history and ghosts
441 East Chester
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441 East Chester is now the home ofDCA/DCPR but let’s go back in time and see what was at this location.
According to the City Directory 1890 this location was the main house of the Brown Estate. Then in the late 1890’s the house had been turned into a boarding house for the facility of Memphis Conference Female College . Until around 1918 some workers from downtown called the location home.
Then in the 1920’s the property was sold to Mr. Griffin who had the property cleared. It was said many in Jackson were elated since the house and the out buildings (servant quarters and old kitchen) were the most haunted buildings in downtown. ( ghost story to follow)
In the early days the Umphlett and Griffin undertaking business was downtown there was a furniture store downstairs ,a workshop where they would build the coffins and Funeral Parlor upstairs. Mr Griffin bought Mr Umphlett out of the Funeral Parlor and move the business to Church and E. Chester
Mr. Griffin contracted to build one of the first buildings that was just a Funeral Home. In the south most of the Funeral Homes were in converted homes with the embalming parlor in the basement or “back room”. Mr Griffin drew the plans where the business would be on the main floor. On the main floor were viewing rooms, family room ,chapel and offices.The upstairs were the family quarters. Out back was the a large garage to hold of the companies vehicles and an attached state of the art embalming parlor. Construction was completed in 1930 and opened for business.
Later the Griffin family sold their businesses to a group of investors that included Mickey Granger. The upstairs was living quarters for some of the employees.
Then it sold in 1990 to SCI. In 2000 Seth Chandler was looking to relocate to downtown so he purchased the building for his business.
Ghosts of 441 East Chester
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The original home , servant quarters, stables, and out door kitchen were built in the 1830’s. The Brown family started with a 8 room home and by 1890 the house had been expanded to 15 rooms including 10 bedrooms and a indoor kitchen.
The sightings of unusual events were reported as early as 1861.
The stories were pasted down through the years of odd sounds and spooky lights.
The first story was of the beautiful little 6 year old , the pride and joy of her father, who had died while riding her new pony.
He had felt so much sorrow because it was his fault he had spooked the pony and the girl went flying hitting the ground .
The doctor was called but the little girl died. For weeks after the funeral he sat in her room so sad. He had his brother give the pony away to another child it was not the pony’s fault.
Soon the servants reported at the back of property where the little girl rode they could hear her laughter and the sound of the pony running.
The next sad event that happened in this home was the death of the grandmother. Who was found at the bottom of the grand staircase dead. Some said it was an accident others said she was pushed by her daughter in law. There had been no love lost between them. Well the grandmother loved the house so she was not ready to leave. It was said she went out of her way to move objects ,cause lights to flicker and weird sounds to be heard. Things that just terrified the family especial the daughter in law who was said to have gone mad because of them.
The family moved out and the house was turned into a boarding house in late 1890’s . The haunting did not stop the boarders would see images in the mirror in the parlor. Doors would slam upstairs when no one was there, singing could be heard at night. Some of the boarders moved out others just made the best of the situation.
When the boarding house closed and before Mr. Griffin purchase the house the ghosts and spirits had control of the property. The stories were wild and many a person would go by at night to spot a light or hear a sound.
Mr. Griffin was said to have told people
he tore down the house and outbuildings to build his Funeral Home and get the spirits to move on.
Soon after the Funeral opened he found that was not going to happen. The spirits of the past just got company. Some said in the embalming parlor they would be hear whispers or the sound of horses. One said they could smell cooking where the embalming parlor sat used to be the outdoor kitchen and behind that the stables.
Inside as more families would have services for their loved ones reports increased of odd sightings and sounds. Some said the reason Mr. Griffin had a massive train set up in the family quarters was because the spirit told him to do it. Seems there was a train engineer who once lived in the boarding house and had a train set in his room. Who knows ?
Wonder if the current occupants have experienced any odd sighting or sounds?