massachusetts (we call it the “M” now), and drive through the scenic campus grounds. We knew we wanted to retire in this quaint little hamlet about 40 minutes from our home or near a beach somewhere. Bob and I enjoyed the diversity and relaxed feel of the community.
In 2015, after years of traveling and a crazy work schedule, I retired. My husband Bob was already retired. We decided our home in Overland Park, Kansas was way to big for just the two of us. It was clear that our daughter Jillian wanted to be on her own after she graduated from high school and went off to college. Our other daughter was married with children and lived about 45 minutes away. So, we started the process of selling our home and searching for another in Lawrence. To make a long story short…we sold our home and found The Haven.
The Haven was a pale yellow, one story Victorian with white trim. The trim on the house was gingerbread-house like. The home was just what we were looking for minus the updated bathrooms and kitchen (that could come later). As we walked onto the sweet, rounded porch, we noticed the original stained-glass door with its original turn style door bell. Then we entered the vestibule; very surprised to see twelve-foot ceilings and floor to ceiling windows. The beautiful wood floors and high ceilings ran through the entire house. Back in the day, this house was a doctor’s office; I’m still trying to investigate information on it. After viewing many homes in the area, we immediately knew this home was waiting for us! One of the best-selling points for this home was its location, it’s within walking distance to the downtown shops, restaurants, library, coffee shops and was in the historic district.
Within the first month of living in our new home, we discovered a new family member in the house, a ghost. It has made itself apparent in many times and different ways. I was reading in my bedroom one day and heard footsteps in the attic; I brushed it off. My husband who didn’t believe in ghosts was resting in our bedroom with our husky Tyen, he also heard footsteps coming from the attic; Tyen looked up and started whining. We let these things go thinking it was just our imaginations. I had to ask myself if I believed in spirits and ghosts? I guess?!? We had our daughter Jillian crawl up in the attic to investigate; the only thing she found was a very small window with an old lace curtain on it. We can’t figure out why there would be a curtain on this window and who put it there?
A few weeks later I was sitting in our living room when I heard a noise coming from our guest bedroom. I went into the bedroom and one of our built-in book selves was knocked down off the wall. The way the shelves are built, this is almost impossible. Everything that was on the shelf was knocked down too. Then in the same bedroom about a week later, the decorative molding was torn down and the curtain rod was down on one side. This time my husband repaired the molding with wood screws and glue; we hung the curtain back up. About a month later the molding, curtain, and rod were torn down again and this time it hit an antique lamp beyond repair. The ghost won; we decided to not hang the curtains again. We used to have the grandkids stay over night in this guest bedroom, they refused after hearing a few of our ghost stories. This room is now my reading room/office.
We painted several interior rooms and painted the exterior a deep, navy blue color with off white trim. I found a striking peacock wallpaper from Schumacher for our kitchen, this was a huge risk that turned out beautifully. The dining room was moved from the front of the house to the back of the house, closest to the kitchen; this was the perfect location! I painted the room a medium gray with one coral wall. We also furnished 2 windows in the house with antique stained-glass windows from churches across the US. French lace café curtains are hung in the front windows of the house.
My husband Bob who has never been a believer in the paranormal has been the focus for contact for our ghost. Several times, Bob has been sitting in the living room and has felt a big gust of cold air travel by him. This has also happened to me too. Just the other night while in bed, Bob’s arm lifted on its own while we were reading; pretty creepy. I have so many other stories to share regarding the spirit(s).
I have been doing some research on our home; Yet, I haven’t been able to discover any information about the house being haunted. There was a woman by the Amelia Alexander Pollock who purchased the home in 1889 and died in the house in 1946. Perhaps she didn’t want t leave the house!
In 2017, we decided it was time to share our enchanted cottage. We turned the Haven into a B&B. The house was set up perfectly for a B&B! There’s a separate entrance to a bedroom at the front of the house and it has its own bathroom. We serve a nice breakfast either on our covered front porch or in the suite. When Bob and I travelled, we always tried to stay in B&B’s or small, boutique hotels. We always felt they were quaint and cozy compared to bigger hotels. It has been wonderful hosting people from around the world. We have made many friendships too!
We will look forward to making many more memories here at the Haven!