Ashley’s of Rockledge

More From Florida

Death by accidents and murder has caused a variety of paranormal activity.

The spirit of a former employee comes to work in a place he loved.

Most seem to prefer to show their feelings in the building’s spectral hot spots.




While the outside of Ashley’s presents a regal European stucco and wood Tudor building, a style of architecture that was popular in the 1930s, inside is an informal, neighborhood eatery and sports bar that offers reasonably priced appetizers and entrees that are appealing to one’s appetite.

Old stained glass windows, antique pictures and pictures of the residing spirits are a vital part of the decor. Dark wood inside continues the English pub theme.

As you walk in the front door, the bar area is to the left, and the bathrooms are to the right. There are tables, chairs and booths located around the bar area on the first floor. The kitchen is on the right side of the building.

Along the left inside wall of the building, there is a staircase leading up to the second floor that has tables with an open view of the floor below. Again, pictures are on the walls of the second floor as decor.

A second staircase is used by the staff and leads down to the kitchen. Tom and I enjoyed a meal here, and the service was great. The restaurant benefits from a healthy clientele from the local people.

There is an outside deck and bar, as well as an inside bar with big TVs to watch sports events. A big attraction is NFL football. I’m sure that the outside dining came in handy during the Covid Pandemic.



The land upon which Ashley’s was built is said to be the site of an old railroad depot that burned to the ground. According to Ashley’s of Rockledge’s history page, this handsome Tudor-style building was constructed probably sometime after the 1932 repeal of Prohibition by entrepreneur Jack Allen.

Jack’s Tavern was a classy joint where men wore tails and a top hat, and women wore their nicest dress. Built in a prime location, just off a main highway and near the railroad, this tavern/pub/eatery survived throughout the years, having many owners along the way. The changes in ownership meant many changes in the name for this popular watering hole.

After starting off as Jack’s Tavern, it was known as: Cooney’s Tavern, The Mad Duchess, The Loose Caboose, Sparrow Hawk, and Gentleman Jim’s, before it became Ashley’s of Rockledge.

A variety of people through the years have enjoyed this local watering hole. From local working folks, to party animals, to a rougher crowd as well.



With so many changes in owners, some of the drama that happened here has been lost. There are stories, but not much is known for sure; just the entities that stay here or visit. The paranormal activity experienced in this structure suggests why they may reside here, voluntarily and involuntarily.

Spirits who were victims of brutal murders sometimes can’t get past their gruesome ends. Sometimes they try to enjoy this world as best they can as spirit people, wanting the truth known, and/or seeking justice.

Lumber Baron Inn and Gardens, CO (Two young women were brutally killed by another boarder in their dive of an old mansion room. They want justice).

Kahler Grand Hotel, MN (When she threatened to expose a horse-selling fraud, Helen Bach was nearly beaten to death, then shot dead before being dumped in a metal incinerator. Her spirit resides in Kahler Grand Hotel where she loved to stay).

Wabasha Street Caves, MN (In this speak-easy nightclub where the police looked the other way, three mob gangsters were relaxing and playing cards in one of the side rooms. A mob soldier shot them with a Tommy gun. They reside here and enjoy all the events held in this special place).

Ashley’s of Rockledge, IL (Ethel Allen, perhaps related to Jack Allen, was brutally murdered in this building and her mutilated and burned remains were found. Her spirit has been trying to tell the living what happened to her. She is also trying to find ways to enjoy this world as a spirit person).


Many legends swirl around a young nineteen year old woman, known as Ethel Allen, who loved to come to this place in the 1930s, when it was called Jack’s Tavern. Jack’s Tavern was the last place she was seen alive.

A psychic who investigated Ashley’s, had a vision of Ethel being murdered there. Her killer was never brought to justice. If he was a gangster with money, he perhaps paid off the police to beat this murder rap.

It is reported that Ethel ran around with a rough crowd of folks, perhaps gangster types, or people who liked to party hardy with little self-control. Perhaps a boyfriend or ex-boyfriend of hers was a bad boy type with a temper, and/or a jealousy issue.

In many cases of murder, the victim often knows the attacker. It is theorized that she angered her killer. The condition of her body showed signs of this being a crime of passion. The remains of Ethel were found mutilated and burned on the shores of the Indian River. Jack’s Tavern was the last place she was seen alive.

A variety of opinions are suggested by a variety of sources as to where this violent murder was done. Some say that Ethel met her violent end in the bathroom; or the second floor; or the storage room; or just outside the front door. The chase may have started on the stairs. Another researcher, Charlie Carlson, believes that Ethel was killed somewhere else entirely.


