Updated: Nov 17, 2022
DATE(S) VISITED: NOVEMBER 1, 2022
LOCATION: ATCHISON, KS
The day after Team H did our overnight investigation at the Sallie House, it would have been rude not to swing by the beautiful, and most haunted, McInteer Villa. When we rolled up at the property our first impression was that it reminded us of a smaller version of Wilson Castle in Vermont, the architectural style is very similar.
This impressive brick residence was built in 1889-1890 by Owen E. Seip, a long-time Atchison contractor, at an estimated cost of $14,000. It has five bedrooms and four baths and features intricate woodwork throughout.
It was constructed for John McInteer, an Irish immigrant who made his fortune from selling harnesses and saddles. His products became known for their workmanship, and he did a great amount of business with wagon trains plying the overland trails. He was so successful that he had to enlarge his facilities and manufacture his products on a larger scale. The wealth he accumulated from his business was invested in real estate in Atchison and nearby St. Joseph, MO. He also erected a number of business blocks in Atchison.
John McInteer’s first wife, Alice died in 1892. He married his second wife, Anna Conlon, a widow with three sons, in 1895. After McInteer’s death in 1902, Anna continued living in the home until her death in 1916. During her ownership, the house was home to large numbers of her Conlon relatives, including many children. After 1916 until about 1925, her brother, Judge Charles J. Conlon, a prominent Atchison lawyer, and his family made it their home.
For 25 years it became a rooming house, until in 1952 it was purchased by Ms. Isobel Altus, described by her neighbors as "a retired professional violinist and an eccentric" and she reportedly always dressed in black. Since the home was across from what was the Franklin school, the children would see her when they walked to and from class. Rumors soon swirled about the witch who lived in the old mansion and the children were terrified of her.
Unfortunately Isobel lacked the financial resources to follow through on her desire to restore the house and in 1969, shortly before her death, she sold it to George Gerardy, who had started to rehabilitate it.
It has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since March 26, 1975.
Like many old historic buildings, reports of supernatural and ghostly goings on have been reported over the years at the Villa. These include:
Lights turning on and off in the tower, which does not have electricity
Figures seen in windows when no one is at home
A speaker thrown off the counter and boxes moving
The rocking chair that “Goldie” died in has been known to rock back and forth on it’s own
Sounds of slamming doors throughout the night
Footsteps walking down the hallway on the second floor throughout the night
Some feel uneasy on the second floor, feeling as though they are being “watched”
Items tend to be moved from one location to another
Creaks of turning doorknobs
Lights turning on and off
Dramatic changes in temperature
Voices of both male and female
The door to one of the sitting rooms upstairs opens on it’s own and a shadow person has been seen a few times
The scent of a powdery woman’s perfume and the hint of cigarettes
Team H would have loved to have been able to make this a destination for investigation whilst we were in Atchinson, but getting to at least visit and get a look at it's grandeur from the outside was well worth it. Hopefully we shall get the chance to return in the future for an overnight stay.
For even more photo's of our brief visit to this wonderful house, check out our Facebook gallery page.