The House of Wills in Cleveland: Is It Haunted?

Ralph DiMatteo History

The House of Wills in Cleveland

We’re fairly certain that just about every city has its fair share of “haunted history," but through our research we discovered that the Greater Cleveland area, at least in our opinion, has some of the most unique locations with haunted histories to regale.

Unique not only because of the locations or structures, but the overall history behind the structures or locations themselves. This includes the House of Wills, which started as Gee & Wills in 1904 at 2323 Central Avenue.

Gee passed away in 1907, but the business continued to grow and was considered the largest black-owned funeral home in the state.

The growth prompted three moves in the business’s storied history, the first two to make way for public housing projects before settling on its current and final location in 1941 at 2491 E. 55th Street. It should be noted that a second location was opened at 14711 Harvard that is still in operation today.

That final move to what was a German/Jewish area of Cleveland at the time into the Cleveland Gesangverein Hall opened up the business to a variety of other opportunities to serve the community. The House of Wills not only continued to serve the needs of funeral services, but provided space for social club gatherings, civil rights meetings, and even musical performances. It was even rumored at one time to be a speakeasy during prohibition.

But we didn’t forget that we mentioned it also has a bit of a haunted history, so let’s take a quick look at that.

Rumored to be one of the most haunted sites in Cleveland, the stories and sightings seem to also be some of the most consistently identified and described over the years.

For instance, there are the stories of a whitish apparition that appears to stare down from one of the upstairs windows, seemingly keeping watch over the neighborhood.  

Sightings of a man in a suit in the casket room have also been consistently described over several years’ time as well.

But considering how many gatherings have taken place in this storied architectural jewel of Cleveland’s history, perhaps the most easy to understand are the many stories of seeing figures scurrying from room to room or hearing many different voices at one time, as if a social gathering is going on as it may have happened many years ago.

As far as we could gather in our research, there don't seem to be any stories of vengeful, angry or confrontational ghosts or apparitions. It almost seems like those that may still reside or are attached to a building are in a way proud of it and continue to want to showcase it to the residents and visitors coming for a tour to see for themselves.

Current owner Eric Freeman, who purchased the building in 2010, just didn’t want to see this piece of storied history torn down, and he continues to renovate it to make it alive again with a variety of activities to serve the community.

For more information about the House of Wills and its progress, or to arrange a tour for yourself, check them out at their Facebook page. Happy haunting!

Older Post Newer Post