Instability has led to some hauntings.
Spirit children here died from other causes and stayed
where they found love – in this building.
Past trauma has caused an unhappy spirit child.
We were expecting to find a depressing, abandoned building, but instead Tom and I found that this former abandoned institution, was now transformed into two different uses. This expansive, Colonial style red brick building with a glorious bell tower in the middle is being used for not only a private residence of the owners, but also as a private office space, a venue for weddings, events, and business occasions, call Dominion House.
Dominion House is an events center and hotel operated by Julie and Trey Ayers. The old children’s dormitories have been converted into hotel rooms and the former cafeteria is now a grand ballroom.
The amount of renovation done to this building and its grounds is stunning. While some of the residential wings were torn down to make way for garden space, the west wing which is the main part of the old institution is in grand shape!
Looking at the tour video of the ballroom/reception area found on Dominion House’s web site, one sees glorious 1920s woodwork, high ceilings, large windows and classy paneling; truly a lovely place for a high-class reception! Touches of elegance, such as crystal chandeliers and a lovely skylight are a bonus!
The Mason Children’s Home’s indoor pool was filled in to transform the area into an indoor chapel for special events. Rich velvet drapes, tapestries, candelabras and soft lighting create the proper atmosphere for a romantic wedding ceremony.
Where some of the children’s dorms used to be, one can see glorious landscaping in the rather large front yard. Statues of children decorate the walkways through the flowerbeds, bushes, trees, grassy areas and by the lovely fountain.
The landscaped acreage behind the building is perfect for an outdoor wedding, with its well done gardens, using inlaid stones and flowerbeds with rocks, trees, featuring a ceremony area near a little river which flows through the property.
The neighbors must be thrilled that they no longer have such a spooky-looking neighbor, which must have drawn trespassers and undesirable people like druggies to their neighborhood, as abandoned buildings often do. Now that it is in private ownership, trespassers are not welcome and will probably be arrested even if they find a way in, past the high stylish fence and well-defended driveway.
In the early 1920s, it seems that a lot of Masonic families were destitute/or broken; making them not able to care for their children. There was no family foster care or welfare system available, so the Masons in Guthrie stepped up to the plate and build a truly glorious children’s home, as a place of refuge, warm meals, clothing, warm beds, a religious education and even an indoor swimming pool, with the added opportunity of being educated by the public schools.
For children who find themselves without parents, the world can be a frightening place. The Masons of Oklahoma made every effort to make life for the orphans and destitute children at the Masonic Children’s Home as normal as possible.
The storerooms at the Home were stocked with over fifty varieties of food and every article of clothing necessary. The children were also supplied with the “various notions necessary to life and clean bed linens.”
At Christmas, The Order of the Eastern Star provided the children with gifts. There were also trips to Belle Isle Park in Oklahoma City in the summer, with transportation provided by the India Shrine Masonic Temple.
Additionally, effort was made to prepare the children for adulthood. “A garden was established in 1932, which the boys tended to, along with the orchard. These provided for fresh fruits and vegetables.The surplus produce was canned by the girls for the winter. The girls also learned needlework and household management. Some of the children even received further education ranging from college courses to summer school.”
“To further vocational education at the Masons Children’s Home, the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Oklahoma appropriated $12,000 for the erection of a building to house a print shop. The older children who came to work in the Masonic Print Shop learned linotyping, press work, and binding. The shop provided most of the printed material for the Masonic Fraternity in Oklahoma, which in turn allowed the children to earn a wage.”
The number of children staying at the Masonic Children’s Home was at its lowest point in 1944, with just thirty children living there. A welfare system had been established in America and Oklahoma, allowing families to stay together with help from the government if finances was the problem. This trend of their being less children of Masons needing this care continued over the years, causing this organization to expand who could be eligible to stay at Masons Children’s Home.
Because they needed more children, it was decided that other non-Masonic kids could be included. “A resolution approved by the Grand Lodge of Oklahoma in 1957 allowed for children without any Masonic background to be admitted to the Home.”
