National House Inn

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Restoration and the addition of antiques started paranormal activity.

A spirit isn’t shy about showing herself!

 

DESCRIPTION

This well-built, handsome, two story 1835 brick and wood beam, gabled building with sitting porches was constructed on a sandstone foundation. The structure was built in an “L plan,” with the main facade showing onto Parkview and the old Courthouse Square.

The National House Inn was listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) because it is still in its original L shape, and not because the interior was unchanged. If both the inside and outside had been changed to meet the needs of the owners through the eras, it wouldn’t have been accepted to be listed on NRHP. The David Finney Inn in Delaware is such a structure, though it is important and listed in the New Castle Historic District.

national-house-paranormalNRHP has this to say about the changes in the interior of The National House Inn: “Though some of the original floorboards are intact, a succession of owners and uses have left few features of interior trim or floor plan which date from the era of the hotel’s construction.”

While the outside of this building is very historic, the inside “has been refurbished to accommodate fourteen rooms with private baths.”

There is an 1870 brick addition wing that is a two story, six bay structure that connects with the original structure in one corner. It’s structure offers to tenants the two apartments.

The NRHP always gives marvelous details about the structure of places being listed.

The central front door is fancy indeed! “It has a transom and side panels around the door. On either side of the entrance are two ‘irregularly placed’ windows. There are five window bays built across the second floor.”

“All windows have plain stone lintels and slipsills. On the side, the gable facade of the main rectangle has three windows and a linteled door on the ground floor and four second story windows, with one smaller window located above under the eaves.”

“A gabled four bay extension, which defines the shorter leg of the L, continues the facade. This extension contains openings similar to the main facade.”

“The original L structure has been refurbished to accommodate fourteen rooms with private baths. The wing built in the 1870s contains two apartments.”

As of 2019, the National House Inn currently is a fabulous bed and breakfast inn establishment which has earned top recognition, offering beautiful accommodations, authentic historical surroundings, great food and restful respite, as well as other surprises.

The lovely sixteen bedrooms have been decorated in either the 19th century Victorian or Country style. Antiques are found throughout the inn. The dining room is decorated in 19th century country charm, including painted woodwork, antique oak dining tables and chairs.

Heating the downstairs entryway, is a majestic bean and brick open hearth fireplace. There are several parlor sitting rooms located upstairs for use by the guests.

 

HISTORY

Location, Location, Location! Being built in a prime spot in the city of Marshall gave this inn an economic versatility that served its owners well. Because of the The National House Inn’s prominent location, it enjoyed great success as a hotel, a business structure, luxury apartments, more permanent housing for locals, and once again as a hotel, in the form of a bed and breakfast inn.

Colonel Andrew Mann built this brick structure in 1835, one hundred and seventy years ago; just three years after the first settlement was established at Marshall. This structure opened as the Mann Hotel with an event; a formal ball on January 1, 1836. As Marshall was the County Seat, the first guests to the Mann Hotel were visitors to Marshall; such as people with county government business to do, who served stage coach travelers on their way to either Chicago or Detroit.

Before the County Courthouse was finally finished, eventually to be the future location of the County Circuit Court, the County Circuit Court and numerous county meetings were held temporarily at The National House Inn temporarily.

In 1837, Andrew Mann who was also a vestryman of Marshall’s Trinity Episcopal Church, leased his hotel to another “proprietor,” who ran the hotel and paid Mann for the privilege of doing so. A tavern was added making it one of three taverns in the city of Marshall. This brought in more funds from locals and visitors alike.

The Mann Hotel also made some money serving the needs of the people of Marshall. Like many big, fine buildings in other cities, historically, the hotel was a meeting place for political meetings, social events, and community gatherings. It changed names several times, being known locally as The Acker House and The Facey House, among others.

In 1844, the Michigan Central Railroad came through Marshall, and the hotel became a favorite place to stay for rail travelers. This really helped their hotel business, and they became dependent on these travelers to make a profit.

In the years before the Civil War, after the Dred Scott decision made the northern states no longer safe havens for escaped slaves, the owners put their abolitionist beliefs to work. The hotel became a stop in another kind of railroad that was illegal and risky with penalties if caught helping slave escape.

A hidden room was constructed in the basement, and was used as a place to hide run-away slaves traveling on the underground railroad, which took them to freedom in Canada.

In 1870, as business from the railroad was waning, Mrs. R.A. Facey, the owner at the time, decided to build a brick wing in order to bring in more steady funds from long term tenants who needed a place to stay for a job in town.

The Facey Hotel’s competition had also sprung up. There were seven other hotels in Marshall serving fewer out of town guests. The writing was on the wall; occupancy sunk to a level that wasn’t able to bring in enough money to keep going as a hotel. Times had changed and the railroad companies discovered that if they offered sleeper cars, they could bring in more money with this perk of convenience.

