OHIO STATEHOUSE

1 Capitol Square, Columbus, OH

(614) 752-9777

Status: Government Building; Haunted Historical Tours Available

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History

In February of 1814 the General Assembly of Ohio finally agreed on a Capitol City – after both Chillicothe and Zanesville had been tried and rejected – opposite Franklinton on the Scioto River. About a week later – after a heated debate – they decided to name the new capital Columbus.

Landowners in Franklinton donated 2 ten acre parcels of land and $50,000 ($714,000 in 2019 dollars) toward for structures and land improvements. One of the parcels was used to build the State Capitol buildings and the other to build the Ohio State Penitentiary (also haunted - see above) which was torn down in 1984.

On July 4, 1839 the cornerstone of Statehouse was laid.

Work on the foundation and lower levels began but came to a halt fairly quickly as date to officially declare Columbus as the official capital city approached. While the politicians debated the work stopped for a decade as the ground was filled in and the lands were used as pasture for livestock.

Work began again in May of 1848 and continued despite a few ups and downs including a cholera epidemic, a fire and a couple of nasty winters. It was finally completed – including the landscaping – in 1861.

By 1989 damage from use and age to both the Statehouse and the Senate House – formerly the Supreme Court Building – had become so severe many wanted to demolish them and rebuild.

Instead the State Government did a massive renovation.

 

Paranormal Activity

The Statehouse was mainly constructed by convict labor from the nearby State Penitentiary. There were no safety laws – or even really any rules – in the 19th century, especially for hardened criminals, so there were a number of fatalities during the construction.

The building was also used as a hospital during the Civil War where many wounded soldiers had their lives ended.

Apparitions of soldiers and convicts have been seen throughout the building. They are said to be responsible for the disembodied voices, electrical disturbances and unexplained smells reported in the building.

A paranormal investigation found an abandoned room at the end of a long hallway covered in graffiti from either the convict builders or wounded soldiers which is said to be the so-called center of the haunting and very active.

Thomas Bateman clerked for the Ohio Senate from 1919 to 1971 and seems to have continued in his job even after his death. At 5pm Bateman seems to leave the Senate chamber with flickering lights and reports of cold chills by witnesses.

The basement is nicknamed the crypt because there was once such a terrible smell coming up the stairs that people thought bodies were rotting down there. It was actually from the horse stables, rotten storage and escaping methane.

The ghost of no less than the 16th President; Abraham Lincoln – who was brought here after his assassination to lie in rest – is seen eternally walking in the rotunda.

President Lincoln’s ghost is also seen dancing the waltz with the daughter of former Governor Salmon Chase – Kate Chase – through the wall and into the Senate Chamber. Although there is no historical proof the two were long rumored to be lovers in life.

In the 1920’s a random office on the second floor was walled off but the window – which cannot be opened - to the office can still be seen from outside the building. Phantom footsteps have been heard for a century inside the office although getting into it is all but impossible.

In 1889 a little girl called Mary Saltzman fell out of a window in the cupola nearly 20 feet to the ground. Thankfully, she survived, but for many years people kept seeing the event repeat itself over and over again.