The historic Chilton House was built around 1857 by businessman Allen Smith, who had purchased the property a year earlier. It was originally built about 200 yards away from its current location (right about where the post office sits now) and was right in the hub of the St. Albans business district. It's a beautiful brick home, built in the Gothic Revival style and sporting seven steep gables. It wasn't until 1883, well after the Civil War, that the illustrious Chilton Family took ownership of the house. Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Wilson Chilton, wife of William Chilton, Sr. bought the home from Smith's daughter and son in law. It's noted that the house was expanded in 1883 when the Chilton's moved in, but you could hardly tell because the bricklayer was able to match up the original bricks so well!
Mary and William apparently needed the extra space because they had two daughters and five sons, all who became prominent citizens in St. Albans and throughout the Kanawha Valley. One son, Samuel Blackwell, was a physician who died of typhoid fever in the home in March, 1893. Another son, William E. Chilton, II would go on to be a prominent lawyer and politician, serving as a WV Senator for several years. The youngest son, John Savary, took over ownership of the home in 1915, but would go on to sell the property outside the family later on.
By the mid-1970's, the historic home was in danger of demolition as the 'Loop' was being built in St. Albans. Local citizens were able to get the process started to get the home listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and by the end of 1974, the process of moving the home to its current location was underway. It wouldn't become a permanent fixture until a cinder block foundation was finished in 1976, and would finally be formally added to the NRHP by 1977.
It would later become the Chilton House Restaurant, and is still to this day a restaurant. Angela Samples opened Angela's on the River in 2010 and its under this current ownership where a strange story unfolds. This story came to my attention during the 2019 St. Albans' History and Mystery Tour, in which a costumed interpreter, portraying a member of the Chilton family, told the history of the home. When asked about the 'ghosts' mentioned on the tour flyer, the interpreter mentioned that the restaurant was once home to a demon in a mirror!
Wait, what?!? A demoniacally possessed mirror? I had to know more. Luckily, a gentleman nearby was able to fill in some of the details with first-hand knowledge. Here's the story as it was told to me:
As part of the period furnishings in the restaurant, there was included a large, antique mirror. Being an antique mirror, its appearance was understandably a lil' spotty and grubby looking. However, no matter how much effort Angela or her staff put into trying to clean the mirror, it would never come clean. But the mirror wasn't just dusty and spotted with the normal gunk and grime acquired over the years...people would actually SEE something, something potentially evil, reflected in the mirror! It was decided that it would be in everyone's best interest if the mirror was just removed and disposed of as quickly as possible. So, it was taken out to the dumpster.
However, it was quickly brought to Angela's attention by someone familiar with what was going on that if that mirror happened to break, surely the demonic entity trapped therein would be set free and be unleashed into the community! So, the mirror was quickly dug out of the trash and gently sat nearby, apparently in full view of travelers driving down St. Albans' Loop. I say 'apparently in full view' because the mirror wasn't out of the trash for more than a few minutes when someone drove by and saw it being discarded. This person asked if they were offering it for free. The staff in charge of disposing the mirror replied that yes, it was in fact free...but there was a demon in it!
The person didn't stick around for clarification and pealed out without saying a word. The mirror would soon find a new home, however, when another driver stopped by shortly after and loaded it up.
It would be interesting to know whatever happened to that mirror and if the new owners experienced anything spooky associated with it. So, if you live in the St. Albans area and know what happened to the mirror...perhaps its hanging in YOUR dining room?...please let me know! I'd love to check it out and bring some closure to this story. And...if you're wanting to get rid of it, I'm guessing there's a guy out in Las Vegas by the name of Zak who'd be willing to give you a fair price!
Bonus Fright: I heard another rumor from a tour patron that there were still slave shackles visible in the basement, left over from the home's pre-Civil War days. I don't *think* this would be true, at least not at the modern location, because when the house was moved in the 1970's, it was put on a cinder block foundation. Any old basement/cellar/etc. would not have been included...right?