Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Gist House, Wellsburg

The W.C. Gist House is an early 1800s farmhouse located on property now owned by Brooke County, and is incorporated into the Brooke Hills Park.  Built prior to 1822, most likely by the Hinkson Family of Brooke County, the home's most notable former resident is William Colver Gist.

Gist, born in 1883 to Samuel Gist and Anna Applegate Gist, served as the Agricultural Agent of Brooke County for over 30 years.  He tirelessly worked to bring electricity into the rural homesteads in the area, as well as serving as a role model and mentor for local 4-H groups.  Gist, who married Iris/Iras C. Tennant in 1912, lived in the home which sat on property then known as Happy Hills Farm.  Gist's father, Samuel, lived close by in a red house which is now used as the Brooke Hills Park Playhouse.

After W.C. Gist passed away in July of 1959 in an Ohio County convalescent home, the house and the land were willed to the county, and have been in constant operation by the county as a park since then.  The Gist Home, however, has served since 1986 as an annual haunted house attraction known as Brooke Hills Spooktacular.

Volunteers working to set up the annual event began to notice that there may be a REAL spook or two residing in the old farm house.  Among the legends and sightings include a little girl who is seen upstairs, and who may be the daughter of W.C. Gist, Mr. and Mrs. Gist themselves, a farm hand who likes to roam the entire building, and...an Indian seen in the basement.  Sightings of this menagerie of apparitions are said to be quite frequent, but increase during times of construction.

If you'd like to experience these hauntings for yourself, the Gist House now offers pay-to-play ghost hunts for groups each March through November. 

Gist House Website

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