The (Possibly) Haunted Hower House

60 Fir Hill
(330) 972-6909

I’ve been hanging on to this story just for Halloween, so I’m pretty excited about this post. Enjoy.

Back in the late ’90s I worked as the arts and entertainment editor for the University of Akron newspaper, The Buchtelite. In the fall of 1999 I started sniffing around for local haunted house stories for our Halloween issue and kicked it off with a few local legends from fraternities on campus. Two students on my dorm floor had just pledged to the TKE house and led me to a small headstone in their parking lot. There were many variations on its history, but it basically went like this:

The TKE house was once the servant quarters for the Hower House down the street. The Howers were one of Akron’s most prominent families and leading industrialists. One of the servant girls under their employment had a relationship with one of the Howers’ sons, which they both swore to keep a secret. The family eventually found out and forbid them to remain together. The girl was so distraught she put a noose around her neck and took a dive from the balcony of what would eventually become the TKE house. Her spirit still roams the halls.

I then visited the Hower mansion to inquire about the status of supernatural activity on the property. The director informed me that not only had she never experienced anything out of the ordinary, but that the date of death on the headstone was six years before the Hower House had been completed. OK, so the story wasn’t exactly on the money, but it’s still pretty extraordinary that a headstone has remained in such a high-traffic area on campus for over 140 years.

In an attempt to find more information about the stone and the possible bodies underneath it, I spent hours scouring through newspapers, birth records, marriage certificates, death certificates, and more, but unfortunately hit a dead end (sorry, bad pun). I completed my search at the U of A archives where I was told that the University would not have purchased or built on any property that was known to have buried human remains.

I was ready to shelve the story when one of the archivists found a letter written by John Henry Hower to his son Milton Otis Hower in 1900. According to records at the archive, John Henry swore to his first wife on her deathbed that he would never marry again. She passed away and not much later he found himself at the alter with a new bride. Decades passed and the old man finally moved out and gave the house to Milton, who started noticing strange lights late at night. This is when John Henry wrote the following to his son:

“In regard to the strange lights that John B., you and Blanche saw, [they] may have been of a similar kind that your mother used to see when she lived in the house. A light would appear in her bedroom, but strange no one could see it but herself. How very slightly it appeared and not now. But the last time it appeared was, I think, the first night we slept together. It used to worry her, but apparently it had no significance of evil, as nothing of (can’t read this word, but it might be “ever”) occurred to us in death.”

OK, so maybe the devil didn’t pop out of the ground and swallow people whole, but it’s kind of a cool story.

The TKE house is not open to the public, so please do not trespass on their property. The Hower House is on the University of Akron campus and gives tours Wednesday-Saturday, noon until 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $6 for adults, $5 for senior citizens (65+) and $2 for students and children. It’s a really cool old house with fantastic examples of early Akron architecture and furnishings. Just don’t ask if it’s haunted, the guides get a little irritated.


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2 Responses to “The (Possibly) Haunted Hower House”

  1. Joanna Says:

    I went to a TKE party once. That wasn’t the kind of spirits I saw there.

    • Gerry Hall Says:

      I am a sensitive and was asked by one of the family members to visit John Henry Hower house with a metal detector in 1986. In those days, being a sensitve it was frowned upon and there were no EMF detectors. I had never been there before or after this first visit. We came in the back door thru the servants area and I was amazed by the opulents of this mansion. In the chapel area, a room that had a piece of furniture to kneel and pray, I got this overwhelming feeling of sadness and I started to cry. As I continued thru this enormous house, the dumb waiter was used a great deal during John Henry Hower’s time. Not only by the children, the staff with foods, but also with hiding of people. If you noticed that the house has a center that has no windows and is very private. This is what I found: There were two children that loved to play on the staircase, using it as a slide. It was a boy and a girl, one of them fell to their death there, maybe both of them. As you come thru the front door to your right, there have been several fires…one that could have destroyed the house if not caught in time. John H. Hower had a mistress within his house that became pregnant and was murdered. The mistress is in white and can be seen in the large mirrors on the top floor where they would entertain their guests with grand parties. In the servants quarters, there is unrest. Beware of an evil force that hides in the towers. You have to go thru a closet on the right of the grandroom to enter the towers and the widow walk. The evil force does not want you to know the truth about the family’s history of where their riches came from. At that time in the 1980’s the servants quarters had many left over things, like spears and other foreign objects. When I was on the top floor coming from the servants quarters into an area where the food came up thru the dumb waiter, a spear came out of know where to scare me off. Missed me, but made me aware of the evil forces that were hiding. Now going down the staircase I could hear and see the children playing and having fun dressed in the attire of that day. When I got down to the basement, that’s when more information entered. They not only had servants chained, but indians and slaves. There are tunnels from the servants house, the carriage house and going to the Cuyahoga river. John Henry Hower was noted for making his money by selling Quaker Oats in the Civil War. But here’s the kicker, he was selling guns to the indians thru the tunnel system and stored the weapons in the middle of the basement, where the furnace is located now. There is a spirit of an indian in the basement room where there are shackles.
      Yes, John Henry Hower House is haunted by several spirits, but beware of the evil spirit. The evil spirit is very dangerous and wants to keep the secrets hidden about the past.

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