Walker House

More From Wisconsin

The start of restoration activated two known spirits:

one is mild-mannered and one is an unpleasant handful!

 

DESCRIPTION

This handsome, imposing, long rectangular three story stone structure has lovely wood beams and woodwork on the inside. A central staircase takes the visitor up to the other two floors. The current owners have stabilized and restored the first and second floors, and have finished the rooms on the third floor.

The Walker House includes 42 rooms covering almost 16,000 square feet. Rooms are described on their website as being “comfy and cozy.” Thirty guests can stay at a time, enjoying this grand historic building. The building’s stones date back to the 1830s, The original mortar is still holding forth in parts of the House, and there are a few wavy windows over a hundred years old.

Besides offering fine dining and places for guests to stay, the Walker House also offers “several unique spaces for receptions, gatherings/special events, weddings, dining, or corporate meetings.”

The second floor is where two large dining rooms and the kitchen are located, a great place for fine dining and/or events, receptions and celebrations. The Walker Inn also has a thousand square foot event room (with a walking labyrinth); room for 100-120 people for meetings and receptions.

The owners have also done a fine job landscaping the outside surrounding area as well. There is a “peaceful back patio with rock garden, tables and chairs, flowers. The front patio has flower boxes, raised garden beds, benches, tables, chairs.”

Always looking for ways to improve the experiences of guests who stay here, all the rooms will have their own private bathroom when this project is finished. During December of 2020, they were adding bathrooms to rooms that don’t have one, probably in the closet area of each room. The private bathrooms for the other rooms are just steps away from existing in the rooms that don’t have private baths.

They made an announcement on their website during construction of these new bathrooms.
“To ensure that all lodgers have a private bathroom, we will be renting only Rooms 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, and 15 (Walker House West – Apartment-Style Unit).  Rooms 10 and 15 have private bathrooms ensuite.”

Note: “If you are a close group or family in need of more rooms and willing to share a bathroom, please contact us to make arrangements.” walkerhouse1@gmail.com.

The left side of the first floor is now a work room/storage area, as the well has been filled in and cemented over.

The first floor pub, located on the right side of the first floor is the oldest part of the inn. It is interesting, because of the two little side rooms that have been carved out of the bluff, by the miner who built this original stone house. These unique side rooms offer places to sit and enjoy a brew or other beverage.

The second floor is where two large dining rooms and the kitchen are located, a great place for fine dining and/or events, receptions and celebrations.

The Walker Inn has a thousand square foot event room (with a walking labyrinth); room for 100-120 people for meetings and receptions.

 

HISTORY

In the early 1800s, mining for minerals was profitable here, and the railroad made Mineral Point the end of the line. An upscale inn, which included a fine dining restaurant and pub was established in 1836, by building onto a pre-existing miner’s former stone house, which proved to be a financial success.

The right side of the first floor, which was the older stone house, became the inn’s pub, while the left side of the first floor was where the well was located, and also a place for storage. The kitchen was located between the right and left side of the first floor. It was moved to the second floor in the late 20th century, when a former owner dug into the cliff and set up the kitchen in the addition on the back of the house.

The second floor had two dining rooms and the third floor offered lovely guest rooms for the time.

This Inn served a variety of people throughout the years: Miners, gamblers, locals, tourists, patrons and employees’ of the railroad. The dining room has also been the setting for community meetings, events and other activities. The inn was in continuous use until 1957, when it closed its doors for seven years, standing vacant and forlorn.

However, a building that handsome was an irresistible fixer-upper opportunity, and sure enough, it was bought by Ted Landon, and his partners, who reclaimed it from the vandals, and spent 10 years stabilizing, repairing, and restoring it.

The Cornish Pub Inn was open again, ready for business, in 1974. After only four years, in 1978, Ted Landon and his partners sold this business to Dr. David Ruf, who hired a good manager, Walker Calvert to oversee and run the inn and pub. The Inn was then called, The Walker House.

One or two more owners came along. When the Grubers owned the building, the inn was known as The Walker-Gruber House. By 2002, the inn wasn’t open to the public, and was once again a grand fixer-upper opportunity. In 2003, historical enthusiasts were greatly concerned, when the Walker House had the dubious honor of being one of the most endangered properties in Wisconsin.

