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Madison monsters: Meet our ghosts, ghouls, witches and werewolves

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Author Topic: Madison monsters: Meet our ghosts, ghouls, witches and werewolves  (Read 93 times)
Keira Kensington
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Posts: 4702

« on: December 04, 2014, 01:00:32 am »

 The waitress and the postman

Two of Madison's oldest ghosts haunt the American Exchange Bank building at 1 N. Pinckney St. The second-oldest building on the Capitol Square, after Grace Episcopal Church, it currently houses American Family Insurance's "Dream Bank" on the ground floor.

The Italian Renaissance Revival building was built of local sandstone for Park Savings Bank in 1871.

The ghosts, however, reportedly predate even the bank. The site has a long history, and was one of the first developed in the city. The American Hotel was built there in 1838. It hosted Madison's first meeting of the Wisconsin Territory legislature that same year. It was destroyed by fire in 1868.

The ghosts supposedly belong to a hotel waitress and her lover, a postal clerk. Over the decades passersby have sighted them embracing in the upper windows. It seems that in recent years they've kept their undying romance more private; Dream Bank personnel have nothing to report.

"I did find a bat in my office this morning when I came in," says Timothy Verhoff, of the law firm Chirafisi and Verhoff, another tenant. "Not a ghost, but it still kind of scared me."

Another old sandstone building nearby is today home to American Institute of Architects-Wisconsin/Wisconsin Architects Foundation, at 321 S. Hamilton St. It was built in Federal and Greek Revival styles in 1852 or 1853 by a family of Scottish immigrants. At one time it was owned by a member of Madison's Tenney family, known for its work in establishing Madison parks. In 1924 the building was sold to Varley Bond, vice president of the Manchester's department store that once stood on the Square.

Bond restored the interior, and apparently he's still at work: A strange figure has sometimes been seen in the windows. It has one arm -- just as Varley did in life. The foundation keeps a scrapbook of the building's history that mentions several encounters.

Some of us might fear such a guest, but not Brenda Taylor, deputy director of AIA-Wisconsin: "I think that, actually, we're haunted by a friendly ghost."
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