Creepy Local Legends Revisited

| 10/27/2010 4:45:41 PM

CindyMurphyBlog.jpgIt’s that time of year again; Halloween, my favorite holiday. After taking a walking ghost tour of our town this past weekend, I thought it might be fun to resurrect my blog from last year, “Creepy Local Legends,” with a new installment.

Not on our town’s ghost tour, but never-the-less a house of historic ... and ghostly significance, is the house right around the corner from me. It’s a place I always point out to out-of-town friends and family as we walk through the neighborhood, telling the tale of its haunting.

Like many of the houses in town, including ours, this house was built in the late 1800s when the booming lumber, fruit, and tourism industries made South Haven a bustling port on the shores of Lake Michigan. It’s a grand old house with a cupola atop, recently repainted in colors reminiscent to what they would have been at the time.

Scary house

In the 1800s, only a handful of houses stood in what is the current neighborhood; much of the land was either apple or peach orchards back then. In the early 1870s, over 3,500 barrels of apples, and nearly 30,000 packages of peaches were shipped by large steamships to the Chicago market. One of the suppliers of the peaches was the man who built the house which stood on the edge of his property, over-looking his prized peach orchard.

Frank Pritchard was a wealthy man to begin with, and the continued success of his peach crop made him even wealthier. He took a huge financial risk when he planted his orchard with what was to become, and still is, the world’s most popular peach, the ‘Red Haven’. It was a brand new variety at the time, developed by fellow townsman, and plant scientist, Stanley Johnston. The gamble paid off for Frank. While the lumber barons’ found their “Green Gold” in Michigan’s white pine, the area had another kind of precious commodity – the peaches that were referred to as “Michigan’s Gold,” and the new ‘Red Haven’ proved to be the cream of the crop.

Michelle House
11/3/2010 9:11:05 PM

Cindy, I really believed you. lol. Grands had a great time.

Cindy Murphy
11/3/2010 6:49:18 AM

It'd be a grave tome for sure, Stepper. But alas! Time prevents me from doing so. Maybe I could get a ghost-writer? I'm sure the parents you passed out candy to enjoyed it almost as much as the kids; I know I would. (I think next year, I'm going to have special treats just for the parents; they deserve something too, doncha think?) There is a bonus to having left-over candy besides pawning it off on your co-workers, yanno. That's why I ALWAYS pass out the stuff I like best, just in case there are left-overs. Thanks for stopping in, and enjoy your day!

Chris Davis
11/2/2010 9:38:53 PM

Oh, well done Cindy. I didn’t suspect this to be anything beyond a local legend until you fessed up that it was a fabrication of your own making. Maybe you should write your own Halloween tome! I’m sure it would be spooktacular. We had the slowest year for T-o-T'ers ever. I was giving candy out to parental escorts just to keep from having too many left overs and even with that, I gave out less than 150 pieces. Next step, take left over candy to work!

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