You don’t have to believe in ghosts to appreciate the spooky history of the Portland metro area.
It has been a quintessential October in Portland with moody clouds and vibrant foliage the past few weeks. But that’s not the only thing to enjoy in the days leading up to Halloween.
Oregon has quite a few historic sites with dark pasts and speculation of paranormal activity.
Whether or not you think of yourself as a superstitious person, it’s hard not to appreciate the state’s spooky history a little.
Here are five haunted places to check out in the Portland metro area before Halloween.
Grand Lodge Hotel (Forest Grove)
Nestled in Forest Grove, stands a mansion with iconic white columns, known today as the Grand Lodge Hotel.
The property served for 77 years as a Masonic and Oriental home for “aged and distressed” Freemasons, Bulletin 2009 of the Forest Grove Board of Historic Monuments.
The Masonic Lodge was purchased by McMenamins in 1999 and turned into a hotel. Today, the 90-room property is a popular destination for weddings and conferences, but guests and staff may not be the only ones residing at the lodge. Rumors of paranormal activity are just as pervasive as the unique artwork inside.
An employee told Historic Monuments Board Member Holly Tsur in 2009 that guests and staff often report “ghostly events” throughout the lodge. Guests also took photos of “misty white orbs” and reported showers and sinks spontaneously spouting water, as well as objects and furniture rearranged by “invisible hands.”
The employee also told Tsur that she was about to cover the pool when she encountered “an old man wearing a gray-green cardigan”. She remembers being able to see through the man – whom she later recognized in an old photo hanging on the second floor of the lodge. The man, known as “Old Joe”, was believed to be a deceased resident of the Masonic nursing home who hid under the stairs and in the corners to “people watch”.
But the lodge’s most frequent appearance is believed to be a bespectacled old woman known as the “Lavender Lady”. Anyone visiting the lodge can find a hand-painted image of her on the back wall of room 232. Next to her image is a description of construction crews in 1999 who reported smelling sudden smells of lavender “floating in the air”. A worker recalled seeing a white-haired woman sporting a “satisfied smile, as if she was receiving something”.
Today guests and staff will still report lingering lavender scents in parts of the lodge.
McMenamins Edgefield (Troutdale)
In Troutdale lies 74 acres of opulent gardens and whimsical architecture known today as the McMenamins Edgefield. But this entertainment and lodging complex once housed the disabled and low-income residents of the Portland area.
The poor Multnomah County farm was built in 1911 with the aim of helping “the poor” to become “self-sufficient through agriculture,” according to the Oregon Historical Society. By 1914, the farm housed 302 residents, who managed dairy cows, pigs, chickens and a wide variety of crops.
While the poor farm appeared to be a hit on paper, the concept was scrapped in the wake of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and the WWII job boom and new social security programs, which have attracted able-bodied residents, leaving behind residents with disabilities who had become so accustomed to institutionalized life that they were no longer able to live independently.
In 1985, Edgefield was declared “dilapidated beyond repair” and ready for demolition, according to the Historical Society. But the Troutdale Historical Society fought to preserve historic buildings. In 1990 Mike and Brian McMenamin took over the property, converting it into a hotel.
Much like the Grand Lodge, guests and staff have also reported paranormal activity in the building. Room 215 would be the most requested room, The Advocate, the Mt. Hood Community College newspaper, reported in 2012.
An employee, Alison Berliner, told The Advocate that Edgefield is definitely haunted.
“I saw a nurse in the upstairs hallway (of the basement) and it was 11 am,” she told The Advocate.
“I was just walking with a bucket and I saw this 60s (woman’s style) woman. I could tell she was wearing a little hat. I could tell she was wearing tights. That’s how good she was. was clear. And she was just walking, and you couldn’t see the keys, but it looked like she was holding keys, and she was coming over here, and she kind of turned around and she looked like she was. ‘open a door then disappear, “Berliner said of the full apparition she described as” obviously a nurse “.
Scaponia Park (Columbia County)
Between Vernonia and Scappoose, along the banks of the Nehalem, is a popular summer hiking and camping destination known as Scaponia Park.
Alongside the park are popular trails like the Crown Zellerbach Trail, colloquially known as ‘Crown Z’. The trail was once used for logging. Beginning at Scapoose on the Multnomah Canal at Chapman Landing, it traveled through wooded areas of rural Columbia County to Lake Vernonia.
Legend has it that Scaponia Park is haunted by the ghost of a horse thief and his dog. The thief was said to have been a local vagrant who made a living by stealing and selling horses, accompanied by his small dog.
As the story goes, local residents finally figured out the thief’s transgressions, and an angry mob chased him and his dog into the Nehalem River.
Campers and hikers so far report seeing appearances of the thief and his dog around the park.
Roseland Theater (Portland)
A popular concert hall in Portland’s Old Town Chinatown was also the scene of a particularly gruesome murder in the 1990s.
The building was first constructed to serve as a place of worship for the Church of the Apostolic Faith in 1922. In 1982 the building was purchased by Larry Hurwitz and transformed into a concert hall known as Starry Night. . Hurwitz was considered a “larger than life leader” on the city’s music scene, according to Oregonian.
But Hurwitz would also become the center of Portland’s most notorious mystery murder, following the murder of 21-year-old Tim Moreau in 1990. Moreau’s body – allegedly buried somewhere in the Columbia River Gorge – has never been found, but one of his associates, George Castagnola, later told authorities he held Moreau while Hurwitz strangled him backstage, to silence him over a counterfeit money scam. Hurwitz was convicted of the murder in 2000.
The story was covered extensively at the time by reporter Jim Redden, previously of Willamette Week and PDXS and now of the Portland Tribune.
Moreau’s parents told the Willamette Week in 2018, “Without the efforts of the press and media, we probably wouldn’t know what happened to our son.”
Lone Fir Cemetery (Portland)
The first person to be buried at Lone Fir in 1846 was Emmor Stephens, whose son, James Stephens, paid $ 200 for a land claim that stretched from the Willamette River to present-day 23rd Avenue South East, from Stark Street to Division Street, according to Historic Portland, Oregon Cemeteries, written by Teresa Bergen and Heide Davis.
The land became the final resting place for many other Portlanders, as the city’s previous cemeteries suffered from boggy terrain, according to Bergen and Davis. In 1866, the cemetery was extended by several additional hectares.
It was named Lone Fir Cemetery after the only fir tree that stood on the grounds.
Over the years, the cemetery has become one of the most coveted places to be buried in Portland.
Rumor has it that the ghost of Anne Jeanne Tingry-LeCoz, a sex worker known as Emma Merlotin, wanders the grounds of Lone Fir. In 1885, someone murdered her with an ax at her home on Southwest Third Avenue and Yamhill Street, according to Bergen and Davis.
Legend has it that a woman dressed in the French style can be seen throwing up her hands and screaming in the cemetery. Others report seeing a happier appearance of a young woman in a red dress, walking calmly around the area.
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