In 1749, British merchant John Carlyle purchased two of the best lots in Alexandria, and put up this beautiful mansion-with its unique stone cornice and ornate woodwork-by the early 1750s. Just in time for General Edward Braddock to use the Georgian-style home to plan the French and Indian War.
The home stayed in the Carlyle family until 1827, and eventually served as a Civil War hospital, a particular point of interest for visiting ghost hunters. A 6-year-long restoration began when the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NVRPA) acquired the property in 1970.
The NVRPA holds an annual reenactment of Colonel John Carlyle's 1780 funeral and reading of his last will. Call 703-683-3451 for more information.
Emlen Physick Estate
Cape May, New Jersey
Dr. Emlen Physick's sprawling four-acre estate, a 1879 Victorian mansion, has changed hands only three times in its 130-year history. The home made news in 1878 for its unique Stick-style, featuring geometric decorative elements and irregular rooflines that contrasted with its more traditional neighbors. The exterior features oversized corbelled chimneys, jerkin-head dormers, and porch brackets, while the interior showcases classic Victorian molding, fireplaces, and furniture.
The herb garden on the grounds is a replica of one planted there in the 1800s, but that's not all that remains from the past. Psychic medium Craig McManus, the author of The Ghosts of Cape May, has identified many spirits still residing at the Physick Estate: The most prominent ones are Physick's Aunt Emilie, and the spirits of Physick's beloved dogs.
The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts have partnered with Craig McManus to offer a tour. Other events are also scheduled. Call 609-884-5404 for more information.
Prospect Place Mansion
This mansion, listed by the Ohio Underground Railroad Association, was built in 1856 by abolitionist G.W. Adams. The Greek Revival-Italianate is the last remaining of five similar Dresden-area mansions. The home had many innovative features for its time, including a unique refrigeration system in the basement. In the 1980s, local businessman Dave Longaberger saved the 29-room mansion from the wrecking ball. Its current owner-a descendant of G.W. Adams-has continued the restoration.
Locals are familiar with the tale of Constance Cox, a young girl who took a fatal fall off a balcony one winter in the 19th century. Since the child couldn't have a proper burial until the spring, her body was kept in the basement icebox where her mother visited with her. The site of numerous paranormal investigations, ghost hunters maintain that the spirits of both Constance and her mother remain at the house.
The Prospect Mansion/ G.W. Adams Educational Center welcomes visitors for paranormal investigations and tours, but warns of "interacting with the spirit of the bounty hunter in the barn." Call 740-221-4175 for more information.