By 1966, of the fifty children residing at the Masons Children’s Home, only six of the children were the children of Masons. Their over-all numbers of children continued to drop. By 1972, only twenty-one children were being cared for by the Masons Children’s Home. This prompted proposals that were discussed among the Masons in 1974 that would close Masons Children’s Home, and either buy a large house in Guthrie for the children or send them back to their sponsoring Lodges.
Because of their small numbers, the solution was to downsize by closing the dormitories, and moving all the children into the main Masons Children’s Home building.
Just fours years later, in 1978, the state of Oklahoma saw the advantages of having a foster care system where the children would be placed in “small family units; to give the children a more personal home life.”
The remaining Masons Children’s Home kids were transferred to small families and “the trust that operated the home was dissolved by court order. The $95,000 that remained in the trust was dispersed to other Masonic charities.”
Masons Children’s Home gave many children a new chance at life, during the years it was up and running. “It was well supported by the Mason organizations who supplied more than 100 children with everything they needed including love from the very early days.”
Vonia Robertson Gough, who came there as a child had a glowing testimony, which he published in a memory book published by the Oklahoma Masons in 1995. “That February day in 1930, when I arrived at the mansion and got to know my hundred and thirty or forty new brothers and sisters, my extended family was born. We all had plenty to eat, nice clothes and caring people to look after us.”
These kids had their own pool and a large gym as well. Pools are great fun for kids but also could lead to accidental death.
In 1982, as a chapter in Oklahoma Masonic relief closed, the whole property was sold to a developer with an ambitious plan to renovate the main building into apartments and use the other twenty-eight acres as a place to build townhomes. However, “the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.” (Of Mice and Men)
The developer must of had a financial blow up, because he was not able to renovate and build on the land, and the bank probably foreclosed on his loan. So, this grand building and land went back onto the real estate market; and sat, and sat for years. It eventually went from pristine, to a little funky, to being shabby to being a fixer-upper opportunity.
It never reached the stage of being creaky, because Julie and Trey Ayers saw its possibilities and were willing to spend the money and renovate and improve the property for their own private residence and for commercial use as well.
Today, the former Masonic Children’s Home stands as the Dominion House, an event center, hotel, and restaurant, that was rescued from its deplorable condition by a man and his family, and renovated to have a new purpose in the community.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
NEGATIVE emotions caused by unhappiness, dire circumstances, past mistreatment, trauma, and pain, can leave negative energy impressions that last for years after the original trauma.
Fort Pulaski, GA (Civil War POW’s were brutally treated for a time in retaliation for what happened to Union POW’s in Charleston, until calmer heads prevailed).
Mason Children’s Home Building, OK (Due to the traumatic experience of being taken away from family, and being raised in an institutional setting though equipped with a loving support system, a lot of negative energy still flows through the building).
Abuse and harsh treatment can result in restless spirits.
Lemp House, MO (The spirit of a Down syndrome boy is still in the attic where he spent his whole life hidden away in solitude).
Mason’s Children Home, OK (Unhappy children aren’t always cooperative which could’ve led to disciplinary actions way too harsh by caregivers who momentarily snapped. A spirit of a little girl suggests that she may have been abused here, but probably she is just reliving the abuse she suffered before coming to the Home).
(Urban legends abound: One yarn tells the sad tale of a cruel headmistress who beat to death a 6 year old, and probably 4 other boys and buried them in the basement. This sounds like a made-up story to go along with known bad stereo types of institutions; as being cruel places to live).
When children die from accident or disease, they may decide to stay where they felt loved.
Strawberry Hill Mansion, KS (In 1919, this mansion became The St. John the Baptist Children’s Home for children who were orphaned by the 1918 flu pandemic. Children felt loved and cared for. Some had died from illnesses but they continue to stay here as spirits).
Gilcrease House, OK (Spirits of Native American children who lived here as orphans but died of disease still are here).
Jenny Wade House in Gettysburg (Spirits of children still play at Jenny Wade’s House in Gettysburg where they found a loving respite from the cruel existence they had at the town’s orphanage).
Mason Children’s Home Building, OK (With the exception of the spirit girl mentioned above, all the other spirit children happily play here, and love to crash events. They probably died of a disease, or perhaps accidents in the swimming pool. It was reported by some that there were some graves in the backyard, seen there when the property was abandoned).