Sure enough, in 1879, this structure that had been a railroad hotel for forty-three years, was sold by Mrs. R.A. Facey to be used for a commercial purpose.

The new owner transformed the former hotel into a windmill and wagon factory which did well from 1880 through the 1890s’. However, that business too began to slow and by 1900, the structure once again was on the real estate market.

Around the turn of the century, in 1902, a Dr. Andrew Dean bought the building and transformed it into eight luxury apartments, calling them “Dean’s Flats.” Both the old structure and the new addition were now apartments.

During Prohibition, the owners found another way to serve the public and bring in more funds. The only drawback was that it wasn’t legal. The hidden room that once was used to hide escaped slaves was discovered and used as a place to sell and consume illegal booze, under the noses of Marshall authorities. They were never caught. No one expected to find a speakeasy in the same building as apartments.

As the years went by, the luxury apartments slowly slipped into low cost housing, which didn’t bring in enough money for maintenance. Some sources report it became a half-way house for people out of jail and trying to get on their feet. Getting funds from the state to do so helped the owners to keep the doors open; subsidizing their financial intake.

By 1976, these once luxury apartments and the building which housed them had become creaky fixer-upper opportunities; no longer livable, and needing badly to be renovated. It was put on the real estate market “as is.” The owners hoped that someone would buy it for its prime location.

Sure enough, in early 1976, four enthusiastic preservationists; the Minicks and the Kinneys, bought the property with plans to restore the building back to what it originally started out as; an inn! With the help of professionals and volunteers, they chemically cleaned the paint off the brick exterior, “opened bricked up windows, removed a concrete stoop along the east facade, and refurnished the interior.”

All of these extensive restoration and rehabilitation efforts were finished in less than a year; which is quite a feat! They reopened their hotel as The National House Inn on Thanksgiving of 1976. Two years later,The owners had their building listed on the NRHP on January 3rd, 1978.

 

HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS

People who once owned a business that they adored while alive, sometimes will come back and reside in their old building, becoming a helper and sometimes a supervisor as they relive their memories.

Eldridge Hotel, KS (The spirit of Colonel Eldridge still enjoys his hotel and keeps a fatherly eye on the staff and owners, stepping in to help).

Bullock Hotel, SD (The spirit of Sheriff Seth Bullock apparently has joined the managerial staff here as he steps in to sternly correct errant employees, keeps an eye on the gambling machines, help lost living children and does a bed check on all the guests who stay here).

Benson Hotel, OR (The spirit of Simon Benson is a spectral owner who is happy to cruise around the common areas, supervising. This spirit is generally in a good mood, except for his flash points: lazy employees and drunks).

The National House Inn, MI (Before 1878, this structure was a hotel, run by its proprietors. In the 1880s-1890s, it was a successful business. The active spirits that are here now may have been proprietors from past businesses who loved what they were doing here).

 

Spirits can consider a building to be their forever home, and may be possessive of their special space. They love their privacy and peace, and perhaps are not willing to share.

Buford House, AZ (The spirit of an elderly woman doesn’t like to share her room with the living and has even told them to get out of her room).

Saint James Hotel, NM (The spirit of an angry murdered gambler who was killed before he could enjoy his winnings has fiercely claimed a room).

William Clayton House Museum, AR (A male spirit became very upset at first with the many visitors who traipse through the house museum; interrupting his privacy).

The National House Inn, MI (Two spirits here have moved into different rooms in this inn. One male spirit is an art critic, and sometimes gets back at guests who sleep there. The other spirit wants her privacy and mildly insists on one thing being done).

 

Murder can cause the victims to haunt a favorite place in hopes of finding some peace to forget their untimely death.

The Kahler Grand Hotel, MN (The spirit of the Brach candy heiress, Helen Vorhees who was brutally killed, likes to still stay in her favorite hotel, remembering her great memories that she had while staying here).

Geiser Grand Hotel, OR (A spirit of a gambler who was shot because he won, still loves to stay here with his girlfriend who killed herself here after he died).

Brumder Mansion, WI (Three mob employees of the 1920s speakeasy were shot here when the speakeasy was being closed by the Chicago mob representatives. They still work in the Brumder and its basement theatre, as they loved their jobs here).

The National House Inn, MI (Either or both of these spirits may have met foul play during the stage coach guest era, train traveler guest era, speakeasy days, wagon factory era, deluxe apartments era or the low rent apartment era. Their last good memories were in this structure).

 

Nothing stirs up entities like renovation and restoration construction. Paranormal activity began after the restoration was finished.

