Pretty (Haunted) in Pink

 , By Ronald Howard Livingston
on Wednesday, October, 25 2017 07:28:00 am   , 752 words  
Categories: Uncategorized , 176505 views



In the minds of many, nothing makes a house more distinctive than a reputation for being haunted.  What could possibly make such a house stand out even more?  How about a pink paint job! Yep, a haunted pink house! Kind of scary, right? Or, how about alluring? Though pink and haunted may seem incongruous qualities, they are intriguingly shared in this recently-listed fascinating and notable abode.


A spectacular example of nineteenth century architectural Eclecticism (featuring elements of Chateauesque style), the mansion now popularly known as "The Pink Palace" at what is today numbered 1473 St. James Court in Louisville, Kentucky, was built beginning around September in 1891. It was not originally intended as a residence but was constructed as the St. James Court Casino, an exclusive gentlemen's club for residents of St. James and Belgravia Courts. Such use of the edifice was of rather short duration, as indicated by an announcement in the April 23, 1893, issue of The [Louisville] Courier-Journal that Mr. and Mrs. George Avery, "are now occupying their new residence, the Casino, out in St. James Court."


George Capwell Avery had married Kate Emma (Shindler) Jewett, in New York City on January 7, 1891. George was the son of Benjamin and Susan (Look) Avery. The father had come to Louisville in 1847 and set up a plow manufactory which after the Civil War became B.F. Avery and Sons, the largest plow factory in the world, at one point producing up to 600 iron plows a day and employing 250 men. By 1901 George Avery was the company president, but by then (1897 in fact), his St. James Court home was sold to new owners: George Hall Wilson and wife Ida Belle (Bailey) Wilson. George Wilson was the owner of the Wilson Ear Drum Company, which sold a device he had invented for improved hearing. City directories and newspaper articles indicate that the home was originally numbered 39 St. James Court, but at some point after the 1904 directory the address became 1473. In 1927 the residence was conveyed to Judge James Parker Gregory and wife Ruth (Miller) Gregory. Judge Gregory died in 1940. His widow and a daughter, Alice M., continued to reside there in the mansion until 1943. On May 28, 1948, the stately abode was sold to the Jefferson County Women's Christian Temperance Union, and they in turn held it until September of 1972.


Purportedly the WCTU was responsible for the home becoming The Pink Palace. The story goes that the organization had the unusual paint job done as some sort of a "message" concerning alleged improper use of the premises in its earliest years. The trouble with that claim however is that it is usually coupled with a wrong date of anywhere from 1910 to 1920, years when the property was not owned by the women's union. Another online rendition is that the new owners (the Wilsons) had the red brick three-story painted right after their purchase of it from the Averys, but then mistakenly avers that that date was 1910. (The Wilsons owned the home from 1897 to 1927.) Whatever the correct initial year of the new shade, it appears to have had no discouraging effect upon a shade of a different sort.


Ghost tales about the home maintain that it is haunted by a man known to taletellers simply as Avery or Mr. Avery (presumably George), usually described as a white-haired clean-shaven six-feet tall Southern gentleman in turn-of-the-twentieth-century attire, who appears as a crisis apparition, a specter who manifests to give warning whenever danger is imminent. Parts of the edifice in the 1970's and '80's were partitioned off as apartments. The most well-known story of Avery's appearance holds that a single woman named Jennie who as early as the 1960's occupied a basement apartment was taking a bath when she was startled to see the figure of Avery. She sprang from the tub just as a huge concrete block was shoved into it through a window above by two would-be burglars. Another incident in which Avery forewarned of danger was his appearance to other residents who were in the kitchen when faulty wiring resulted in a fire.


The Pink Palace is currently for sale. According to many recent posts online since about July 2017, the beautiful pink mansion of 5,231 square feet, containing six bedrooms, four bathrooms, and two kitchens can be yours. You'll need to check online listings for the price. There are sites online that give you lots of pictures for a virtual tour. (Not pictured is Avery, but that doesn't mean he doesn't come with the deal.)


(Photo: The Pink Palace as it appeared 4 June 2007, by Censusdata, Wikipedia.)



Comment from: Kim [Visitor]
KimGreat Story, well written and fascinating. Just in time for Halloween.
10/25/17 @ 21:59
Comment from: CTWhite [Visitor]
CTWhiteWhat is the authoritative source for the statement, made above, that the Casino was intended as "an exclusive gentlemen's club for residents of St. James and Belgravia Courts"? Who knows this? Does Wm. Slaughter or the Victoria Land Company tell us the intended purpose of the Casino? Is this just speculation?
04/26/18 @ 17:04

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