Madison Has A Real Haunted House... Do you Believe?

Real Estate Agent with Century-21 Homestar

  Some people believe  in haunted houses and cemeteries and some don't. Is it just your imagination or is it true? Are there ghost and spirits with us or is it the wind and the ground settling below us? In Madison we have and large old building that has been around since 1859 Maybe it is haunted maybe its not.

 What I do know is I have been in this building( my fair share of times in the late 80's ) and it was quite the spooky place back then. When I was there it had high ceilings, paint flaking off the walls, big heavy doors that squeaked when you opened and shut them, and dark long hallways, and lots of strange sounds from other rooms...yes everything you need for a ghost to live in....

 For years people been saying that Ohio Cottage was haunted and that a lot of people died in that big old building. Is it true? Well I am sure that people have died there ..... some are even buried next door in the cemetery that once lived in the house.

 Well some of you may be wondering was I scared when I was there? Well yes I was ....But not for the reason you may think...Most of my visits there were for other reason in the late 80's But that is a whole other 1978-1992 Madison Township Office Building (AKA) can you say police station. And you thought zane was a good boy.....

                                       History of the Madison Township Facility

In 1847 a small frame building opened in Madison Township, Lake County, OH that became known as the Madison Seminary. It provided high school and beyond education to people of Lake and surrounding counties. Few written records survive this period.

By 1859 a brick structure had been added to the east side of the original structure. The original frame structure was converted to a boarding hall. At one time some 150 students were enrolled in the Seminary.

The Madison Seminary buildings would serve students from 1847 to July 1891.

By Nov 10, 1891, the name of the facility officially became the Madison Home, purchased and owned by the Ohio Women's Relief Corps, a women's group of the Grand Army of the Republic, GAR for short. This home was to render needful assistance to Army nurses and soldiers' mothers, wives and sisters for whom no provision has yet been made to care for the people uprooted from the spoils of America's Civil War. The Madison site provided the best of five possible sites that were offered.

The Women's Relief Corps (WRC) constructed the western most section of the township center on the site of the original wooden structure of the school in 1891. The name on the doorway arch is Ohio Cottage.

In 1904, WRC donated the building to the State of Ohio when the organization could no longer afford to maintain it. The Report to the Governor of the State of Ohio called the complex Home of the Ohio Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Their Wives, Mothers, Widows and Army Nurses.

The WRC Madison Home portion of the facility officially ceased operation June 30, 1962 when it was taken over by the Ohio Department of Mental Hygiene and Corrections. Widows living in the Home either would be returned to their relatives or would be placed in private nursing homes under Aid to the Aged. Several of the residents were much saddened at the verdict, since they had no living relatives to look after their requirements.

In the 1960's, the institution was called Opportunity Village.A one-story addition connecting the other buildings was constructed, although another may have been built in 1989. Opportunity Village housed some selected honor inmates from Ohio Women's Reformatory in Marysville. These inmates worked as staff at the facility, learning skills as nurse's aids and other occupations.

It also became an extension of Apple Creek State Hospital and housed retarded women, most of whom could care for themselves. A joint project with the Ohio Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation, it was hoped that the slow learners and prisoners could be rehabilitated to live productive lives in society.

Also for a few months in 1964 it served as an extension of Cleveland State Hospital for aged, senile women.

            Opportunity Village was closed in 1975 and the Lake County Commissioners purchased the building from the State of Ohio.

In the late 1970's Madison Township leased the facilities from the county to house its offices.

In 1981 Madison Township purchased the building from the county, with the understanding that the county would buy it back when Madison Township no longer had use for the facility. Later Madison Township became involved in designing a new Administration Complex to be located on Hubbard Road. Since the Lake County Commissioners had agreed to buy back the old facility, they did so, but had not decided it's fate.

The facility is on the National Historic Register and the county said it would do anything it could to save it.

In the 1980's, Lake County Administrator, Kenneth R Gautner admitted that demolition might be necessary since the facility, now two + buildings, does not meet required fire, electrical and plumbing codes.