Hartford Twain House, CT (The entire Twain household moved back into their forever home after it was restored to the way they liked it).

The Pittock Mansion Museum, OR (When this creaky fixer-upper opportunity was saved from the wrecking ball, and fully restored to its historical beauty when it was a retirement home for the wealthy Pittock couple; both spirits of Mr. and Mrs. Pittock moved back inside).

Brumder Mansion, WI (When a replica of a 1920s bar was assembled in the theatre, the spirits who were involved with the 1920s speakeasy that once was located here became active).

The National House Inn, MI (One spirit in particular may have decided that she loved the restoration so much that she wanted to moved back in! Another spirit ignores the no smoking policy, likes a particular room and has moved back inside. Both spirits are attached to this building).

 

Sometimes antiques may have spirits attached to them, and go with the antiques wherever the antiques wind up.

That Steak Joint building, IL (Antiques and oil portraits that once hung here, had spirits attached to them).

Curtis House Inn, CT (A portrait of a former owner was the resting place for his spirit and he became a hard-nosed supervisor of the living in charge of the cash register).

The Museum of Shadows, NE (This museum has on display items that have spirits attached to them).

The National House Inn, MI (Spirits may be attached to some of the antiques that were brought inside The National House Inn).

 

MANIFESTATIONS

At least two spirits have decided to move back into their former earthly home/business and let people know that they are there.

Female Spirit

A full, life-like apparition of a woman dressed in red appears before guests and staff.

She goes about her business, roaming around the halls upstairs and in the downstairs area.

Her apparition has been seen looking out the windows.

In the room that she resides in, she will shut the door herself if it is left open.

She doesn’t mind sharing her room with the living guests or staff; she is hospitable and kind.

Male Spirit

Resides in the Charles Dickey Room.

He basically tolerates having to share his room with guests, but sometimes it gets to be too much for him.

Guests have had odd, realistic nightmares while sleeping in this room.

If this male spirit doesn’t like a picture that has been hung on the wall, he will wait until guests have checked into the room.

He will knock it off the wall to try to scare them out if he doesn’t like them or wants the room to himself.

Guests sometimes smell cigar smoke in this room when no one living has been smoking near their room or outside. There is no logical explanation for this personal experience.

PARANORMAL FINDINGS

Since the structure was restored and renovated by the four preservationists, boatloads of personal experiences with these spirits have been reported by guests, staff and owners.

marshallThe paranormal investigators from Spirit Society, did an investigation of The National House Inn and came up with some interesting findings, which point to paranormal activity. Unfortunately, this group is no longer together.

I haven’t been able to find any shared hard evidence on line from any other paranormal investigation conducted here. The owners probably had a private investigation done to make sure that their grumpy one isn’t dangerous; just grumpy.

The owners don’t allow their employees to talk about the spirits, and don’t put their spirits to work by having ghost tours or paranormal classes in their inn. They haven’t allowed ghost hunters inside to investigate either because they don’t want to annoy or bother their spectral guests who don’t do any harm. Even the male spirit is only occasionally grumpy; and has never harmed anyone; just scared them.

They also don’t want to scare guests away from staying at The National House Inn. Because the spirits are basically benign, they can run their inn without having to tell guests that they are home to spirit people.

 

STILL HAUNTED?

Yes indeed! Though there hasn’t been any recent hard evidence caught, the boatloads of personal experiences that have been reported as well as one paranormal group’s hard evidence, strongly indicate that at least two spirits who have chosen to reside here.

They don’t appear to be upset with how they died, but are still restless and can’t let go of this world, especially now that their favorite place has been restored. They have their reasons, but try to find peace for their restlessness in a place where they had fine memories and perhaps made their livelihood here. They are making the best of it being spirit people.

LOCATION

102 S. Parkview
Marshall, Michigan 49068
(269) 781-7374

The National House Inn can be found near the corner of S. Parkview and the main drag Bus.94 hwy., overlooking the Fountain Circle in the middle of picturesque Marshall. The Inn is just west of Marshall’s business district. One follows the traffic circle around the fountain to arrive at the Inn.

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SOURCES INCLUDE

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_House_(Marshall,_Michigan)
  • https://frightfind.com/national-house-inn/
  • https://npgallery.nps.gov/AssetDetail/NRIS/78001493
  • https://www.nationalhouseinn.com/history
  • https://99wfmk.com/marshall-haunt-2020/
  • Historical Plaque, * NationalHouseInn.com
  • Haunted Places: THE NATIONAL DIRECTORY, by Dennis William Hauck, pg.229, Peguin Books, 2002.
  • spiritsociety.org/report.php?HauntID=62, was the Spirit Society report on The National House Inn, but it is no longer a viable link. I think this group disbanded.
  • Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

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