A Castle Rock Halloween Story
With the approach of All Hallows’ Eve, there’s a chill in the Castle Rock air that just might make the hair on your neck tickle a bit. Especially if you happen to be in the neighborhood of one of the historic buildings that are rumored to have periodic spirit activity.
The stone building that rests on the hill at 312 Cantril Street is a reminder of the early days of our Town. Built in 1898, to replace a wooden school that burned down at the same site, it became the original Castle Rock High School. Though it is no longer the location for teenage learning, it does have a preschool and several businesses that also include a Cyber School for Douglas County School District.
Ashlyn Brownell, who works as the Attendant Secretary for the school has experienced her own ghostly encounters. “I was walking with a co-worker up the stairs when I felt something,” she recalled of the encounter. “’Did you just feel that?’ It was a chill and an energy that made the hair on my neck stand up.”
Her intuitive nature was triggered again when a similar encounter confirmed rumors of the hauntings others have experienced there. “One of the doors that backs to the hallway is kept closed and locked,” said Brownell. “Suddenly, the door started shaking like someone was trying to open it – but when we opened it, there was no one on the other side.”
At the Douglas County History Research Center in the Philip S. Miller Library, Archivist Shaun Boyd, has been following stories of the eerie glimpses of otherworldly activity at the Cantril School House. “The woman in the Cantril House, they have named ‘Matilda’…people have also noted seeing ghosts that linger on the main staircase and of hearing footsteps when no one is around.”
Traversing down the hill will bring you to another 19th Century building that now hosts one of the more popular eateries in Town. Constructed of rhyolite, the Old Stone Church Restaurant was formerly known as Castle Rock’s first Catholic Church, St. Francis of Assisi. Located at 210 3rd Street, the Church was there from 1888 until the late 1960s, eventually being remodeled in the late 70s to become a restaurant.
Before current customers downed beverages at the bar, beneath the floor, that portion of the restaurant was previously designated for another purpose. “Our bar area and the parking lot used to be a cemetery,” noted employee, Shelly McCool. “There have been a few people that work here that have had encounters.”
While employees regularly feel the presence of spirits, patrons have been seeing things as well. Some ghosts who are known to appear include: a woman lighting candles, people at the confessional and a little girl with an axe in her head.
Besides the food, the talk of hauntings has caught the interest of locals. The restaurant regularly gets calls from the younger culture looking for a ghostly experience. “We get a lot of phone calls from kids who want to take pictures and do a ghost hunt at the restaurant,” McCool said.
Another building with a history of recorded odd disturbances can be found at 3rd and Jerry Street. Known as Victoria’s house, it is now used by the Castle Rock Chamber of Commerce. Prior to that, its claim to past fame was becoming the residence of beautiful and well-known socialite, Victoria Anderson Christensen.
Originally purchased by the Anderson family in 1896, Victoria Anderson grew up in the house with her sister and parents until marrying and moving out to start her own family. It wasn’t too long after that both her parents passed away, and she moved back into the house with her young child – eventually remarrying Thorwald Christensen.
Victoria enjoyed several years of being quite active in Castle Rock society, before dying at the house of a stroke. Past and current employees of the Castle Rock Chamber of Commerce would argue that she has never really left the house.
“We are definitely haunted,” remarked Sonia Waugh, Visitors Center Coordinator at the chamber. Along with her, other employees have also heard unexpected bumps in the day and night; the reported encounters documented by Boyd.
“Employees said a door to one of the cabinets opened wide during a meeting,” Boyd said. “They also say they hear snoring in the evening and that sometimes it sounds like a swarm of angry bees are upstairs in the bathroom.”
While naysayers doubt the connection to souls of the past, easily discounting talk of spooky rumors, Boyd will continue steadfastly preserving the rich and sometimes unsettling history of the Town. “I’ll keep collecting the reports of nearby hauntings,” she smiled. “Castle Rock is full of interesting stories.”
For information on Castle Rock and Douglas County’s history visit:
Douglas County History Research Center
@ Philip S. Miller Library
100S. Wilcox Street
Castle Rock, CO 80104