Aside from not meeting codes, some township employees, who have worked in the history-rich facility, indicate that there may be a few ghosts.

A newspaper advertisement appeared in the 1993 newspapers - For Rent: Historic building on Middle Ridge Road . . . can be leased cheap, caution - building may be haunted.

In 1998 the county commissioners agreed, according to the Plain Dealer, to sell the property to Mr. John Cassell for $28,500. It was Mr. Cassell who gave this author and editor a tour of part of the facility. He also owns the adjacent Cass-Mill Nurseries. He uses part of the complex for an office, and has allowed the Madison Historical Society some temporary storage and office space. It is listed in the auditor's office in 2003 as owned by Ohio Cottage Inc., although no sale was noted.

As genealogists, we are most interested in the facility when it functioned as the Madison Home. This author's conjecture on the Madison Homeis that it was to Madison Township, Lake County, Ohio in a parallel manner as Berea Children's home in Berea, Ohio and the Soldiers' and Sailors Home in Sandusky serve other particular areas of the State of Ohio. All three facilities were established to facilitate caring for people whose lives were disrupted by the Civil War. The Ohio State Legislature was the governing force behind the establishment of these facilities.

Of greater interest for genealogical purposes are the people who came and went from the Madison Home in the time period 1891-1962 when the Women's Relief Corps operated the facility.


All the above information has been gleaned from newspaper articles from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Cleveland Press, The Madison Press, The News Report of Lake County, The News Herald of Lake County; Lake County Historical Society, Ohio Historical Society and Extracts of the Ohio State Legislature.

Madison Seminary 1847-1891, 44 Years

Madison Home 1891-1962, 71 Years

Opportunity Village 1962-1975, 13 Years

Madison Township Office Building 1978-1992, 14 Years

Respectfully submitted,
Jean Barnes
Cleveland District Trustee, Ohio Genealogical Society

More Info on Madison Ohio's Real Haunted House (The Star Beacon)

Northeast Ghost Hunters 

 Photo by: BILL WEST / Star Beacon.

Everyone have a safe and happy Halloween...............peace zane



This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
ActiveRain Community
Ohio Lake County Madison
Posts to Localism
Club Chaos
Addicted to Active Rain
Give Back
AMAZING Oddities at AcTiVeRaiN
local history
zanes blogs
madison ohio

Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Jim & Maria Hart
Brand Name Real Estate - Charleston, SC
Charleston, SC Real Estate

Hey, Zane. I am with you on the fact that there such things as ghost. I love all this great info. Thanks and Happy Halloween to you all, Jim

Oct 31, 2009 06:54 AM #1
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Well it looks haunted and guess what Zane... I never really thought you were a good boy.... maybe that's why I like you so much. HAHAHAHA

Oct 31, 2009 07:20 AM #2
Zane Coffin
Century-21 Homestar - Geneva, OH
(Geneva Ohio Real Estate Agent)

Thanks for stopping by Jim you have a great weekend yourself...

Ok Tammy....I'm sure you didn't......It really was a freaky place back then that's for sure.....peace zane





Oct 31, 2009 07:31 AM #3
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC


Wow the building has some history, is it haunted, we may never know for sure? ? ? ?

Good luck and success.

Lou Luwig

Oct 31, 2009 11:31 AM #4
Mary Douglas
United Country Ponderosa Realty, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado - Red Feather Lakes, CO
REALTOR, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado

Hi Zane, Tammy took the words right out of my mouth keyboard ! LOL!  I think the building is probably, well most definitely, maybe haunted. Truthfully, I would be far more frightened in the police station then I would be of a few ghosts! HAHA!

Very interesting history of an historic building in Madison, Zane!

Oct 31, 2009 01:51 PM #5
Mike Sparks
The House Company Galveston Texas - Galveston, TX
Galveston Island Real Estate


As a lover of architecture and history I love stories like this.  Look at how the building titles reflect the times... the building of Mental Hygiene and Correction to Opportunity Village.  What is the current use and state of the building?

