Cornerstone Mansion Bed & Breakfast

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2 spirits find peace here in their afterlife, while another has an axe to grind, especially against men~

 

DESCRIPTION

This nine bedroom, 10,200-square-foot Cornerstone Mansion (the historic Yost/Offutt Mansion) was designed by well-known Chicago architect, Henry Ives Cobb, who relied heavily on the French Chateauesque architectural style mixed with Late Gothic Revival. It was built by contractor, John H. Harte at a cost of a whopping 15,000 dollars for the Most/Offutt family;(relative value of $10 million today).

It is a beauty! This mansion has “massive and irregular silhouettes, steeply pitched roof, tall elaborately decorated chimneys and basket-handle arched windows.” It’s façade is “virtually symmetrical.” There is an “elaborate Tudor arched entryway and steeply pitched hip roof. The brick exterior is accented by an extensive use of limestone trim.”

There are some glorious treasures inside. The inner stained glass door created by Frank Lloyd Wright opens up to a glorious quarter-sawn oak entry that has inlaid tile floor and oversized doors tiger-striped oak wood, an original foyer chandelier and leaded glass windows at the main staircase landing. A Cuban Mahogany and a pink onyx fireplace holds forth in the library. There is black walnut dining room. The Cornerstone Mansion has its original bathroom tile, and gas/electric ornate fixtures and some wall sconces that a former owner O’Leary bought at an estate sale. It has a widow’s walk and a Lion’s Head fireplace.

The grand staircase leads the visitor up to the second and third floor nine bedrooms. One of these bedrooms shines with a Royal Doulton tile fireplace. The Charles Suite was once Charles Offut’s study. This is where he shot himself in the head due to a crippling, painful, terminal illness.

Though the mansion has nine bedrooms, Cornerstone Mansion website states: “Guests have a choice of seven guest rooms, each has a private bath, four are suites, and all are distinctively different in decor. All guest rooms include free Wi-Fi Internet access, telephones and televisions. Some rooms have fireplaces, sunporches, desks, and over-sized claw-foot tubs.”

When Tom and I came through Omaha on a road trip during July of 2018, Cornerstone Mansion Bed & Breakfast was full but we hope to make reservations to stay here next time we return to Omaha, Nebraska.

 

HISTORY

Mr. Charles Offutt, a former Kentuckian politician, and successful, well-known Omaha lawyer from a wealthy, well connected Kentucky family, and Miss Bertha Yost; a lovely, only daughter of well-to-do Casper and Anna Yost, were married on December 22, 1892 at the First Presbyterian Church in Omaha. The groom was 36 and the bride was 23. The bride’s parents, Casper and Anna Yost built a mansion for the newly weds in the new popular place for the rich ;the Gold Coast District. There was plenty of empty land around this mansion at first, because other mansions were not built here until the turn of the century.

Charles and Berth moved into 207 South 39th Street, which was just a block away from where there new mansion was being built. On October 30, 1893, their first child, Casper Yost Offutt came into the world. Their second son, Jarvis Jennes Offutt arrived almost a year later on Oct. 26, 1894. Their youngest child, Virginia, was born in October of 1896

The mansion took at least 2 years to build. By 1896, the whole Charles Offutt family had moved into their new mansion. their happiness here was short-lived. By 1898, Charles became very sick with a destructive illness and wound up shooting himself in the head; leaving his wife Bertha with 3 young children. But she had a lot of support from her parents, her life-long friends and her line-in, dedicated staff. Bertha’s parents moved in with her and the children, providing hands-on support.

Eight years later, in 1916, a carriage brick house that had an apartment with three bedrooms was built, by architect A. Shields on the property. A need for living space for a chauffeur was apparent.

Charles and Bertha’s children turned out very well indeed; Charles would of been proud. Both sons graduated from a public high school;Omaha Central High. Casper would attend Harvard Law School between 1915 and 1917. Jarvis would go to Lawrenceville Prep before graduating from Yale University. Jarvis excelled in the high hurdles on the track team. Jarvis became a member of Battery B of the Yale Batteries. Jarvis entered the first Officers Training Camp at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, after joining the U.S. Army Aviation Section of the Signal Corps.

At age 23, Jarvis became a U.S. Army Aviation Section of the Signal Corps. pilot, and was transferred to his combat assignment near the front lines in France. Jarvis was killed in the line of duty on August. 13, 1918, near Valheureuv, France. “He was the first Omaha airman to die during World War I, which led to the naming of Offutt Air Force Base in his honor.”

Bertha was in for more family sadness soon after this painful loss. In January 15, 1920, Bertha’s mother, Anna Marietta Jenness Yost died. Her father, Casper Yost, died 10 months later in 1920. In 1921, Bertha moved out because it was too quiet with the kids all up and out, and her parents and son gone to heaven. She began to rent out the family mansion, collecting rents until 1942, when she put the property back on the real estate market; asking for a mere 5,960 dollars. It apparently took 6 years to sell, probably because of World War 2. The 1948 the Register of Deeds office reported,“Bertha Yost Offutt sold to Mary M. O’Neil.”