After some stabilizing work had been done on the property yet again, it was upgraded a little to be just one of the top 10 historical structures put on the endangered list, still in need of a lot of TLC!

Luckily, Joseph and Susan Dickinson came along and saw the possibilities of rehabilitating this still handsome structure, dripping with historical value. They bought it in November, 2005, and have been dedicated ever since to bringing the inn back to life and opening it as a restaurant, pub and inn.

The Cornish Pub was the first thing to open. The second floor was the next project. When they finished, there were two restored and renovated dining rooms and a kitchen for civilized dining and events. Their last project, which was almost done when Tom and I visited, was the restoration of the rooms for future guests on the third floor.

Since 2012, Dan and Kathy have taken up the torch of ownership: making the Walker House a more and more desirable destination for those looking for an excellent restaurant, a historic place to stay with modern amenities, beautiful landscaping in which to sit and relax, and a grand place to hold social events and meetings of all kinds.

 

HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS

At least two spirits have occupied the Walker House. Two known entities have been seen and heard since the first renovation and restoration  that started in 1964. One known spirit is benign, while the second known spirit is obnoxious. Other entities may be here as well; still enjoying the structure but know how to behave themselves.

A common stimulus for paranormal activity in a structure is renovation and restoration projects.

Geiser Grand, OR (During the restoration of this creaky fixer upper with no roof, spirits who loved this place were so excited that they appeared in front of workmen to encourage them).

Lemp Mansion, MO (During the restoration process of turning this flop boarding house back into its original splendid state, former spectral residents of the Lemp family kept a close eye on the work being done).

Waverly Plantation House, MS (As the Snow family worked to restore this fixer upper opportunity, members of the Young clan started to reside here as well, beginning with the Spirit of George Young who was the original owner)

Walker House, WI (Spirits that were attached to this structure became active, much to the surprise of the owners when the first renovation was underway).

(Sometimes an entity who built a special home or building will come back and keep an eye on the living, either on a visitation schedule or a permanent visitation).

Monmouth Plantation, MS (Spirit of General John Quitman became active when new owners bought his beloved plantation house and began to restore it).

Bullock Hotel, SD (Spirit of Seth Bullock is front and center in his hotel, being the spectral owner).

Stanley Hotel CO (Spirit of Mr. Stanley likes to keep his hand in managing and observing the staff in his hotel).

Walker House, WI (Spirit of the original stone house, a miner, still likes to putter around the older stone part of this structure; mainly the pub and side storage area).

Guests and employees that love a structure have been known to keep residing there in their favorite place to vacation or work.

Pfister Inn, WI (Former spectral guests have checked in and stay for free; enjoying their memories of this place).

El Rancho Hotel, NM (Former movie star guests in spirit form love to visit and stay; enjoying their memories of their film career).

Roosevelt Hotel, CA (Former guests in spirit form still enjoy this grand hotel for free, even going for a swim in the hotel pool).

Walker House, WI (Former guests in spirit form still enjoy this hotel, remembering all the fun they had here when this structure was new and very upscale indeed!).

People who die unpleasantly have been known to move into structures near where they met their end.
Bad executions and/or executions that the recipient doesn’t think was fair punishment can cause restless spirits in a variety of moods.

Whaley House, CA (Yankee Jim was the ringleader of a gang, who suffered a bad, slow hanging while his gang members just got prison time. He moved into the Whaley House that was built on the execution yard. He was angry and bitter for many years until a pretty young docent started to give tours).

The MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History, AR (A young Confederate soldier suffered a bad hanging, slowly choking to death at the hands of a Union judgement. He wouldn’t divulge the whereabouts of Confederate spies. He is a happy spirit with no hard feelings; just gets his chuckles by silly stunts played on the living).

Wyoming Frontier Prison at Rawlins, WY (Restless spirits in this museum are thought to be the condemned men strangled to death by way of the cruel Julien Gallows).

Walker House, WI (An unpleasant individual, William Cafe, had a hot temper and shot another man at the climax of an argument. William was found guilty of murder and sentenced to die by hanging. The sheriff had to have four men watching him the night before as William had threatened to kill the townspeople who had convicted him.  When it was time to go to the gallows located just outside the Walker House, he refused to leave the cell, so they had to carry him to the gallows in his coffin).