Entities of people who die due to the actions of others sometimes haunt the place of their death, wanting to share how they died and/or what happened to them, and perhaps wanting justice. Perhaps the restless spirit gives the living an example of what was felt during the spirit’s unpleasant, and sometimes violent death.

Lumber Baron Inn and Gardens, CO (Two spirits of young women who were brutally killed in their room when this mansion was a run-down boardinghouse, still stay in their room, wanting the living to know who killed them).

Brumder Mansion, WI (A female spirit, Evelyn, was able to go to the other side after telling a medium that she had been raped and impregnated by the former Brumder Mansion gardener, and had died in the bathtub from a botched abortion).

Ashley’s of Rockledge, IL (Sometime the living feel a slight choking on their necks as they go down the stairs or on the way to the bathroom).


Or sometimes these victims won’t accept their death and continue to frequent the place that they loved on earth, being helpful, getting chuckles by teasing the living and continuing on what they liked to do while alive.

Saint John’s Twin Cinema and Pub, OR (A murdered Vaudevillian actor yearns to be back on stage…He tries to be a positive, supportive force).

Brumder Mansion, WI (The spirits of the speakeasy crew who were all murdered when their basement speakeasy was closed down have found new jobs for themselves helping the owners of Brumder Mansion. They like to play little jokes on people who will react to teasing).

Ashley’s of Rockledge, IL (Two of the spirits who love this place like to tease and joke around with the living).


Sometimes dedicated employees/servants decide to continue working at their job location, not letting being dead stop them!

Lake Hotel, WY (The spirit of a head porter still appears as a solid person and carries guest’s baggage).

Jekyl Island Club Hotel, GA (The spirit of a bell hop still tries to serve the living).

Ashley’s of Rockledge, IL (The spirit of an older man is thought to be a long-time employee, who had worked there many years, and lived upstairs. He still doing what he can in spirit form).


Sometimes the spirits of killers are stuck in the place where they did their evil crimes.

Bobby Mackey’s Music World, KY (The spirit’s of the two men who decapitated the girlfriend are stuck in this structure with their murder victim).

Portland’s Shanghai Tunnels, OR (The spirits of the Crips who kidnapped people and kept them in cages until they could sell them are stuck in the very place where so many died from their abuse).

Ashley’s of Rockledge, IL (The spirit of Ethel’s killer is thought to be stuck in the place where he assaulted and murdered Ethel).


Children who die in outside accidents, sometimes decide to go inside the nearest structure, especially if they have an attachment to it.

Orpheum Theatre, TN (A twelve year old girl was hit by a car on the street just outside this theatre. Her spirit now resides inside).

Pilgrim Inn, RI (A spirit of a little girl fell off the second floor patio. She isn’t good at hiding, but feels right at home instead).

Ashley’s of Rockledge, IL (A boy and a girl died probably outside this structure and have moved right into Ashley’s).


Sometimes these spirit children want attention from the living as they look for their parent or just want some love.

Waverley Plantation House, MS (A young female spirit child would call for her mom and follow owner Mrs. Snow around).

Monteleone Hotel, LA (The spirit of a young boy who died of yellow fever visits guests at night looking for his parents).

Ashley’s of Rockledge, IL (Little spirits try to get the attention of staff).


Because the Ashley’s of Rockledge building is located so close to train tracks and the main highway, it is theorized that a boy and a girl could’ve died from auto accidents, or from falling onto the tracks and run over by a train.

One story tells the tale of a man being dragged down the stairs of Ashley’s in the 1940s, to the police car by officers, while the man’s autistic daughter watched and cried. It is said that she ran out into the road in her distress, and was killed by a car.



The spirits who reside and visit here prefer to show themselves and their feelings through visual, auditory, tactile means.

Startling Paranormal Activity

The living have felt icy hands on their shoulders and back.

Some staff who close the restaurant/sports bar have heard whispering.

Lights have a mind of their own.

TVs turn on and off by themselves.

The Spirit of an Older Man

Ashley’s of Rockledge has a spectral employee not on the payroll.

On his digital movie camera, a paranormal investigator caught an apparition of an older man with a towel over his arm who was standing by the inside bar.

A second investigator captured a picture of this entity, standing on the employee’s staircase.

It is thought that this apparition is the one who moves the chairs, objects, and straightens the pictures on the walls, still trying to be helpful.

EVP: Peek-A-Boo. This was recorded when two investigators were having a meal at one of the tables. It is thought that the spectral older man was joking around with these two.

Spirit Children

A spirit of a little girl likes to tug at the clothes of people going up and down the stairs, seeking attention.

