19th Century Ghosts


Sharon - 19thcenturyghosts

Dreamer, writer, lover of all things historically strange.

The Lizzie Borden House

Sometimes I think about people who likely stumble upon this blog in search of nineteenth-century ghost stories. My apologies, paranormal fans, but I love metaphor and my intention was never to write about actual ghosts. Sure, it’s possible the historic houses I’ve posted about could very well be haunted, but that’s never been my main concern. My priorities have always been architecture and decor. But my recent visit to Fall River, Massachusetts wasn’t about architecture at all.

Continue reading “The Lizzie Borden House”

Book Review: Confederates in the Attic

Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War by Tony Horwitz was on my reading list for a while. This would be an enlightening read at any time since the book’s publication in 1998, but seemed especially relevant now in 2020, a tumultuous period of national reckoning.

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The Armour-Stiner Octagon House

Of all the historic houses I’ve seen, the Armour-Stiner Octagon House in Irvington, New York has become a new favorite. I am absolutely enamored by its bold color palette, stunning interior, and unique structure. Its preservation story is also quite heartwarming.

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The Victorian Society in America’s Summer Schools, AKA – Nerd Camp

How do two weeks jam packed with historic houses and museums sound? If you can enthusiastically answer yes, then you should consider attending one of the Victorian Society in America’s summer programs. The deadline for summer 2019 has passed, but I highly encourage anyone passionate about historical architecture to consider applying in the future.

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The Comb Ran Away with the Razor: The Storied Furniture of William Burges

“Now this is how you engage with a piece of furniture!”

exclaimed Ian Dungavell, course leader for the Victorian Society in America’s London Midlands tour. Only amongst a group of decorative art and architecture enthusiasts would an intense discussion on furniture not only happen, but also be so stimulating.

Continue reading “The Comb Ran Away with the Razor: The Storied Furniture of William Burges”

Olana: A Historic Painter’s Paradise on the Hudson

Only an artist could dream up a house like Olana, the Victorian Middle Eastern-style home of Hudson River School painter Frederic Church. The artistic oasis overlooks the Hudson River and it’s easy to see what drew Frederic Church to the landscape all those years ago. Today, visitors flock to the site to marvel at both the landscape and what lies within Olana’s beautiful archways.

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Book Review of Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything

A compendium of weird medical history? Yes please! (Disclaimer: if you just ate or are about to eat, you might want to read this later…)

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At last, two years in the making, the book I contributed to is finally out!

Continue reading “I’M PUBLISHED!”

Staatsburgh State Historic Site (Mills Mansion)

Among the many historic houses dotting New York’s Hudson Valley, Staatsburgh State Historic Site is a must-see. Otherwise known as the Mills Mansion, this Gilded Age beauty was the home of financier and philanthropist Ogden Mills and his wife Ruth Livingston Mills. Originally a Greek Revival house, it was expanded and enhanced in the Beaux-Arts style in the 1890s.

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