Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Ghostly Duo of Sharkey's Fins Cafe

Vicker's Apartment Building seen to the right of the large white building

There's always a certain excitement when I get to add a new haunted location for Huntington!  This location is no exception, especially since it is one that HPIR got to investigate in a rare Sunday evening investigation late in November.

We were called in to this popular night spot after multiple witnesses had experienced different types of paranormal activity at the bar.  Reports range from a shadowy figure being seen darting about, an upstairs door that refused to stay shut on its own, and even poltergeist-like activity---one employee had straws thrown at her while working at the bar, and another had something smack him on the head while upstairs.

From talking to the clients that met us onsite, it does appear that there's a very good possibility, as they believe, that there are two separate entities who make their presence known.  One entity is believed to be almost a "pervy" sort of prankster, who enjoys giving the ladies' an occasional smack on the rear.  This prankster is believed to be connected with a tragic event that occurred in recent years, tied with the bar.  While "fresh," this entity is usually seen as kind of playful, and fairly harmless.

It is the black, shadowy entity that tends to give off a more negative vibe, and we believe that it may be more connected with the history of the building, although at this point, there is nothing obvious that is popping up, giving a clue as to WHO this entity might be.  However, from what we do know of the history, there are plenty of possibilities!

The building itself actually encompasses three different addresses:  410, 412, and 414 10th St.  Sharkey's currently occupies addresses 410 and 414, while 412 in the middle is a staircase that leads to an upstairs apartment complex, known as Vicker's Apartments.  The building, collectively known as the Vicker's Apartment Building, was built by a prominent WV architect, Levi Dean, who was known for many, many beautiful churches, hospitals, government buildings, schools, etc. around Huntington and throughout the state.  The first mention of the Vicker's Apartments available to us at this time is in the 1916 Polk City Directory.  412 is listed for the apartments, while 410 and 414 are listed as vacant.  However, it is possible that the building is slightly older...

The more visible J.W. Valentine building, which would later become the Day and Night Bank, sits just to the 4th Avenue side of the building.  It was constructed by architect Sidney Logan Day in 1908, with an addition in 1910, meaning that this apartment complex could have been built shortly thereafter.  Afterall, Levi Dean came to Huntington around 1904, which would put him at the right time period.

In any event, 412 would remain the Vicker's Apartments, even up through today, but the businesses that occupied the first floor were extremely varied.  By 1917, the left side of the building was occupied by a piano store, Steinway and Sons, with Thomas Newberne as the manager, while the other side was a ladies' clothing store, named Woman's Exchange.  By 1920, the New System Bakery was on the left, while the ladies' clothing store had a name change, and was now known as Eva E. Suiter Company.  In 1924, the bakery was replaced by Kearney-Weiler Sporting Goods.

In 1930, the sports store was still in operation, but the 414 address belonged to the Medical Arts Pharmacy and Supply, under the management of Harry Carnahan.  There is a gap in records until 1936, but we know by that year, the medical supply store had expanded, now occupying the entire bottom floor (410/414).

The medical supply store stayed at this location until 1945, when it was replaced by Dunfee Boot Shop, under Chester H. Dunfee.  Dunfee's had a 30 year run at this location, before the bottom level became vacant in 1974.  It stayed vacant until 1976, when the short-lived Elbow Room Club would spend two years, before finally becoming Verb's Tenth Inning Restaurant in 1978.

In 1983, the entire building, apartments included, was listed as vacant, with a brief period in 1987 when the apartments only were occupied.  This streak was broken in 1990 when Tom Cyrus and Rebecca Richardson opened up the Academy of Ballroom Dance.  In 1993, the building was once again vacant, but would return in 1994 as Sharkey's!

I would have never guessed that this little brick building would hold as much history as it does, and I've been methodically examining those who have lived in the apartments, and who owned/managed businesses downstairs for anyone who could be a candidate for the ghost!  Unfortunately (for our purposes), most lived normal, everyday lives and died normal, everyday deaths, so we're hoping when we get our audio, etc. fully analyzed, that there might contain some clue to lead us in the right direction.

Also unfortunately for us, it doesn't seem like the ghosts really wanted to come out to play while we were there.  Aside from a member seeing a shadowy form in front of her and some strange Ovilus hits, not many personal experiences were recorded.  We were told that the ideal time to witness the paranormal activity was when the bar was closed and when no one was supposed to be there...making our investigation time right on target.  But, it seems that the spirits of Sharkey's share a familiarity with those who know share their space on an everyday basis, making the only spirits available to the casual observer the ones in bottle form!

HPIR Investigation of Sharkey's (Check back for updates!)
List of Levi J. Dean projects

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