A male spirit is an unpaid host and/or caretaker; not on the museum’s payroll.
Trail End State Historic Site:Kendrick Mansion, the only mansion in Wyoming with the Flemish Revival architecture, is a beautifully restored historic mansion museum that is a real step back into time. On Grinnel Street Dental website, I found a description that describes very well what can be seen inside this glorious home turned museum.
“Experience an exciting time of growth and change by viewing original artifacts from the house and family that reflect their daily life, entertainment, and interior design. Members of the Kendrick family participated in World War One, the Jazz Age, and the Great Depression and experienced the inventions of new technologies including vacuum cleaners, elevators, automobiles, and airplanes. ”
Trail End State Historic Site Mansion, also known as the Kendrick Mansion is a thirty-nine room, twelve bathroom, three storied historic family home that also has a basement apartment used by servants. Trail End sits a top its original four acre estate that overlooks the city of Sheridan on the edge of a quiet, residential area, filled with lovely homes. It has been restored to its former glory, which would please the Kendrick family, both living and in spirit form, who loved this place. Besides family artifacts, original family furnishings are also on display.
While a normal sized home in 1913 Wyoming, cost around $4,000 to construct, Trail End which has 13,738 sq. feet, cost $164,000 to build, because of its beautiful structure and inside “upgrades” and decor; inside and out. It truly showcased John Kendrick’s wealth; a labor of love for his family. Building materials came from many states, as well as, Honduras, Germany and Italy, and were shipped by rail and hauled up the hill to his estate by wagons.
The limestone, roofing tile, brick, granite, porcelain, German silver faucets, silk wall coverings, Tiffany-styled chandeliers, Golden Oak, and Honduran Mahogany woodwork, hand-carved wainscoting, window screens, stained glass and Italian and Vermont marble seen in the mansion are really special and well-crafted; bringing an elegance and beauty to the home.
Other bells and whistles include: electric lights, indoor plumbing, central heating, elevator, and built in vacuum. Domestic Staff rooms were on the third floor, off the grand ballroom; a space that is still rented out today. In the 1920s’, the groundsman and his wife, the cook, lived in the cooler rooms in the basement.
The only part of The Trail End Historic Site that was changed a bit from its historical decor and purpose was their Coach House. It was remodeled inside to be a community theatre that offers entertainment and plays. Currently, the Coach House is still being used as a theater, and is not open to the public for tours. You could go to a theatre production and see the inside that way. This theatre brings in some extra money in rent which contributes to the large upkeep fund needed to keep Trail Ind State Historic Site in fine form
While food and drinks are not allowed inside, the public is welcome to have a picnic on the outside grounds and enjoy the flowers and landscaping and perhaps see the town of Sheridan in the valley below.
The Kendrick Mansion and its four acre estate grounds were finished in 1913; built by a self-made, successful entrepreneur, John Kendrick for his family. He cherished his wife and children, and wanted to use some of his wealth to show his love for them. It also was a relaxing retreat for John, in a place of beauty, with his family, away from the hassles that inevitably pop up for entrepreneurs.
John Kendrick was born in Texas in 1857. John Kendrick’s parents and family taught him early about perseverance, hard work, and blessed him with a terrific outlook on life. John was suddenly orphaned at the age of nine, and was raised by relatives until he went out on his own at the age of fifteen. John had taken what he had learned to heart and was able to carry on; using his abilities, working hard to support himself.
In 1879 at the age of twenty-two, John was hired as a cowboy, taking cattle on the trail from Texas to Wyoming, traveling to Wyoming for the first time. John was probably highly regarded by his boss, and given more responsibility and better pay as his boss realized what a talented young man John was in reality; much more than an ordinary trail cowboy. John probably wound up staying in a job at one of his boss’s ranches. John learned the business of ranching, being a quick study, and probably proved to be a very reliable and smart employee. At some point, he started his own ranch in southeastern Wyoming, The OW Ranch.
In 1891, at the age of 34, John married his former boss’s daughter, eighteen year old Eula Wulfjen; probably with the blessings of his new father-in-law who had no doubt about the ability of John to care for his daughter and future family. John had done well, and was talented in the business of ranching.
The OW Ranch was the start of the Kendrick Cattle Company, a 210,000 acre “collection of cattle ranches in northern Wyoming and Southern Montana.” This enterprise lasted until 1968, when the ranches were individually sold.
John and Eula lived at John’s OW Ranch in southeastern Montana. While living here, their daughter, Rosa Maye was born in 1897, and their son, Manville, was born in 1900. The children were home-schooled by their mother; Eula, until they moved into the town of Sheridan, in 1908.