Ten years later, Bertha died at 89 years of age. By 1964, The Offutt Mansion was converted into apartments, which happened in a lot of the mansions in this Gold Coast District. Mansions that couldn’t be made into apartments were torn down. In the place of two of these mansions, a Travel Inn was built, but soon became an eyesore because of the disintegration of the area. The once proud neighborhood became marginal at best. The Travel Inn went down hill and was torn down in 2007.

This could of led to a disintegration of the mansion because of the wear and tear caused by renters, but fortune smiled on this property and others in this neighborhood. Luckily, The Yost/Offutt Mansion didn’t remain an apartment rental for too long. It was rescued and renamed The Cornerstone Mansion. It was restored and renovated in 1976 by Nebraska and Iowa interior designers in cooperation with the Omaha Symphony Guild as a “Symphony Showcase” house project.

The Cornerstone Mansion became a bed and breakfast for thirty-six years total so far. Someone bought The Cornerstone Mansion in the mid ’80s’ and continued to run it as a bed and breakfast until 2000, when Mierau and O’Leary bought the property and continued on with the Bed and Breakfast. By 2013, Property values were on an uprise due to the number of families moving back into these surviving old historic homes. Charles and Bertha’s forever home was back on the real estate market. Mona Jones fell in love with this historic home and bought The Cornerstone Mansion and continues on with The Cornerstone Mansion Bed and Breakfast.

 

HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS

People who die too early before they get to enjoy the fruits of their labor due to sickness, murder or premature death, sometimes like to stay in the place that they were denied because of fatal circumstances.

Charles Offutt who was in poor health and suffering, chose death after only getting to live in the new mansion for a few years.

When young people die suddenly before their time, they sometimes like to go to the most loving place they knew or a place that gives them much comfort. Charles and Bertha’s second son, Jarvis Jennen Offut, an Army pilot in the Army Aviation Section of the Signal Corps was killed in the line of duty on August. 13, 1918 near Valheureuv, in France.

Sometimes when older people die, they choose to stay in their last retirement residence or home because they loved it there. An apparition of an elderly man still loves this place. He could be a former owner, tenant or more likely he is a family member of the original Host or Offutts clan; perhaps Casper Yost, who had lived here many years. and died there.

When a family member chooses to stay in the family home after death, other spirits from the family may choose to keep him or her company.

The young male spirt may very well be Jarvis. Jarvis and his grandpa Casper Yost were probably very close as this grandpa had stepped up to be plate to be the father of the children when Charles died. Perhaps the old man spirit is keeping the younger male spirit company. Perhaps other spirits in this family choose to visit as well, when the living are sleeping; being polite in nature.

Spirits of victims of murder can be upset, angry, and not able to leave the place where they died; yearning for justice or to tell their story of what happened to them. A woman known as Emily was said to have been killed by her husband; the chauffeur in the Carriage House during a heated argument, though no confirmation have been found that this happened.

 

MANIFESTATIONS

Known and Unknown Spirits

Foot Falls from unseen presences are heard around the mansion, especially in the early AM hours of the morning.

Spirit of an elderly gentleman

Could be Casper Yost who moved in with daughter Bertha and died in the house.

Or, this spirit could be one of the former tenants or owners of this mansion.

His apparition has been seen all over the mansion.

His favorite activity is to just sit in his favorite chair in the parlor enjoying the home.

Spirit of a young man – perhaps son Jarvis Offutt, who died in WW1.

This spirit likes to wander the halls and has been seen all over the mansion, still enjoying his home.

He may be the mischievous spirit who plays tricks to get some chuckles at the expense of the living, as young male spirits like to do.

Carriage House Apartment

Has an unpleasant heavy atmosphere.

Female apparition who was murdered carries a grudge against men and can be aggressive here.

This restless female spirit lets the living know that she is unhappy and restless. Not afraid to appear and make herself known.

The Anti-social Spirit

It could be a former spectral events planner or household manager, or former resident who frowns on strangers coming into the mansion.

Perhaps this spirit doesn’t approve of the mansion hosting events, or disapproves of the dishes, etc used.

Items are thrown or broken; being startling but quick in nature.

Possibly could be the angry female spirit who was killed in the Carriage House mentioned above.

In all likelihood, this murder victim may have worked in the mansion during social parties and is mad that life goes on despite her personal pain and anger.

This spirit has been known to show its displeasure in small ways during social events by throwing or breaking things; though he or she never tries to hurt anyone.

STILL HAUNTED?

Most probably so! So many personal experiences point to spirits who love the mansion too: Only two have been seen in the mansion, and one in the Carriage House.

One has made its presence known by physical acts during planned events, perhaps as a form of protest.

Other unknown spirits may like to quietly visit.

Plenty of personal experiences with all the above manifestations have been reported by owners, guests, visitors and patrons of the social events.

I couldn’t find any hard evidence that has been posted on line. Private investigations may have been done probably to find out who is sharing the house with the living.

 

LOCATION

140 North 39th Street,
Omaha, NE

Cornerstone Mansion is located on the corner of North 39th Street and Davenport St., right across from Joslyn Castle.

SOURCES INCLUDE

  • cornerstonemansion1894.com
  • www.hauntedplaces.org/
  • myomahaobsession.com
  • omaha.com
  • hauntedrooms.com
  • www.youtube.com

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

Haunts in Omaha Haunts in Nebraska