Spring Villa in Opelika Haunted?

Real Estate Agent with Prudential Preferred Real Estate

It's that time of year. Pumpkins adorn neighborhood front porches, the air is getting colder, soon there will be masses of children parading the streets with bags searching for treats. That's right, Halloween! Of course, the scary movies on TV, haunted houses, and general evil folklore seem to arrive hand-in-hand with this holiday. Being a native of Opelika, I was born there in '75 and lived there until 10 years if age (I live in Auburn now), I grew up listening to Kathryn Tucker Windham's scary stories about our area. She wrote several books about a ghost named Jeffrey and penned a handful of stories about fictional ghosts haunting real Lee County landmarks. Everyone should check out her material.

One such landmark she wrote about was the legend of Spring Villa. I'll never forget the story of the hated slave-owner who lived there in the late 1800's and was killed by one of his slaves on the thirteenth step of the spiral staircase. Growing up in Opelika, I took several trips with either a church group or the Opelika Parks and Recreation, who now maintains Spring Villa, to this place to swim in the freezing-cold pool that is fed by an underground spring. (Thus the name, Spring Villa.) The City of Opelika holds picnics and events there year- round. Every Halloween the former plantation is transformed into a haunted house and they offer hayrides around the property.

According to local legend, a man named William Penn Yonge built the house for his family and owned many slaves who he treated horribly before being murdered by one of them on the thirteenth step inside. For many years, a red stain covered the supposed spot said to be where Yonge drew his final breath. Now, the steps have been refinished and the house remodeled but visitors are cautioned not to pause but to skip the step in question. If so, it has been said that one can hear or catch a glimpse of the doomed ghost of Mr. Yonge who floats past, forever imprisoned in the house he built. I get chills just thinking about it. As a kid, it was all matter-of-fact. I believed it to be true. But no one will confirm or deny the existence of any ghost or that Mr. Yonge was murdered there.

According to http://opelika.org/:

"Today, Spring Villa is 325-acre park that continues to attract large family and community gatherings and events. In addition to the historic house, Spring Villa Park contains a picnic shelter, spring-fed swimming pool, concession area, outdoor volleyball court, horseshoe pit, day camp compound, restrooms, walking trails and a well-maintained campground. The campground has electrical hook-ups, a dumping station and restrooms. The main house, shelter and campgrounds can be rented year-round through Opelika Parks and Recreation at 334-705-5560 for reunions, parties and other social functions. A full-time resident manager lives on the grounds."

I encourage any and all to visit Spring Villa Park especially this time of year. Who knows? You may see the ghost of William Yonge.



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Tara Renee

Hi Jay! I used to go to summer camps at Spring Villa from the Rec Center when I was a kid...just two years younger than you. Who knows we may have been there together at some point. hehe. Anywho, I'm doing NaNoWriMo this year and am doing a ghost story based on Spring Villa. I've been searching the net for more bits to the legent, sightings, photos, etc. Anyway, if you've got anything more on Spring Villa you can tell me about or have any photos please visit my website and let me know www.myspace.com/bamagalnuk

 Thanks!!! War Eagle!!

Nov 02, 2007 10:47 PM #1

My Great Grand Mother...Anne Yonge, Grand Daughter of William Penn Yonge...use to tell me stories about her grand father...very intresting history.

Oct 18, 2009 12:16 PM #2

hey when i haerd about this story i was fasinated! but i cant ever find any picturesof the inside

Dec 30, 2010 07:34 AM #3

i live here and well lets just say out of my 15 years of living here i have never seen the ghost but have heard meny legends so if you can let me kno of more facts bout this topic

Jan 02, 2011 04:53 PM #4

Great news!

The Alabama Paranormal Research Team has recently authored a book of over 20 haunted locations withing the Auburn/ Opelika (Lee County) area including The Springvilla Plantation which they themselves have investigated on many occasions and have documented actual scientific evidence of ghostly activity.

Check out their website to view information about their findings of this haunting and get more details about the book's release coming this October 2011.

Aug 13, 2011 02:46 PM #5
That's. Spooky
Oct 22, 2011 05:56 AM #6
Oct 22, 2011 05:57 AM #7

According to our local paper, the Opelika Observer, this mansion is currently in an alarming state of disrepair.  Please click the link below and let your voice be heard if you'd like to see the home stand for many years to come

Oct 27, 2011 01:24 PM #8
laurie ring

went to visit the old house and it does give off fibes. the house and its history is apart of our history and they need to fix it. The city and parks and rec. make money off the property so why can they not keep it up. It is a disgrace that this is happening to the place and now I can even see taking tours because they are useing it store the holloween decorations. True there is not enough people who are interested in this kind of stuff but what about the few that are? I myself would like to go in the house and look around. Please lets save this place.

Apr 22, 2012 08:18 AM #9

Mr. Yonge, according to historical facts, did not build the house himself. Mr. Horace King, a former slave and freed man of John Godwin (Mr. Penne Yonge's wife, Mary's Father) built the house and this is 1 of only about 20 of this architecture style in Alabama. Mr Horace King also built the insane asylum in Tiscaloosa.

It is a shame that the City owns it but will not maintain it. I would volunteer my time to the cleaning & re paiting of the house IF the CITY will not let Halloween Props be stored there any longer.

Sep 24, 2012 01:46 AM #10
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Jay Knorr

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