Oct 31, 2009 03:09 PM #6
Zane Coffin
Century-21 Homestar - Geneva, OH
(Geneva Ohio Real Estate Agent)

Lou thanks for stopping by.....some say it is ...

Mary .....very funny .....thanks

Mike... I always loved this building it sold for $28,500 wish I could have bought it but it need a lot of fixing up and I mean a lot.....The new owner Mr. Cassell did a major renovation on it and it looks like new on the outside . I have yet to go my bring back bad memories from my They do give tours of the place now if you are ever in the area you should at least drive by it is a beautiful building.....last I knew the Historical Society was using part of it and part was used as office space for Mr Cassell's Nurseries.....If it is still used for that now I am unsure. thanks for stopping by Mike

Oct 31, 2009 03:31 PM #7

can we stay the night in this building cause my friends and i live bout thirty minutes from there and we want to see if it is in fact haunted

Jan 30, 2010 12:43 PM #8
Zane Coffin
Century-21 Homestar - Geneva, OH
(Geneva Ohio Real Estate Agent)

Ryan try contacting Jason @ maybe he can help you out ...thanks for stopping by......peace zane

Jan 31, 2010 05:29 AM #9

Yeah, interesting...back in 1991, I was a news writer for the Lake County News-Herald and covered several Madison Township trustees meetings in that building. I recall after one meeting, the trustees invited the press to tour the second floor where their offices were. We were gathered in, I believe, the clerk's office, where she was trying to demonstrate the wonders of a new laser printer the township had recently purchased...but couldn't get the modern marvel to turn on. Then she noticed it was unplugged and remarked, "that's strange - I never unplug it" she plugs it back in and punches the power button, but nothing lights up. We smug journalists exchange snarky glances, thinking typical government ineptitude, but at that moment, one of the women starts complaining about sudden coldness in the tiny room and we all seem to feel oddly uncomfortable and start edging toward the door. I guess Gauntner's mention of an unexplainable "pressure," as if being watched, kind of describes the sensation. Personally, I was happy the trustees moved to their new diggs shortly after that.

Feb 09, 2010 07:43 PM #11

i just went on a ghost hunt here about a month ago. and let me tell you.. ITS HAUNTED. we have evidence to back this up. theres a little girl that is trapped there and there is a doll in a closet there that NO ONE touches. we have her voice on a digital recorder. definately without a doubt a believer although i have to say personal experiences are way better.

Sep 22, 2010 07:59 AM #12

For anyone who is interested:  To schedule an investigation overnight or for a personal tour of the Madison Seminary, please call 440.415.3059.  

For Meghan .. We'd love to hear the little girl's voice.  If there was a way to get a copy of the recording, or if you could stop by for us to hear it, that would be great.  No one to this point has let us know that they captured EVP evidence of the little girl, although many persons have felt her presence and/or communicated with her.

To Roger:  Yep, the same equipment troubles still occur in the building, along with cameras that don't work, cell phones that lose battery power and then suddenly recover it, a phone system that calls random persons, etc.  Strange occurrences frequently happen and it's a " gosh ... I know that wasn't the way it was before"!!

Thank you and have a wonderful day to all!!

Oct 03, 2010 11:25 AM #13

This place was creepy! Was alot of fun but pretty scary. The tour was a waste of money but the overnight was worth it... It was awesome all in all though. For the people that like to be scared DO IT.

Oct 18, 2010 07:26 AM #14
amelia mobley

i wont to stay the night

Nov 20, 2011 01:19 AM #15
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

I'd love to go there and spend some time exploring it. All old houses have a history and a very special energy. The older the better. I hope, a new owner kept the older rustic style inside.

Aug 21, 2014 05:04 PM #16
dan white

is there ever a tour or anything like staying over night

Oct 20, 2015 09:20 AM #17
Brian page

Wow that’s crazy I’d love to have been around then

Jun 25, 2018 10:38 AM #18
Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Zane Coffin

(Geneva Ohio Real Estate Agent)
Ask me a question
Spam prevention