Swenson House Museum

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A spirit makes her appearance as “a lady dressed in gray”…

Lights go on and off by themselves…



Wow! What a historic jewel!

The two story Swenson House Museum is a gorgeous, expansive, well-designed rectangular 1911 home that sits on a two acre city block. It is a lovely integration of the prairie architectural style and the Mission style added in 1928.

This home features Prairie style the “Broad overhangs and long Horizontal lines.” There is a large front porch with a balcony on the porch roof which can be reached through the double doors of the master bedroom. The original home had Cypress wood sidings, and had a shake roof. The column in the front were made of Cypress wood.


The additions and remodeling projects of that happened in 1928 added so much to the home, as the Swensons had great taste, making this home a complementary integration of Prairie and Mission architectural styles. Mission style elements include “quatrefoil window and a curved dormer over the front entrance.”

Entering through the front door, the visitor sees a grand staircase in the middle of the Foyer. At the top of the stairs, the landing and open hall walkway goes around the staircase, with the rooms located off this open hall. The wood spindles travel all around the second floor open hall walkway.

In 1928, the cypress sidings were replaced with buff brick veneer and the exterior cypress columns were replaced with brick columns. The shake roof was replaced with clay tile. The porch on the south side was enclosed, and a sunroom was added.

The common space on the first floor is used for social events paid for by private parties. The house can accommodate a sit-down dinner for 110 people. The outside garden area with the grape arbor also can be used for events during nice weather.



William Swenson was a mover and a shaker in the early days of Abilene. Swenson was a first generation Swedish -American. He was head of Citizens National Bank since its beginning in 1902 until the 1960s when he retired. He also headed up Abilene Light and Abilene Ice CO.

He was involved in building hotels, real estate projects and railroad deals. He and his family were founding members of Saint Paul’s Methodist Church.

In 1911, William and Shirley Swenson hired architect William Preston to design and build the Swenson forever home for the Swenson family on their 58 acres of land.

William and Shirley raise their 4 children here. In 1928, the Swenson family completed a major remodeling project. “They added brick veneer, a grape arbor and many Spanish Colonial architectural features.” William and Shirley lived out their lives in the Swenson forever home. William died in 1969, and Shirley died in 1974.

Their grown children held onto the house and its property, and tried to maintain it until 1986, when they handed over this historic, expensive to maintain treasure to The Abilene Preservation League, who eagerly took on the challenges of The marvelous Swenson Home.

The Abilene Preservation League believes in restoring the past historic buildings of Abilene. Their first restoration project was The Paramount Theatre, which changed the fate of The Grace Hotel, as the successful Paramount Theatre drew in people to downtown Abilene once again.

Civic leaders became enthusiastic proponents of saving the city’s historic treasures, and the beyond fixer upper status of the Grace Hotel didn’t matter. Creative minds transformed the Grace Hotel structure into the home for The Grace Cultural Center!

After stabilizing, restoring and renovating this historic treasure, the Abilene preservation League put this property to work, hosting social and civic events inside the home and on its outside property. They also began a fundraising program to sustain the maintenance needed on the Swenson home.

Some members of The Albilene Preservation League who totally fell in love with this place started a Swenson House Historical Society that grew to such a point that they were in a position to be responsible for the property.
On August 20th, The Abilene Preservation League handed over the deed to this home to the Swenson House Historical Society on the front porch, witnessed by Mayor Anthony Williams.




People who love their home while alive, sometimes like to spend their afterlife there.

The lady of the house who lived here for many years while alive and died there, may still be there.


Apparition of a female spirit; Perhaps the spirit of Shirley Swenson

She built this house with her husband William, and lived her until she died.

This spirit is a gentile and benign, very polite soul who doesn’t mind sharing her house with the living, probably because she was involved while alive with many activities herself, and probably enjoyed social events herself

Makes her appearance as “a lady dressed in gray.”

Her apparition is seen floating up and down the staircases.

Other Possible Activities:

Perhaps the doors open and close by themselves, the windows as well. Perhaps she rearranges items in the house to her liking.

Perhaps the lights go on and off by themselves.

Perhaps she enjoys a favorite room, a favorite chair, her garden, the social events that take place here, as many other spectral ladies of the house do.


Probably so!

This female spirit is probably still enjoying her forever home, and is guaranteed to not be bothered by ghost investigators though her presence is known and accepted.

The Swenson House has long been on the city’s haunted house tours.

No paranormal investigations have been allowed because neither The Abilene Preservation League or The Swenson House Historical Society are interested in this title as an official haunted house.

During the Halloween season, Swenson House hosts a family friendly haunted house event with scary dressed up folks in scary atmosphere put together by creative folks. Activities are planned on the house’s grounds as well.




Swenson House Museum and Event Venue
1726 Swenson St.,
Abilene, TX 79603


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Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

Haunts in Texas