When they moved to Sheridan, John Kendrick decided to build a stately mansion on a beautiful four acre property that over-looked the city of Sheridan. Construction began on this gorgeous, thirty-nine room family home with all the bells and whistles in 1908, and was finished and move-in ready by 1913. it was called, “Trail End.” The successful architect of Billings that was hired to design and build this beautiful mansion was Glen Charles McAlister, who also had a large ranch.
The Kendrick family enjoyed living together full time in their new mansion for a year, as it had the mother-of all heating systems that could stand up against the cold Wyoming winters. However, Kendrick was elected Governor of Wyoming in 1914, so the family had to move out of their forever home and live in Cheyenne, with the hope that after John’s term as Governor of Wyoming was over, they could move back to their beloved Trail End.
However, two years later, John was elected to the United States Senate. To make the best of it, their beautiful mansion became a summer home for his family and himself. Manville went to boarding school, Phillips-Exeter Academy in New Hampshire for his high school experience, but came home in the summers to Kendrick Mansion. Rosa Maye probably went to school on the East Coast too. She married a military officer and moved far away from Trail End, Wyoming. Perhaps she was able to visit during the summer on occasion.
When John Kendrick died in 1933, Eula moved into Kendrick Mansion full time with her son; Manville, his wife; Diana, and their two boys; Hugh and John. Manville carried on in his father’s business, The Kendrick Cattle Company, managing his father’s many ranches. When Eula died in 1961, the other family members moved out, and left the mansion empty for seven years. It probably was in a declining state, in need of major restoration; an expensive undertaking for the Kendrick family who couldn’t afford to do it themselves. It was a sad day for the Kendricks, but a necessary one.
By 1968, Trail End was more than a fixer upper opportunity with no buyers in sight, and was scheduled to be torn down. However, The Sheridan County Historical Society bought it in the 11th hour and started the process of historic renewal; perhaps at the urging of a Kendrick family member.
The Sheridan County Historical Society spent a boatload of money; stabilizing and restoring the building; enough to open it up as a public community museum. The remaining members of the Kendrick family members were relieved and donated with enthusiasm family furnishings and memorabilia. Kendrick’s beloved family mansion, Trial End, was a lucky mansion treasure saved by a historical society, like many historical structures in the United States. The miracle is that its four acre lot remained intact, and wasn’t sold off in pieces.
In 1982, the ownership was transferred to the state of Wyoming, who finished the job of restoring the mansion, its grounds and its Coach House. it is managed by the Division of Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources.
Currently, the Coach House is being used as a theater, and is not open to the public for tours. You could go to a theatre production and see the inside that way.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
There are some possible explanations as to whom may still enjoying the mansion, and why. Children and youth who die unexpectedly sometimes chose to stay or visit a place in this world where they felt loved and safe
Hugh, one of the two sons of Manville, followed in his father’s footsteps and attended Phillips-Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. During his Senior year, Hugh hit his leg on the side of the pool at swim team practice, which caused a fatal health condition in Hugh. Hugh passed away unexpectedly from a pulmonary embolism at school.
People who love a place in this world and have connected to it, sometimes choose to visit or spend their after-life there, especially if some of their favorite possessions are on display. This happens more so when circumstances in their lives keep them away and they don’t get to spend as much time there while alive. Sometimes people enjoy their employment or service so much, that they continue, not letting being in spirit form get in the way. Groundskeeper George Simmerman passed away unexpectedly in his basement room in 1929 from heart failure, with his wife Anna by his side. Anna was the cook for the family.
Spirit of George Simmerman
It has been reported that a male apparition has been seen on the security cameras walking around the house. When police arrive to catch the trespasser, no one was ever found.
It has been reported that police dogs were afraid to go down the steps to the basement rooms when on a training exercise and/or searching out possible trespassers, perhaps sensing a spirit person.
It has been reported that the security personnel sometimes feel an unseen presence, keeping them company while they make their rounds.
Spirits of Visiting Kendrick Family
It has been reported that visitors have felt “cold spots” in places located in the mansion, that they believe are not caused by inadequate heating and ventilation systems, or outside sources.
Sensitives have felt an unseen presence walk with them as they tour the mansion. When I took the self-guided tour, I felt the tingly dizzy feeling I get when an unseen presence(s) is/are near. It was on the second floor.
It has been reported that people walking by have seen lights going on and off by themselves, perhaps in a way that rules out timers to some people. Perhaps the lights flicker in an unusual way.
It has been reported that rocking chairs have moved by themselves in front of visitors, and books have fallen out of the book case.
Perhaps so, though there isn’t any hard evidence caught that is willingly shared by the personnel.
Docents that I talked to while we visited Trail End, haven’t experienced anything, and doubt that Kendrick Mansion has spirits. The website declares that they don’t know one way or the other, and don’t want to disturb any spirits who peacefully reside there, not causing any trouble. They probably know who may be there with them, and don’t want the ghost hunter population descending on their historical house museum. They want to draw visitors who will enjoy this beautifully restored mansion and grounds. Peace between the living and the spirits is maintained this way.
