Every small town seems to have its local legend about some creepy place, something the local kids tell at sleep overs and the parents warn never to go near. Often it’s some ghost on some road or in some old building but the story is really mostly myth. Well Mudhouse mansion is one of my home town of Lancaster Ohio’s local legends and its story has been with the town since anyone alive can remember.
For generations the people of Lancaster have talked about an old Victorian era home on Mudhouse Road. The building had 3 floors and was made of red brick and with the kind of arched windows that just scream this place is haunted. Of course legend has it the house is haunted. One story says that the original owner kept slaves even though this was happening after the civil war. The owner being extremely cruel to the slaves eventually revolted killing the owner and/or his family. Another is that a family that bought the house shortly all went insane and committed suicide by hanging in the home. The third legend is that it’s the original home of the famous Bloody Mary. So needless to say there was a lot of myth that surrounded this place.
The real history of the property is a little blander. The house was built in some time in the 1870’s for Rugh family as a good sized estate who later sold it to the Hartman family in 1919. In 1930 the home was given in Henry Hartman’s will to his daughter Lulu Mast. It was around this time that the house became left empty. No real work was done on the home since and slowly it fell under disrepair. By the time anyone showed in interest in the home it became simply to expensive to bring it up to a livable condition. So for around 80 years the building just sat there collecting ghost stories.
But there was one story about the home that had a thread of truth to it. People claimed that if you tried to get to close to home that you would be arrested or at least harassed by either the police, guards, or the family. People claimed the family were strange for keeping and guarding a building they seemed to really have no use for. Well the house was torn in 2015 and David Mast told everyone what was up. The floors of the home weren’t strong and the family was really worried someone sneaking in would get seriously hurt. It wasn’t that the family was odd, it was just that it wasn’t safe. Unfortunately its forbidden status just made it even more alluring and things spiraled out of hand.
In 2009 some vandals though did sneak in and lite the top floor on fire. At this point the danger was just too much. The family would have torn the building down much sooner but tearing it down would have been unaffordable. As mentioned in 2015 the family was finally able to tear down the place known as Mudhouse Mansion. Though the public was a little sad to see it go many parents were just a little glad their kid wouldn’t be the one to get hurt trying to make it to the top. For the family I’m sure they were just happy to have the burden lifted no longer being the family guarding the spooky house.
But that the thing with small town legends what is really just a creepy looking old farm house slowly morphs into some forbidden place filled with ghosts and an awful backstory. It’s cool to tell this stories their part of the community but it’s important to take them with a grain of salt and learn the real history of a place. I’m pretty sure the Mast family wishes more would have.