Ashley House

More From Massachusetts

2 former Members of the Ashley Family still enjoy
pleasantries they once enjoyed while alive.

A former owner of a failed business likes to micro-manage the staff;
complete with consequences if work isn’t up to snuff.

He could also be a supporting presence.



The Backyard Bar & Grille has a casual American pub aura and atmosphere, and serves a variety of food, specializing in barbecue and beers on tap.They offer sports games on their TV monitors, entertainment like a magician, Trivia Tuesdays, host parties and is a dandy place to celebrate holidays.

Backyard and Grille Restaurant and Pub; original structure being the two-story Greek Revivalist Mansion; the Ashley House, can be described as having a mix and match of old and new architectural design, depending on the whim of the owners of the building, from 1829 through the 1990s.

The structure that is seen today has been built around the original Ashley House.The first floor is home to the bar, inside dining areas and a latticed patio dining area. The basement has a fireplace and is used as a banquet hall and storage area. Most of the second floor rooms are used for offices. There is a caretaker’s apartment on the second floor.



The original 1829, two-story Ashley House became the main manor mansion for the Charles Ashley family, who owned a sizable property estate called a homestead. The structure was built with a side hall and arched gable windows. The second floor was the place for family bedrooms, the first floor was the common family and guest rooms like the dining room and parlor, and the basement and cellar for recreation and storage, etc. The Ashley family enjoyed this family home for almost a hundred years until 1920, when the mansion and grounds were sold to people outside the Ashley family.

Because of the mansion’s location, it was perfect for commercial use. It stopped being a family home and started its transformation into a tavern and inn during the 1930s. They built onto the original structure, using the architecture that was popular then. Raunchy behavior was encouraged upstairs, that would’ve shocked the Ashley family. During these years, customers could have sensual relations with the prostitutes by going upstairs to the second floor rooms.

Around 1945, this structure was remodeled again into a family restaurant, called Matteoli’s Spaghetti House. In 1951, this structure was remodeled once again, and became Vincent’s Steak House. Vincent put his heart and soul into his restaurant and maintained very high standards for the food offered and for his staff’s behavior as well.

The next eatery was called The Piccadilly Pub. It offered a wide variety of food, from bar food like fish and chips to Lobster. They were open until December of 2015. In January of 2016, Backyard and Grille Restaurant and Pub opened up for business. Little did they know that they had some spirit residents and a fussy quality control manager in spectral form to “help” or “lead” them.



People who loved their homes while alive, sometimes like to spend their afterlife in their favorite structure in this world.

An elderly spirit couple, members of the Charles Ashley family tree still enjoy their traditional family home.

There are two reasons why the entity of Vincent, who ran his successful restaurant out of this structure, Vincent’s Steak House, is still an active part of the managerial staff, and having pointers for the owners as well.

People who love their business and work really hard to be a great success, by keeping high standards, sometimes want to continue to do so, not letting death get in the way.

Mr. Vincent put his heart and soul into Vincent’s Steak House, and practically lived at this restaurant. Concerning his employees and his business, he ran a tight ship, expecting things to be done his way and at his high standards. Vincent treated his employees fairly and appreciated those who did good work. He watched his employees carefully, to be sure things were done right.

If a spirit experiences what they think is an embarrassing failure that generates rage or guilt while alive in this world, they are determined to redeem themselves by helping or managing the living in this world. In the case of a business or institution, they sometimes try to make up for their failure by helping the living run their business, using what skills they have to make an impression on the living.

After selling his very successful restaurant, near the end of his life, Vincent missed the hard work and started a new restaurant in town against the advice of his business partner. This new effort failed, and Vincent lost his restaurant and a lot of money. This loss brought much embarrassment, rage and guilt to Mr. Vincent, as he should’ve listened to his long-time friend and partner, who had tried to talk Vincent out of this deal. Vincent eventually died, but still had this huge failure on his conscience. Uh Oh.



Elderly Spirit Couple – Described as being a gentle, benign pair.

They like to stay in the basement banquet room and cellar, especially sitting in front of the fireplace that is located there.

An employee of the restaurant went down to the basement on her break to have a smoke in the smoking area. Before she lit up her smoke, she happened to glance through the door that leads to the cellar.

She saw a mysterious mist rising from the floor in the cellar, collecting in the doorway. There was no physical explanation for this mist.

A psychic/medium by the name of Ceil Leionchuk went down to the basement, and saw two elderly people, a rather benign man and woman, sitting before a fireplace, dressed in “antique clothes.”

Ceil heard them talking about an upcoming wedding in their family; what needed to be done to prepare for it. Ceil felt that they were members of the Ashley family.

The Spirit of Mr. Vincent – His presence became active here after Mr. Vincent died.

A chef that had worked for Mr. Vincent, who was now working for the new owner, saw a detailed apparition of Mr. Vincent in the dining room, at about 5 in the morning, while preparing lunch.

Another employee saw a “white wisp” float through the dining room, while yet another employee felt a tug on her shirt while standing in the dining room.

A female bartender, who was opening and closing, would find things in different positions than how she specifically left them. One time, when she came into the kitchen, the big dish washer suddenly turned itself on, with the top open, which soaked her thoroughly before turning itself off.

When the restaurant was closed, and no one was downstairs, footsteps were heard constantly by the care-taking couple who lived in a second floor apartment.

Upstairs in the business offices, Vincent made his presence know as well. People working in the offices on the second floor would hear the door open & footsteps coming up the stairs. But no one was ever there. The adding machine in the upstairs office would on occasion turn itself on, and numbers would appear, which didn’t have meaning for the living. Papers and invoices would move from where they had been originally put.

The banquet manager would be using the Xerox machine and would become aware that an unseen presence was with her. It would walk by her and bump into her, like it was looking over her shoulder, studying what she was doing.

In the 1980s, the son of the then owner was working in an office that had been used by Vincent. He felt an unseen presence keeping him company which walked up behind him and touched his shoulder.

Whenever the staff or owners failed to live up to Mr. Vincent’s standards, Vincent would take the following action. In the foyer of the restaurant, where Mr. Vincent used to welcome his guests, many have been exposed to an awful smell in this 4 by 4 foot square area. The smell reminds people of rotten eggs, sweet tobacco, or sewage. This foul odor didn’t leave this area. Step out of the 4 by 4 foot area, and there was no smell, while stepping in this area, one smelled it again.


Apparently so! Despite the fact that Vincent’s stuff in the second floor storage room was disposed of, on advice of Ceil Leionchuk, Vincent is still present as of August 28th, 2014, keeping an eye on the living; periodically appearing in the dining room. When not pleased with how the current management is running things, he still causes a foul odor to materialize. He is finding some peace in his efforts in this world. Vincent is accepted as a member of the staff.

Because of all the paranormal experiences, the new owners called in psychic/medium Ceil Leionchuk to investigate who was haunting them and why. Ceil knew that it was Vincent when she visited the second floor storage room that still had a lot of stuff that belonged to Vincent. When Ceil walked into this room, her throat felt tight and her stomach hurt, indicating Vincent’s presence. She found out why he was micro-managing the staff and owners.



1506 Riverdale Street
West Springfield, MA 01089
(413) 363-1000

The restaurant and pub, Backyard Bar and Grille is located in the old Ashley House on West Springfield’s Riverdale Road (Road 5). Take the Massachusetts Turn Pike, and get off at exit 4, and proceed south for about a mile.


  • The Ghost Hunter’s Field Guide
    by Rich Newman
    Llewellyn Productions
  • Haunted Eateries of New England: Backyard Bar & Grille, West Springfield, Massachusetts

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

Haunts in Massachusetts