This huge, spooky-looking place still has busy family spectral members.
Theodore H. Kleinschmidt immigrated to St. Louis from Prussia in 1843, with the rest of his family, to join his father in America, who died on the day they left Prussia. He was raised and educated in St. Louis, and learned the merchantile business in his step-father’s store.
At the beginning of the Civil War, Theodore enlisted in the Third Missouri Volunteers, winding up a Lieutenant in Berger’s Sharpshooters. After serving his time, He first traveled out West in 1862, and after several business ventures eventually wound up in Helena, Montana, where he proved to be a dynamo upstanding citizen with great business savy, doing a lot to develop Helena. He worked as the cashier for the First National Bank and was elected twice to be the mayor of Helena.
Theodore was known for his 12 inch long goatee. He married the love of his life, Mary M. Blattner who was from St. Louis in 1867. They had 6 children, one of whom died in childhood. Five children who survived were Theodore Jr., Arthur, Marie, Eugene and Erwin H.
As his family was growing, Theodore decided to build a dream mansion which reflected his success and wealth, and his position in the Helena community. In 1892, they moved into their gorgeous 19 room, 3 story gingerbread Victorian era, German architect influenced mansion, on a hilly lot, about five feet up from the street.
Kleinschmidt imported from Germany the cherry, oak and birch wood which he used to build his unique mansion. Inside, skilled artisans used their skills to make the elaberate fireplace mantels, the window frames, door frames, the wainscoting and the lovely turned balustrade which travels up the main staircase.
The third floor housed the 42 foot ballroom, and the 4 adjoining rooms located off the ballroom which made up the servants quarters.
All around the first floor one sees a beautifully designed, skillfully constructed covered spacias wooden porch, which during the summer served as an extra room for family activity, a typical feature found in many Victorian mansions. The ceiling of the porch is arched and the graceful curves between the posts are filled with a balustrade. One sees Asimilan balustrade under the porch railing as well.
This impressive mansion has the most elaborate roof line of any mansion found in Helena. It has many gables, fancy balconies and decorative windows which reminded Kleinschmidt of the old country. The Kleinschmidts loved their mansion and raised their family here. Their youngest son died in his childhood, probably from one of the childhood diseases which periodically went through neighborhoods.
In 1904, Mary Kleinschmidt died and her grieving husband held the funeral in the mansion.
Throughout the years, the mansion passed through family members and was eventually sold as a private residence to outside people. The current owner bought this mansion in the 1980s for a very reasonable price, knowing that it had a entity or two for company. In recent years, the mansion has been rented out to tenants. It must be really expensive to keep the upkeep of the mansion humming along, and extra income would help pay for it.
Tom and I went to Helena last summer (August 2007) and found it on Harrison St. and 6th. WOW! It really is impressive from the outside! It is on the list for national historic places, I’m glad to report. Late in the afternoon, it is really spooky and would make a great place to film a movie about the paranormal. The mansion itself looks to be in pretty good shape, though the backyard has huge overgrown bushes which hang over the stone wall. I would rethink the landscaping, but the people who live there probably like privacy. One can see also a huge gnarly tree which looks like it was one of the original trees planted there, and has a slightly creepy feel to it as well. We briefly peeked into the backyard via the driveway and saw quite a big grassy area and saw just how large this lot is!
This huge, 1892 spooky-looking Victorian mansion with a strong presence of German-decor has long had two unseen presences haunting the immense, intricate structure, since the 1950s. The original lady of the house, Mary Kleinschmidt and her young son, who died in childhood, have been heard and seen throughout the years.
The entity of Mary Kleinschmidt is still going about her business. Her foot steps are heard throughout the mansion, focussed on her tasks at hand, not bothered by the living who occupy her home. The apparition of her youngest son, is seen playing in the mansion’s bedrooms. He is described as being blond and wearing knickers, a style of pants worn by boys under 12 years old in the late 1800s.
One can assume so, though no investigations have been conducted. Stories told by people who have lived there offer circumstantial evidence. Whenever this mansion was on the market, real estate agents felt compelled to tell prospective buyers about the entities which come with the property.
The Kleinschmidt House can be found west of city center in an old money section of town, where the rich of yesterday built their mansions.
- Helena: Her History Homes Vol. 1
by Jean Baucus/Gayle Shanaham, 1976
- Haunted Places: The National Directory
by Dennis Williams Hauk, 2002
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr