We're gearing up for our first investigation of 2017! This March, UDP heads to Massachusetts to check out the Houghton Mansion.
In 1890, A.C. Houghton, the first mayor of North Adams, built his third and most extravagant home at 172 Church Street. Mr. Houghton, his wife, Cordelia, and one daughter, Mary, moved in to the mansion in 1900. When his old age and declining health began taking a serious toll, he decided to purchase the families first car, a 1914 Pierce-Arrow touring vehicle thinking that relaxing rides in the countryside would put him and his family at ease.
John Widders, a servant and close family friend, learned to drive the vehicle. After a few quick lessons, Mr. Houghton asked John to take him, his daughter, Mary, and family friends Dr. Robert Hutton and Mrs. Sybil Hutton for a nice ride to Vermont. Just 30 minutes later, in an attempt to avoid a road work crew, Mr. Widders accidentally sent the car down a steep embankment after slipping on the soft dirt shoulder. Mary Houghton was the only passenger not thrown from the car. Mrs. Hutton was killed instantly and Mary suffered serious injuries and died shortly after at a nearby hospital.
The men were allowed to go home that same day and the wreck was indeed declared an accident. However, John Widders still could not forgive himself over this tragedy and shot himself in the barn basement. A,C, Houghton died of a broken heart just ten days after the crash that took his young daughter's life.
In 1926, Florence Houghton and her husband sold the family mansion to the Freemasons and is still an active Masonic lodge to this day.
The mansion is said to be haunted by A.C. Houghton, Mary Houghton and John Widders. There are reports of disembodied voices, shadow figures and a great feeling of sadness. There is also said to be the spirit of a little girl in the basement that has no known relation to the Houghton family.
We are very excited to kick off our 2017 investigative year with a bang and we are sure that Houghton Mansion is going to deliver!