Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Lifestyle

August 21, 2009

Summit Mansion open for tours

The old stone walls of the Summit Mansion hold a lot of stories.

The tales pile up along with the passing years. Stories of the Underground Railroad, revolting slaves, bouts of insanity, a massacre — the legends add to the possibility of spirits in the house, if you’re inclined to believe such things. And some folks certainly do believe.

The home on Summit Street, also known as the “Hitchings House” or “Mount Providence,” was built in 1834 and can certainly be described as “creepy,” at least from the outside.

Regarding the house, what’s true and what’s not is subject to debate, just as it has been for many years now. But now, curious souls will get their first chance to see the mansion from the inside.

“It’s quite a place,” says Russ Krest, co-founder of Western New York Paranormal Research With Integrity.

Krest’s group has leased the home from its owner and opened it up to the public. The group is conducting daytime tours of the property and hosting overnight stays. WNYPRWI also plans on hosting a special event at the home each month — the group is preparing for a candlelight tour this Friday night.

The group has already hosted tours for dozens of people so far, Krest says. Many visitors have expressed interest in buying the property, until they realize how much money it would take to make the mansion livable again.

“It’d probably take $300,000 to $500,000,” Krest says, as we enter the room that he believes was once the ladies sitting quarters in the house.

There are a few candles to light the way and some merchandise and information in the foyer, but the house hasn’t been modified.

“We didn’t change anything,” Krest says. “We made it safe, cleaned it up.”

When asked about the rumors and legends that surround the house’s history, Krest is hesitant to confirm anything, but as in any good ghost story, murky details and vague theories abound.

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