“If Trail End is haunted – and we don’t claim that it is or isn’t – the ghosts must be shy and fairly content with their lot because they keep to themselves and cause no trouble. We prefer to think that Trail End is haunted by history, by ghosts from the past that come alive every time a visitor walks through the front door.”
Personal experiences have been reported, but not enough to definitely say that it has spirit people, but enough to open up the possibility. People may have experienced an entity or two, for the occurrences listed in the MANIFESTATION section are very common in places that definitely do have spirit people. Supportive, well-behaved spirits with hospitable manners are hard to experience.
A lot of occurrences of spirit activity seem to happen when this historic house museum is closed, when an entity or two perhaps are trying to help the security guard make his rounds. Or, they walk around their home, doing things they used to do, like turning on lights. They may be inadvertently picked up on security cameras. (This could be the spirit of employee of George Simmerman or any of the former residents.)
Docents and staff members have endured the unending questions from visitors, asking, “Does the mansion have ghosts?” The Trail End State Historic Site – Kendrick Mansion website has a page dedicated to this question; “Is Kendrick Mansion haunted?” They offer other non-paranormal explanations for what visitors and neighbors have experienced.
Cold spots that are felt could be from the mansion’s inadequate heating and ventilation systems.
Lights going on and off have been attributed to the efforts of the staff. “In order to dissuade the improperly curious, staff used light timers to simulate someone being in the building.”
Two claims made by visitors; the self-rocking chairs, and the books falling out of the bookshelves, have been questioned in this page because the staff has never experienced these occurrences.
It could very well be that the spirits who may reside here don’t want to get in the way of the staff, and don’t do anything in front of them to draw attention to themselves. They are thrilled that the living restored their home! They are enjoying their home or place of employment; perhaps visiting their old valuables in this world.
Visitors, however, are in a different category, as they may need to be watched, to help the staff. Visitors take a self-tour of the various floors. Experiences of visitors suggest that the spirit(s) may help to escort and/or silently supervise visitors; (cold spots and sensing unseen presences.
Perhaps a certain spirit can’t help but get some chuckles at the reactions of visitors when he or she rocks in the various rocking chairs or pulls books from shelves. (This sounds like behavior of a young adult; perhaps 17 year old Hugh; Manville’s son who suddenly died at boarding school.)
Their explanation for the dogs not wanting to go down the stairs to the basement area, was because dogs see a dark stairway as a black hole. This dog handler’s explanation may be true. What is also true is that animals can sense and see spirits and react to them. Many paranormal investigators bring a dog on investigations.
Wonder why the police dogs and their handlers were searching the mansion in the first place? I don’t quite believe their explanation that the dogs were on a training exercise but perhaps that is the truth. Or, could it be that an entity was indeed caught on the security camera?
The website doesn’t deny this report; they just wondered how a report of this incident wound up on a paranormal website. They state; “How would they know? In the past thirty-three years, no one has ever asked to see our surveillance tapes.” Paranormal experiences have a way of being known. Perhaps an ex-security guard or ex staff member shared his/her experiences. Go and visit this glorious house museum, admire all the grandness of the decor, the many interesting exhibits and see if you feel anything paranormal.
Visitors have reported being treated to the mild manifestations mentioned above. Neighbors have seen what they think are paranormal incidences.
Except for the supposed sighting of the male entity on the security camera, perhaps reported by a former security officer or staffer who no longer works there, there hasn’t been any hard evidence to support the personal experiences of visitors. Staff members give the official report when asked that they have never experienced anything paranormal.
400 Clarendon Avenue
Sheridan, Wyoming 82801
Kendrick Mansion is located in an older residential section, on a hill that overlooks historic downtown Sheridan. It is not easy to find without GPS. The following directions are taken off the official website listed above.
Take the Fifth Street exit off Interstate 90 (exit 23). Turn west towards Sheridan on Highway 336 (Fifth Street). Continuing west on Fifth Street, you will go down a hill, over the railroad tracks, past the Sheridan Inn, through two sets of stop lights, over the Goose Creek bridge, and up Fifth Street hill. Halfway up the hill, turn left on Clarendon Avenue. Trail End will be visible where the street dead ends.
- Trail End State Historic Site page: “Haunted by History”
- Sheridan Wyoming’s Trail End State Historic Site page at GrinnellStreetDental.com site
- Kendrick Mansion — Trail End page at HauntedPlaces.org
- Trail End Historic Site pamphlet (no digital copy available)
- “A New Look at the Old West” by Jim Robbins for the New York Times (originally published June 9, 2006)… see “Mile 215” entry.
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr