ADAMS HOUSE

22 Van Buren Street, Deadwood, SD

(605) 548-3724

Status: Former Residence; Museum; Occasional Paranormal Investigations Permitted

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History

In 1892 construction began on this Queen Anne mansion by Harris Franklin so his family could live in the height of all the modern day conveniences (central heat, electricity, indoor plumbing etc). It cost between 8-10,000 dollars to build (262,000 – 327,000 in 2022 dollars).

In August of 1893 the family moved in.

Harris passed the house to his son for $1 in 1904 and he and his wife made changes to the house including the linoleum floor in the kitchen.

In 1920 WE Adams and his wife Alice bought the mansion. They converted the fireplaces to gas and modernized the first floor.

In 1925 tragedy struck the Adams family repeatedly. Alice, who been diagnosed with terminal cancer, went to visit their daughter in California and passed away suddenly. This was so traumatic for the daughter that she went into premature labor which ended not just her own life but also that of her baby daughter.

This left WE Adams as the only survivor of his family – his eldest daughter passed earlier due to disease – so he ensured his immortality by donating $35,000 (595,000 in 2022 dollars) to create the Deadwood Historical Museum – now called the Adams Museum.

WE was remarried to a 29 year old woman he met on the train; Mary. He and Mary continued to live in the mansion until WE died. Mary then closed up the mansion and left everything inside and so it remained for the next 50 years.

In 1987 Mary sold the mansion and all of it’s contents as it was in terrible shape with a leaky roof and water damage throughout.

The new owners – Bruce and Rebecca Crosswaits – ran a bed & breakfast from 1988 to 1992 to generate money for renovations. People got to sleep on the Adams’ sheets and eat breakfast from the Adams’ china.

The City of Deadwood, who had suddenly become cash flush due to gambling becoming legalized in 1989, bought the house. The city continued to run the bed & breakfast until 1995 when the failure of the heating system led to another closure and the doors were once again locked up.

From 1998 to 2000 more restorations were done to the house; the Crosswaits had done so much work to the house that it was stable enough to gain a historical label opening it up to government grants.

In 2000 the house was opened again, this time as a museum.

 

Paranormal Activity

The ghost of WE Adams is said to have haunted his house from the moment of his death. It is often said the reason Mary locked up the house, and left it as it had been for their marriage, is that she heard him prowling around on the second floor shortly after his death.

Even when she returned to Deadwood to visit her family she would stay in a hotel and leave the house to her husband.

The ghost of WE is still very active in the house. He manifests himself most often with the phantom smell of cigar smoke or moving objects.

He is also very fond of doing something paranormal to say hi to new tour guides. One time he began strenuously rocking the chair in Mary’s room while a guide was giving his first tour.

WE is, by all accounts, a friendly ghost who has simply chosen to stay in the house he so loved in life.