The Historic Farnsworth House & Inn

The Farnsworth House & Inn

Slurping down the last remnants of my chocolate ice-cream soda, I pondered what to do next. My boyfriend and I were leaving Mr G’s when we noticed the ghost walk place across the street all lit up like fireflies. Hmm I thought, that sounds like it would be fun, let’s check it out! I’ve never been on a ghost walk before, but have always wanted to try it. It had been raining a little bit that night, so we pulled up front of the Farnsworth House and my boyfriend dropped me off. I approached the gardened path to the front door of the ghost tour shop.

I was met by some very friendly faces. “I was wondering if you guy were still doing the ghost walk tonight? I’ve never been on one of these before.” The girl at the front desk was very friendly and easy-going. She said sure as long as it not raining in about fifteen minutes, then we couldn’t do the walk up to the Grove. My boyfriend at this time had already parked the truck and was coming in the door behind me. So we decided to give it a go.

With fifteen minutes to kill, we walked across the pathway near the open-air outdoor garden, and through the doors into Sweeney’s Tavern. The tavern was garnished with props from the movie Gettysburg, and old-time photos which decorated the walls. All of the servers, including the bartender were dressed in time-period clothing which gave a nice “back in time” historic feeling. Well about sixteen minutes later, we gathered our things and scrambled out the door to the sidewalk in front of the Farnsworth House where we were greeted by our tour guide for the evening.

Sweeny’s Tavern.

Our tour guide, I think his name was Sean, was dressed head to toe as a civil war soldier. Sean lead us toward the basement of the Farnsworth House and down the cellar stairs into the dark and muggy room. He welcomed us to take a seat anywhere we liked, so my boyfriend Justin and I took second row, and sat facing what appeared to be a coffin with a wax figure in it. The wooden casket was surrounded by candles in the front center of the cellar.

Farnsworth Cellar.

Our tour guide began to explain the sounds and noises that we may here during our visit in the basement, and not to be frightened when you hear them. We were also told about the ghosts who reside here in the cellar and roam the house at all hours of the night. One of the ghosts is a red-headed man with a beard who has been seen by guests and employees of the Farnsworth House. Sean told us about an employee who was working very early in the morning and saw a bearded man standing in the corner of the kitchen, who appeared to be dressed like a soldier. He then vanished, she was so terrified that she wound up leaving. This was just one of the many stories we were told about the ghosts of this house.

Child’s coffin in the cellar of the Farnsworth Inn.

My boyfriend, about eight others, and I sat in this dark gloomy cellar for about fifteen twenty minutes, while we heard spooky stories about the encounters that folks on the tour have had with the spirits of the house. During some point in the cellar, I felt a cold chill go up my left leg, which had me feeling a little creeped out, but other than that, nothing real spooky happened down there. I nudged Justin, he just smiled and shook his head, he doesn’t really believe in this sort of stuff.After our visit in the cellar was over with, we walked up the steps and around the right side of the old civil war home. You could notice the bullet holes on the sides of the house as we made our way around the corner. The group of us began to pile in the side door which leads upstairs to all of the Inn’s bedrooms. The hallway was narrow and decorated wall to wall with pictures, and fancy carpet that draped over the stairs going up. I looked through some of the rooms, they each had their own name, The Sara Black Room, Cathy Sweeney Room, The Eisenhower Room, etc, which all were said to be haunted.

Our guide led us up another flight of stairs to the attic. Everybody gathered on the set of wooden benches toward the back of the attic. This was one of the most haunted places in the house. We were told a story about a man and his wife that were staying in the Inn. At the time, the attic was used as a room for guests. He was awakened by noise coming from the attic, which sounded like a party was going on at around 2 two o’clock in the morning. Angry and bothered, the man told his wife he was gong upstairs to tell these people that they had to keep the noise down. When he banged on the door of the attic, he was greeted by an elderly lady. The gentleman quickly apologized after realizing that there was no party going on, that the lady was resting in her room with what appeared to be her husband lying in bed.

The next morning, the man and his wife gathered downstairs for breakfast. The man noticed the elderly woman whom he had spoken to the night before, eating breakfast by herself at one of the dinning tables. He approached and apologized for waking her and her husband up. She looked at him strangely and said, “my husband?” She then explained to the gentleman that her husband had been passed away for a few years now. Creepy isn’t it?

The far left window in the attic was actually a window used by sharpshooters to fire upon enemy soldiers. There was much bloodshed in that corner of the attic, as well as the bodies that were piled up in the corner of the attic, as there was nowhere else to put them. Bodies were also stored in the cellar of the house as well. I’ve never really been a big Civil War buff until recently. Living here in Gettysburg has given me a whole new perspective on the war.

Sharpshooter’s Window.

I wanted to know more about the Farnsworth House so I ventured back about a week later to the Sweeney Tavern to speak to some of the employees there, and get their stories on the haunting of the inn. I was greeted again by Gina, the bartender from the pervious time I was at the tavern. I introduced myself, and asked her if she had any ghostly encounters or if anyone else here has. Gina began telling me that she hasn’t really seen anything, but there were two instances when she heard someone calling her name. It had been a busy evening, and the tavern was packed. “I kept hearing someone call my name…Gina, Gina, Gina.” Not thinking twice about it, she thought that a customer or one f her co-workers was calling out for her. When she had asked one of the employees if the kitchen or someone was yelling her name, they said no.

 Her second encounter was a little while later on a day when the restaurant and tavern weren’t very busy. She heard the same voice calling out her name, “Gina Gina Gina.” Again, no one was there. This time it was more frightening though because there was not a soul in the whole tavern but her. Gina also told me of her co-worker, Austin, who saw a bearded man dressed in a Civil War soldier outfit standing in the corner of the kitchen. He thought it may be a customer and wanted to explain to him that the restaurant wasn’t open yet. When Austin approached this man, it was if he disappeared into thin air. Well I thought, that would be enough to make me run out the door the other way screaming. I began to share some of my ghost story encounters with Gina. See, I used to live in one of the most haunted houses in Carroll County, Maryland, which was also a hospital to Civil War soldiers as well as a drinking spot because of the spring located in the back of the house.

A little bit of history about the place, the historic Farnsworth House can be dated back to 1810 when it was built. The tavern and brick part of the building wasn’t built on till about 1833. The house got its name from General Elon John Farnsworth who led his troops into Pickett’s charge, where he met his fate. During the Battle of Gettysburg, the Farnsworth House was overtaken by sharpshooters and is said to have sheltered the gunman who’s flying bullet fatally shot and killed poor Miss Jennie Wade, the only civilian casuality in the three days of battle in Gettysburg. After the war, the Farnsworth House was used as a hospital.

If you dare to spend a night at one of the most haunted inn’s in America according to Travel Channel, you just may see for yourself, the many spirits that dwell the halls of the inn. The history of this place is so rich and full of stories, one must see for themselves, trust me, you won’t be disappointed. If you aren’t up for spending the night with the inn’s ghosts, you might feel a little safer checking out one of the house’s many ghost tours and walks. Some of the ghost tour packages include depicted ghost haunting with special props and effects to give the real feel of the ghost stories. You can also visit a makeshift hospital, the haunted orphanage which is now the National Soldier’s Museum, Devil’s Den, Sachs’ Covered Bridge, and many more haunted areas in Gettysburg. I have yet to check out some of the places they take you, but I think I will be back to see more, and hopefully next time, have a ghostly encounter myself!

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