The Hess Mansion

There is always a “Hess Mansion” in every young boy’s life, is there not? An old presumed haunted and empty house that has a colorful past or at least there are rumors of a colorful past where young boys must investigate.

For Jim and his friends in Massillon, Ohio, it was the “Hess Mansion”.

They managed to get in, and of course, they investigated the scary house. They even found it still had electricity and Jim turned it back on which made it more like a hang out then a haunted house.

Jim even fixed the old time radio so they could listen to the radio while they were there.

Old time console radio from the 40s

I don’t know if the Philco old time radio (above) was close or similar to the console model in the “Hess Mansion”, but I kinda pictured it similar to this one in my mind when Jim would talk about the “Hess Mansion”.

I thought it was amazing for an older child, maybe 11 or in their pre-teens was able to find out what was needed to make that old radio work again. He had never seen that old radio before, but replaced a tube in it and brought it back to life.

The kids one time even cooked some food in the huge old kettle on the fireplace. They would scare each other with stories and do more investigating in the house, and scare each other, and of course listen to the radio.

They searched for where the “Hess Mansion” was supposedly part of the “underground railroad” and where those fleeing from the South were hidden in tunnels under the house. But the only thing they could find was a dry root cellar or small room that was too easy to get to and had no alternate way to exit into tunnels or anything like that. Jim thought since it was beside the furnace room that it might have more likely been a coal bin room.  It would not have been too far off the beam to have the “Hess Mansion” be a part of the Underground Railroad as the Quaker couple who owned Spring Hill (an 1821 home in Massillon, OH) apparently was. And people were proud of that heritage and you can still visit Spring Hill today.

Near Christmas or over the Christmas holiday one year, one of his buddies brought Christmas lights and put them in the front window. Not a very low key thing to do, and may have ultimately led to people determining that kids were messing around in the house.

Of course, like most kids, if you get too comfortable in such situations, eventually you will get caught or at least have an officer scaring them off. I am not fully sure which one happened. Maybe one of Jim’s buddies that visited the “Hess Mansion” with him could remind me. I simply can not remember. It’s been a while since Jim told me the “Hess Mansion” stories.

Jim said they did eventually tear down the “Hess Mansion” which he said was very sad as it was a beautiful old house.

5 thoughts on “The Hess Mansion

  1. comhack

    Nice story!! Unfortunately, there aren’t any homes that old in the area I grew up so I didn’t have any spooky houses to check out.

    1. Fran Post author

      There were ones where I grew up but I wasn’t allowed to wonder that far from our house. 😉

      My Mother would have had my head if I were to do something like this LOL! And somehow she would have found out. 😉

  2. Elizabeth

    Good story, Fran! I moved around a lot as a kid, but there was one vacant, old house in a neighborhood where I lived for several years. It was a nice neighborhood, full of large older homes, but that was the only one that was empty, so that made it interesting for us. We never got past peeking in the windows though. After a while, it was rented and lost any slight aura of mystery it had.

  3. Ian Chase

    Great Story, I can only imagine that house became like to many of us when we were growing up like an “old fort” a place to “call your own” To bad Jim could not have gotten that radio later on because I have no doubt it would STILL be working to this day and STILL be in your home. 🙂

    1. Fran Post author

      That is true if it were his radio, but he fixed the radio that belonged to the house. Jim was a bit of a packrat. 😉

      Who knows if the got it out before the house was torn down. I sure hope so.