(Wearing a gray suit to be buried in, the story goes that William sat upon his coffin in the horse-drawn wagon, banging a funeral dirge with two beer bottles, as they took him to be hanged).

(Perhaps William lost his head in this hanging. It doesn’t say how the hanging went, but if the fall was too jarring, the executed person’s head just popped off, which I guess is better than not having enough of a fall to break the neck, and then wind up strangling to death. People who suffer a bad hanging have been known to become restless entities, and haunt the nearest building).

Spirits have the same personality that they had when alive; being dead doesn’t give them any new virtues or weaknesses.
If a person is cantankerous while alive, being dead doesn’t improve his or her personality.

The Pirate’s House, GA (Several mean, cantankerous spirits still hang around, with one who likes to glare at the restaurant’s cook in the kitchen).

The Comedy Store, CA (There is a nasty, negative, aggressive presence in the basement, left over from the basements torture and killing room set up for people who disagreed with the Mob or broke one of the rules).

The Shanghai Tunnels, OR (Spirits of Crimps with red eyes are stuck in this place where they held kidnapped people who they abused and killed by the treatment these victims received).

Walker House, WI (The spirit of William Cafe continued to be an arrogant bully, trying to scare the people who worked there, while perhaps complaining about loosing his head in the botched hanging).

 

MANIFESTATIONS

The paranormal activity that has been experienced is caused by spirit of William Cafe, the spirit of the miner, and other unknown spirits.

The Spirit of William Cafe

Does his best to annoy and tease the living for chuckles, though he hasn’t harmed anyone.

Appears to the living, wearing his wrinkled gray suit, both headless and with his head, in the dining rooms.

Also in the dining rooms, he is blamed for the poltergeist paranormal activity; (probably flying glasses, plates, silverware, moving chairs, and anything else this entity can move to get some chuckles at the expense of the living.)

He shuffles up and down the second floor, breathing heavily, making scary noises.

He appeared on the back porch, sitting on a bench without his head.

He turns door handles but doesn’t open the door.

Spirit of a Miner

This male entity is dressed in a miner’s attire of the 1800s.

He has been seen puttering around the pub area on the first floor which is the original stone house that he had built so long ago.

Other Spirits

Other entities may be here as well, remembering all their good times.

Staff and guests have heard disembodied voices, which are always a thrill and surprise.

Other Spirits

Other entities may be here as well.

Staff hear disembodied voices, which are always a thrill and surprise.

 

PARANORMAL FINDINGS

People have been experiencing both the paranormal activity of benign spirits and the mischievous antics of the colorful spirit of William Cafe ever since 1964. Who can forget this apparition’s appearing without a head; perhaps to make a point about his bad hanging experience.

Other auditory sounds suggest more than two spirits haunt this structure.

There has been no hard evidence of these hauntings shared on line for public viewing.

 

STILL HAUNTED?

Probably so!

Guests and staff have had personal experiences with spirits for years in this building. According to other websites, they still do experience paranormal activity. Even if the spirit of William Cafe was made to leave, there are the other spirits who still love this building. Because they have better manners, they can keep a low profile as to not upset the owners, but still enjoy their memories quietly.

The spirit of William Cafe would have a harder time exhibiting the manners he didn’t have while alive. He may have toned it down to doing minor mischief and stopped the scary appearances without his head.  Or someone along the way may have had the building blessed and exorcised; getting rid of this spectral obnoxious troublemaker.

According to owners Dan and Kathy who have owned the Walker House since March 6, 2012,  they have experienced no encounters with the paranormal. They claim that the ghosts have left the building. Perhaps they choose not to see it. However, having a spirit like William Cafe or other spirits around can really dampen the business that they are working so hard to be successful, so they may be doing their best to deny the existence of spirits.

 

LOCATION

1 Water Street
Mineral Point, WI 53565

The Walker House can be found in the southern part of town, right in front of the bluff where minerals were mined. It is also right across from where the old railroad station was located, on Commerce Street, near the corner of Darlington on Water Street.

SOURCES INCLUDE

  • Haunted Places: The National Directory,
    by Dennis William Hauk : 2002 Penguin Books
  • walkerhousemineralpoint.com
  • prairieghosts.com
  • archive.jsonline.com
  • A foreboding state; These Wisconsin sites can send shivers down your spine

 
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

Haunts in Wisconsin