BAKER MANSION

(Baker Mansion History Museum)

3419 Oak Lane, Altoona, PA

(814) 942-3916

Status: Former Residence; Museum

Website

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By <a href="//commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pubdog" title="User:Pubdog">Pubdog</a> - <span class="int-own-work" lang="en">Own work</span>, Public Domain, Link


History

Built between 1844 and 1849 this mansion was the dream house of Elias Baker and very nearly led to his financial ruin.

In 1836 he and his cousin bought the nearby Alleghany Furnace for smelting iron. In 1844 he bought out his cousin’s share.

The house was built at a cost $15,000 ($500,000 in 2019 dollars) and with the falling price of iron very nearly bankrupted Baker.

It is built in the Greek Revival style with 6 pillars at the front.

He lived in the house for 15 years: passing away in 1864. His wife, Hettie, remained a widow – living in the house – until she died in 1900.

Their remaining son and daughter – the eldest son had died in 1852 in steamboat boiler explosion and the youngest daughter from diphtheria when she was only 2 – remained in the house after their mother passed. Neither of them married and they remained in the house until their deaths.

The daughter, Anna, was the last to go as she passed in 1914. After her death the mansion remained empty until 1922 when the Blair County Historical Society was able to lease the it.

In 1941 the Society was able to outright buy the mansion and moved their headquarters into it.

In 2001 they began a major restoration and restored the outside of the building to it’s original grandeur.

In 2015 – upon finishing the double parlor – they completed the restoration of the interior.

Today, the mansion functions both as a museum as well as the Historical Society’s head office.

 

Paranormal Activity

The Baker Mansion is considered one of the most paranormally active houses in America.

Anna Baker (see above) fell in love with one of her father’s workmen. Knowing her father would never approve she kept the relationship hidden.

Anna is said to have been a very beautiful woman.

Their affair was kept hidden until he proposed to her.

Filled with happiness Anna finally told her family. This being the 19th century her rich father absolutely forbid his daughter marrying below her station. Her father fired the man and chased him away.

Anna was heartbroken and swore to never marry, and she never did.

When her father died, she tracked the man down, but he had married someone else.

Anna’s behavior got stranger and stranger and she confined herself to the mansion with only her brother and staff for company. Maids would often find her alone in her room dancing to her music box in a white gown.

She died in 1914 unmarried and the last of her father’s line.

When the mansion was converted into a museum a wedding dress worn by another iron heiress – Elizabeth Bell – was placed in a glass case in the Bell room. Sealed away and untouchable the dress will occasionally twitch at the bottom as if a breath of air passes through it.

It has also been seen moving swaying so violently people fear the glass around it might shatter. What is truly chilling is these violent movements usually only occur on the nights of full moons and on Halloween.

Perhaps placing a wedding dress in Anna’s home rubs salts into her eternal wounds and mocks the destruction of her only dream.

Update: the wedding dress is no longer on display as it was suffering damage from light and air.

A sad and lost woman in a white gown is often seen looking out of the window of Anna’s bedroom when the house is empty of the living.

While inside the house the apparition of Anna is usually seen in the second floor bedrooms and the double parlor.

The ghost of a Civil War era soldier is seen in the basement. His apparition has been seen standing at the bottom of the basement stairs glaring up at anyone near the top of the stairs.

What is described as a dark presence is often seen and felt on the stairway to the second floor.

Anna’s father, Elias, is also seen and felt throughout the house still standing guard over his dream mansion.

Other Activity: light anomalies, disembodied voices, unexplained images in mirrors and feelings of being watched and not being alone.