October 31, 2013
On October weekends in Gordonsville, volunteers helped stage a haunted trail and kids' haunted house to raise money for the town's Exchange Hotel Civil War Medical Museum.
But the rest of the year, it's not actors that you'll encounter at the Exchange Hotel.
Richard Omohundro originally built a tavern in 1859. After it burned down, he rebuilt a hotel in its place. The hotel first served as a stop when people were between trains. Then, as a Civil War hospital, it saw more than 70-thousand troops from the North and South seeking medical treatment. And as a federal Freedman's Bureau, it served as place where freed slaves learned to read and write after the war.
Now on the national list of Historic Registered Places, the exchange hotel has seen many souls come and go. A&E and the History Channel ranked the hotel as at the fifteenth most haunted in the United States in 1997.
Photojournalist Ruth Morton visited the hotel grounds for the haunted trail and a hotel candlelight tour, which was also part of October weekend's activities. To take a tour of the spirits of the Exchange Hotel, click on the video above.
The haunted trail, kids' haunted house, and candlelight tours all raised money for the museum. Historic Gordonsville Inc., the group who preserves, maintains, and restores the museum. The group wants to rebuild the "whistle walk," a once-enclosed path that connected the original kitchen building and only surviving outbuilding on the property, to the main house. The group wants to build the walkway by the spring. It also wants to finish repairing the roof of the train depot, also on the grounds, and turn it into a train museum.
"To take care of this building, and the property and the grounds and things, is all generated by events like this, and by our ticket sales for tours," said Angel May, vice-president and administrator of the museum.
If you'd like to investigate the paranormal activity at the Exchange Hotel it's open throughout the year. To visit the history, and possibly the spirits, of the museum, check out their website here.