She has been seen on the second floor.

A four year old spirit boy has made himself known in various ways.

Playful Spirit Ethel

The spirit of Ethel is always a front and center presence and likes to get some chuckles as a way to let the living know that she is present.

She is described as being playful at times. She likes to tease the staff in the ladies room.

One staff member was in the stall, when she noticed the shoes of the woman in the stall next to her.

The shoes and stockings resembled the 1930s style foot attire; boot-like shape with buttons and high heels.

When the staff member came out, the stall was suddenly empty.

One staff member was trying to come out of the bathroom, but a force was pushing the exit door closed, so the staff member couldn’t come out. Finally the door was allowed to open.

Ethel’s Personal Appearances

Sometimes a faint reflection of this entity can be seen in the bathroom mirror.

A picture was taken of her floating down the stairs


Spirit of Ethel tries to show others how her murder began, as she wants the truth to be known.

With a terrified scream: This alarming scream is heard in the middle of the night, coming from this building, as reported by the police that have a station right across the street.

With a choking: Some women/men have felt a slight choking sensation around their necks as they travel down the hall that leads to the bathroom, and on the stairs, going up to the second floor of tables.

Foul-tempered Male Spirit

He still has temper issues.

He throws things around the kitchen, breaks glasses, and is responsible for the poltergeist activity in the building.

Ethel’s Killer?

Most likely, this foul-tempered male spirit is Ethel’s killer.

He may be grounded here where he took her life, or is worried about being found out, as she is spilling the beans about her murder which infuriates him.

On the second staircase, used mostly by the staff, scarier incidents have happened.

Waitresses have been shoved and choked from behind, almost causing them to fall.

A sense of doom is felt on this staircase, in the storage area, and some of the corridors.

Personal Seen and Unseen Appearances of the Alleged Killer

This surly male spirit who didn’t pay for his crime of passion was photographed as he was walking through the front door.

His unseen presence can’t be missed as he radiates a negative essence, seething with hostility.

He still tries to exert his power by trying to terrorize the living, as he has lost his control of Ethel.


A boatload of both personal experiences and hard evidence points to the existence of spirits who reside or visit this restaurant.

Plenty of hard evidence has been caught on camera and digital video. Apparently, these spirits are not camera-shy. On his digital movie camera, a paranormal investigator caught the angry male mentioned above. Another paranormal investigator was the one who photographed Ethel’s presence coming down the stairs.

During their eight investigations led by Steve Kurtzke, he recorded evidence on the voice box in the bathroom, photos of the spirits themselves, including the little five year old girl on the second floor.

Another ghost hunter Chad Talley of Space Coast Paranormal Society had the experience of having the spirit of Ethel follow him around, and actually moved in with Chad and his wife. Ethel tried to scare his wife, until Chad told her to stop. Ethel left, never to return. He was the first one to discover that Ethel in spirit form was still a free-spirit who goes wherever she wants to go, now that the living know her story.

The disembodied voice of the spirit of a four year old boy has been caught on EVP’s. This little guy talked to an investigator through a Ouija Board.



rock ledgeA huge Yes Indeed!

All the spirits feel accepted, as the owners of Ashley’s of Rockledge proudly promote the fact that they have spirits, allowing people in to investigate, and sponsoring weekly events like “Have Dinner with a Ghost.”

Ethel has some peace knowing that the living know how she was murdered, and now is feeling freer to travel all over the restaurant and its warehouse, as well as to go visit the living, especially attractive young men.

The spectral employee still has his sense of humor and continues to try to help the owners and staff.

The angry spirit has calmed down since the cat is out of the bag and Ethel isn’t always there. He may have been delt with using a method of cleansing, forcing him to leave. He may have been given rules to follow if he wanted to stay.



1609 South US1
Rockledge, Florida 32955
(321) 636-6430

Ashley’s Of Rockledge can be found just 12 miles north of the city of Melbourne, and just south of Cocoa Beach, just off of U.S. Highway 1. It sits between the highway and the train tracks behind it. It’s easy to see from the highway, because of its distinctive, Tudor-style architecture.


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    • Landers and Christina LaFortune Rob Landers and Christina LaFortune, Florida Today
      Video: Is the spirit of Ethel Allen haunting Ashley’s restaurant?
      FLORIDA TODAY’s Christina LaFortune and Rob Landers explore the history and mystery behind Ashley’s restaurant in Rockledge as part of their Haunted Brevard project. Video by Rob Landers. Posted Oct. 27, 2015 Updated 11:32, Oct. @ne, 2018
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