Brevard full of fascinating haunted places


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A fire linked to housekeeper Avila Beth Irving is the premise for why the Green Gables House in Melbourne is believed to be haunted.

SENIOR LIFE Courtesy of the Andrens family

There are claims that right here in our backyard there are many interesting homes, hotels, and historic places that are haunted. Investigating these claims here is my humble, and pedestrian clarification on why they have gained this vaulted status.

Ashley’s Restaurant, Rockledge

Ashley’s Restaurant was opened in early 1933 and, at that time, the restaurant was called Jack’s Tavern. Through these many years, it has changed ownership and names.

In 1934, the murdered body of young Ethel Allen was found nearby. Allen was a regular at Jack’s Tavern and was to be engaged to their head chef Morris Anthony.

Rumors are that a very jealous rival suitor in a fit of rage murdered Allen.

Allen’s ghost has taken up residence in the kitchen at Ashley’s Restaurant to be near Morris and her presence has been outstanding. She is the one that makes sure that the quality of food, service and value is up to Anthony’s standards. Have a meal at Ashley’s and see why it is one of the best restaurants in Brevard County.

Melbourne Railroad Bridge, Melbourne

These are the train tracks and bridge built by Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railway to south Florida back in the late 19th century. Over these many years there have been adults and children who want to experience walking over this narrow bridge. Many have been killed when they didn’t hear the rapidly moving trains warning blasts. Legend has it that Henry Flagler, when traveling south on his private railway train, was standing on the rear outside observation deck looking at his pocket watch for the time. His gold watch slipped out of his hand and it fell into the Eau Gallie River below. Henry is still looking for his watch with a haunted perseverance.

The Henegar Center, Melbourne

The Henegar Center located at 625 East New Haven Avenue, and was built in 1919 as a school and today is called The Henegar Center for the Arts. The restored building contains a 500-seat live theatre that features on-going live Broadway shows.

The Henegar Center got its reputation as a haunted building when a dear little old lady named Molly Nook Perkins attended a theatre musical. She was a little confused she actually had a ticket for Ringling Brother’s Circus being held in West Melbourne.

She was looking for her nephew the famous Ringling clown Bello Nock. The Henagar Management gently told Molly that she was in the wrong arena. While leaving the Henegar Center she was heard to say “You’ll not hear the end of this, I’ll haunt this place.” During intermission times if you listen carefully you’ll hear Molly calling gently. “Bello where are you, kind, sweet, dear Bello, it’s your loving
Aunt Molly.”

The Green Gables House, Melbourne

1501 South Harbor Drivecorner of Riverview and U.S. 1.

This historic home was built in 1886 for the prominent local businessman William Wells. It is the perfect example of the Queen Anne style architecture typical of the 19th Century. Today the building is in very bad condition. It had a fire and has extensive water damage. Speculation is that the ghost of Avila Beth Irving the long time loyal Wells housekeeper was the culprit. Just before she passed away she told the family that she would remain in the house forever. It is assumed that while sleeping Avila lit candle feel over and set the destructive fire. Avila has learned her lesson and now she uses a F. D. safety approved kerosene lamp. The organization savegreengables.org is trying to obtain the needed funds to restore and save this grand historic residence.

Rossetter House, Eau Gallie

1320 Highland Avenue, Melbourne

The James Wadsworth Rossetter House in historic Eau Gallie is over 150 years old.

The property is today owned by the Rossetter House Foundation and managed by the Florida Historical Society. The house has been carefully restored and is now an outstanding museum that you and your family should visit. Tours of the building, the Roesch House across the street, and the adjacent family burial grounds are available to the public. Legend has it that Rossetter’s two daughters Caroline and Ella’s loyal deceased gardener and handyman Archie X. Philips went along with the estate. He roams the property night and day tending to his duties and keeping the estate in its today’s magnificent condition.

 

Do take a tour the property but make sure your children don’t walk on the grass or pick flowers. Kind and forever loyal Archie Philips is on duty 24 hours a day 365 days a year to keep everything is pristine condition.

The Melbourne Hotel, Melbourne

Now called The 1900 Building is on the corner of New Haven and U. S. 1.

This building was built in 1924 and opened as the elegant Melbourne Hotel. It had more than 100 sleeping rooms a fine restaurant and bar, a telegraph office, and faced Melbourne’s first traffic light. The building was converted to offices in the late 1980’s.

There are many versions of stories of ghosts haunting this building and that they only come out at night. The version that I love is the “White Sheets and Pillow Case” story.

It seems that in the “Flapper Age” of the 1920s Hotel management decided to keep up with the times and changed all the bed linen to Flapper Red, White and Blue colors. Bedding now was made of Linen, Silk, Rayon and who knows what else. Well long time resident of the Hotel Timothy E. McGuire, a traditionalist, a leading citizen, and a Melbourne mover and shaker was more than irate. He demanded that the Hotel return to cotton and traditional white for everything including the towels. Management said no. Timothy replied “You’ll regret this move I will haunt this flapper Hotel forever.”

Today the 1900 building has only paper towels in all rest rooms to satisfy Mr. McGuire.

The Strawberry Mansion, Melbourne

The Strawberry Mansion, now called the Mansion, 1218 East New Haven, Melbourne.

This magnificent Queen Anne wood building was built in the very early 1900’s. The Lee family from Albion New York built the house. The Lee’s adopted daughter Nannie Lee then inherited the house in 1929. The House was called then The Nannie Lee House and then when converted to a restaurant in 1981 The Strawberry Mansion.

Legend has it that this home is now haunted by the mother of a tipsy and disgruntled diner over the quality of a dessert. It seems the George P. Harrington a regular diner at the Strawberry Mansion wanted to try their famous Strawberry Short Cake. After a few bits George asked for the owner and complained vehemently that the Strawberry Short Cake was nothing like his dear mother makes at home. The owner, backed by the Maître D, responded. “ Well that’s why your mother doesn’t work here.” George in tears, “I’m going to tell my sweet mother and she will forever haunt this building”

Today in the Mansion’s kitchen ceiling resides George’s mother Rebecca viewing and inspecting every dessert that is made from scratch by the Bakers. They have an award winning selection, everything but Strawberry Short Cake. Why take any chances!

The Compound, Palm Bay

Called the Compound today by the locals it is a large area of over 200 miles of abandoned streets. Back in the 1980s the General Development Corporation who developed the compound with streets and a sewer system intended this area to be a lavish housing development. The Company went bankrupt in the early 1990’s.

Today the Compound is used by the locals for drag racing, dirt biking, four wheeling, paint ball, and other outdoor activities. It got its reputation as a haunted area because there have been many children and adults who entered the compound and never were seen again. Why have they not returned? Well my investigation has found that the children may have been runaways and the adults beaten down unhappy spouses.

You ask where did they go? They went to the Cumberland Gap, Gateway to the West.