Tall buildings or structures with towers seem to inspire suicidal folks to kill themselves.
Ham House, IA (A boarder hung himself from the staircase tower leading up to the home’s capula.
Indiana University Memorial Union, IN (It’s high places have been the favorite place in the past for students to kill themselves, before mental health services were available).
Slater Hall, University of Iowa (A male student snapped under pressure and jumped out of the window that was in the ninth floor lounge to his death below).
Mason Children’s Home Building, OK ( Some report that there was a nurse working there who had emotional issues. Town legend says that she finally went over the edge and killed herself in the bell tower. Bell towers like bridges attract suicidal folks).
People who love taking care of others sometimes will stay as spirits when the spirits of their charges or family members decide to stay in this world.
Stranahan House, FL (The spirit Ivy Stranahan who lived a life in service to others, stays in this world not only to greet visitors, but to take care of her husband, Frank, her black sheep brother, Albert and her father Augustus Cromartie in the house they all loved).
Strawberry Hill Mansion, KS (A spirit of a nun still stays here to look after the spirit children).
Mason Children’s Home Building, OK (There may be a dedicated staff member or two still looking after the children).
Sometimes spirits assign themselves new duties.
USS Hornet Air and Space Museum, CA (Spirits of sailors have stepped up to the plate to help enforce the lights out rules for youth groups who stay here on board).
Lucky’s Tavern, Fl ( During Prohibition, a mobster who was shot dead right outside the front door has decided to move into the building and help manage the employees in his rough, old school ways).
Brumder Mansion, Wi (The spirits who were on Sam Pick’s crew to manage the Speakeasy that was located in the basement, have become the spectral security force for the Brumder; keeping out negative spirits and keeping an eye on the living who venture into the theatre; especially ghost hunters).
Mason Children’s Home Building, OK (A black shadow became the spectral protector when the building was abandoned; thought to be the nurse who killed herself here).
Apparitions appeared readily in this structure; both spirit adults and spirit children.
The apparition of a woman has been seen walking down the main hallway. Perhaps she is a dedicated caretaker.
A dark shadow has been seen in the bell tower, and as been known to hover around people who had broken in the building when it was abandoned.
When the building was abandoned, people report seeing apparitions appearing and disappearing in the rooms as the people peeked in the windows of the building.
Spirit of Unhappy Child
Several eye witnesses have seen a spirit of a little girl who appears and pleads for protection.
This unhappy little girl spirit perhaps was picked on or perhaps suffered some abuse from someone, or more likely was abused before she came to the Masons Children’s Home .
She never felt completely safe even in a loving environment.
A handful of event attendees have reported seeing and hearing unusual things.
Jeff Provine said some claim to have seen a little boy running around.
Others have reportedly heard children laughing.
Sounds of crying and screaming children in emotional pain have been heard, perhaps an impression of the negative feelings felt so long ago when first taken away from family and moved here.
Construction workers hired to renovate the building, reported hearing unexplained footsteps, the feeling of being watched and hearing strange noises and crying.
People who entered the structure when it was an empty, run-down and unloved structure, waiting for its new owner, experienced personal appearances of spirits, auditory manifestations and were escorted by a hovering black shadow.
Guests to the events held here have also experienced paranormal activity mentioned above under Manifestations section.
If ghost hunting groups and/or mediums have been allowed inside, they were private investigations whose results were not shared publicly. The owners may have wanted to know who ‘s still here, but don’t want the reputation of having spirit residents that could hurt the business.
Probably So! Happy little spirit children probably still play here, under the care of a spectral female care-taker. The black shadow person probably still acts like spectral security and the unhappy spirit child is probably still there. She needs to be helped to the white light.
There is the chance that the owners have had a medium come inside and help all the spirits to move on to the white light, but as long as the spirit children are reported to still be there, it may have not worked or was not done.
02 East College,
Guthrie, OK 73044
The Mason’s Guthrie Children’s Home (Dominion House) can be found 4 blocks east of HWY 77, between the cross streets of N. Oak and North Elm.
- How Curious: A Haunted Children’s Home?
- By CLAIRE DONNELLY • OCT 29, 2018
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr