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The "Haunted House" at Stevens Golf Course

Posted by Jim Barnes 
Re: The "Haunted House" at Stevens Golf Course
August 01, 2012 07:39PM
in the late fifties and early sixties we always called it grannys i feel a bit of remorse for ever bothering those old ladies wealso thought the big house that sat back off the road at hampton and campwisdom was haunted but we were to afraid to get to close we went to the house on miramar in highland park with the yacht in the back yard but highland park was not the place to be fooling around kids driving through highland park in our old jalopies were not welcome
Re: The "Haunted House" at Stevens Golf Course
February 11, 2013 06:08PM
I look back on how we kids used to pester the two elderly ladies in that house, and I feel bad. We never did anything bad, like vandalism. We were always just would dare each other to walk up on the porch (we never made it). I then heard one dreary, rainy day that the house burned. I rode my Schwinn over there and sure enough, it was ashes and burnt timbers. It was still smoldering, but everyone had cleared out. I poked around in the ashes and found a bottle opener made of brass, shaped like a dog with its mouth open. I kept it. I still have it. Very sad.
Re: The "Haunted House" at Stevens Golf Course
February 12, 2013 04:45PM
So far as the house on Miramar is concerned I knew a man once who had been at a party there in early forties, I think. Probably a debutant party. Seems like a saw a Life Magazine spread on that palce once, during its heyday. Must have been a bound copy in a library,

But the Miramar place and so on have been discussed on this message board before.

[dallashistory.org]
Re: The "Haunted House" at Stevens Golf Course
February 13, 2013 01:10PM
I've been following this topic about a haunted house near Steven's Park golf course and I simply can't place where it was. In the summers I played a lot in that area and waded in the creek looking for golf balls(that was a no-no back then). I remember the big stone enclosed picnic area that was built by the CCC on Plymouth road I walked that creek(Coomb's Creek) from Hampton eastward to Sylvan and can't remember a "Haunted House". Was it west of Hampton Rd.? This was in the early 50s.time frame. Can anyone here shake the cobwebs from my aging brain? Jim Addendum: OK, I read Jim Barnes post near the beginning of this thread as he mentioned various streets, but I still can't picture that house. It may not have been visible from the golf course. There were a lot of nice big grandiose homes south of the golf course...those I remember. I don't recall anybody at Sunset or Greiner talking about a "haunted house", but then again there are a lot of things that have faded from memory.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/13/2013 01:22PM by jgoodman.
Re: The "Haunted House" at Stevens Golf Course
February 13, 2013 02:30PM
It has been a very long time since I have driven around where the house use to be but if I remember right if you were driving North on Plymouth Rd. (next to the Golf Course) and after you crossed Colorado St. it was on the Right somewhere up towards Fort Worth Ave......can not remember if it was on Plymouth or just off of it but that is the general area.......was a very big ole house......Bill Strouse
Re: The "Haunted House" at Stevens Golf Course
February 13, 2013 04:54PM
Thanks Bill. I suppose now something else has been built on that property. Jim



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/13/2013 08:37PM by jgoodman.
Re: The "Haunted House" at Stevens Golf Course
February 13, 2013 05:23PM
The Middlebrook house (haunted house) was on Plymouth Rd...a block north of Colorado...in a wooded area behind the church on the corner of Plymouth and Colorado. It overlooked the golfcourse. The Middlebrook condos are now located on the property.
It burned on Jan 25, 1972....supposedly from a fire that started in the chimney.
Do a "search" on here and there are some threads discussing the "haunted house" and it's history.
bug
Re: The "Haunted House" at Stevens Golf Course
February 14, 2013 11:39AM
Oh how I would love to see a picture of this place.
The story still breaks my heart...
Re: The "Haunted House" at Stevens Golf Course
February 14, 2013 11:46AM
Yeah, a picture, if such exists, would jog my memory. Jim
Re: The "Haunted House" at Stevens Golf Course
February 15, 2013 10:36AM
I looked up the address on [www.historicaerials.com] but the pics from the 50's and 60's only show trees. It was worth a shot.
Re: The "Haunted House" at Stevens Golf Course
February 18, 2013 07:56PM
bug Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Oh how I would love to see a picture of this
> place.
> The story still breaks my heart...


It was a large white frame house, much like you see in the area around Lake Cliff. I remember it had a porte cochere and a carriage house in back. It was two stories but the interior rooms were probably 10' high given when it was built (probably between 1900 and 1910), so it stood pretty high. It was probably pretty grand early on, but by the time I saw it was pretty dipalidated.
Re: The "Haunted House" at Stevens Golf Course
February 19, 2013 07:19AM
goodhugh Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I looked up the address on
> [www.historicaerials.com] but the pics from
> the 50's and 60's only show trees. It was worth a
> shot.


I looked there (inside the loop of Middlebrook Place), and on the 1955, 1956, and 1958 photos, I can clearly see a roof. It's an inverted "Y" shape, with another part sticking out from the left. In the 1956 photo I can also see another structure behind it, parallel to Plymouth Road. Maybe that's the carriage house.
bug
Re: The "Haunted House" at Stevens Golf Course
February 19, 2013 11:41AM
Found this...

"The Middlebrook Sisters and their “Haunted House”

by Jim Barnes

In 1910, Dr. Edwin Middlebrook of Kansas City purchased the old Stevens’ family farmhouse, on the site of today’s “Middlebrook Place”. His wife moved in with their three children: Cecilia (22), Eddie (18), and Marguerite (15); but Dr. Middlebrook moved to Pecos and after a long illness he died in 1916, a financial disaster from which his wife and daughter’s never recovered. They buried him in an unmarked grave.

Brother Eddie left Dallas shortly after his father’s death. The women were refined ladies, left without “means” in a men’s economy. Mother Julia never had a job. Cecilia had studied piano. Marguerite was as an artist, a student of J.B. Martin who visited with other local artists such as Edward Eisenlohr and Frank Reaugh. Her landscape paintings were entered at the State Fair, but never sold. I can find none that have survived.

Neither sister married; neither had children. As their fortunes dwindled, they clung together and they clung to their treasured home. The senile mother (82) died in 1943. The two story wooden mansion deteriorated into a shambles, not a flake of paint left, daylight peeking through the tattered wood-shingle roof. The sisters lived alone in the middle of 3 1/2 unkept acres; no electricity, no gas, no plumbing, no air conditioning.

In the late 1950s teenagers started showing up to gawk. It was the quintessential “haunted house”: wildly overgrown decaying Victorian splendor, with a barking black dog and two tiny hunch-backed spinsters. Plymouth Road would be littered with beer cans and broken bottles. Most of the curious visitors were friendly, but more than a few were not; to them the tiny frail old ladies were treated like real “witches”. Bravely intoxicated teenagers yelled, spit, hit them with rocks or sticks, and smashed all their windows. Firecrackers blazed. As many as eighty assailants were arrested over a typical weekend of havoc. The Sisters refused to buy a gun; never did anything either provocative or retaliatory.

Only the sisters went inside their house. Their widowed sister-in-law drove in from Kilgore each month to give them a small check, their only income. They would stand at her car window and talk, never inviting her in. Stacked books, newspapers, antique furniture and ornate old woodwork could be seen through the doorway. The sisters stopped going upstairs, and slept in front of a fireplace. They burned wood or coal for heat, and used candles or kerosene lamps for light. Windows were boarded shut; the glass had all been smashed. Many remember chatting with charming and witty sister Cecilia; shy and reclusive Marguerite talked to almost no one.

One day Marguerite fell at the grocery store and broke her hip. She struggled home, lay down in front of a fireplace, and eventually died. Cecilia lived for another year and a half. In the early morning hours of January 25th, 1972, an airliner radioed the control tower at Love Field that they could see a fire near the Stevens Park Golf Course. By the time the firemen arrived, the dilapidated old Middlebrook house was totally engulfed in flame. The heat scorched paint on 1800 Marydale, across the street. Cecilia’s body was found in the ruins. The official autopsy and arson reports found “no evidence of foul play”, though some people still have doubts. The “Dallas Times Herald” ran a picture of the charred debris as their front-page photo. The “Dallas Morning News” followed with another prominent account. The “haunted house” was already legendary in North Texas.

Like her mother and sister before her, Cecilia’s body was cremated, ashes scattered. Everything was gone, up in smoke.

The Middlebrook sisters’ legacy lives on today in many of the iris that are the dotted throughout the neighborhood. Cecilia would often walk through the neighborhood leaving her prized iris bulbs on doorsteps as gifts to her neighbors. So the next time you see some of the beautiful iris that greet us every Spring, you might just think of the Middlebrook sisters."
Re: The "Haunted House" at Stevens Golf Course
February 19, 2013 12:36PM
bug Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Found this...
>
> "The Middlebrook Sisters and their “Haunted > House” > by Jim Barnes
>

> In the late 1950s teenagers started showing up to
> gawk. It was the quintessential “haunted
> house”: wildly overgrown decaying Victorian
> splendor, with a barking black dog and two tiny
> hunch-backed spinsters. Plymouth Road would be
> littered with beer cans and broken bottles. Most
> of the curious visitors were friendly, but more
> than a few were not; to them the tiny frail old
> ladies were treated like real “witches”.
> Bravely intoxicated teenagers yelled, spit, hit
> them with rocks or sticks, and smashed all their
> windows. Firecrackers blazed. As many as eighty
> assailants were arrested over a typical weekend of
> havoc. The Sisters refused to buy a gun; never did
> anything either provocative or retaliatory.

I was an Oak Cliff teenager during the late fifties and early sixties. I was never aware of this activity, though I knew of the house with it and its aging spinsters' reputations.

Quite a sad and interesting story. Thank you for finding it, and Jim Barnes for originally posting it somewhere.

Dave McNeely
Re: The "Haunted House" at Stevens Golf Course
February 20, 2013 07:35AM
Thank you for posting that Bug..
Re: The "Haunted House" at Stevens Golf Course
May 18, 2013 08:28PM
I grew up in dunne memorial home for boys 1825 west Davis st.
From June 1967 till they moved us to saint Joseph's home on 901 south Madison
One sister from dunne memorial named sister Mary Bridgette used to beg literally for food for us kids ( long before my arrival)
Knew the sisters when they were flush with $.
I went one fine day in may of 69 with her to visit them or one dunno when or if the other had passed,
Anyhow it was super spooky, but I remember the lady was so kind to me, took me into the kitchen to have lemonade while they visited in the parlor area. I know I was a bit nervous & couldn't wait to leave. Sister Mary Bridgette had me help carry large sexton can goods in a box while she pulled a small cart to give them/her,
I can almost see & smell that kitchen & after reading these accounts draws memories long dormant.
We made trips several times over the years, but ended in 1970.
God bless them all
Re: The "Haunted House" at Stevens Golf Course
June 30, 2013 01:06PM
I can add a little more to the discussion. I lived on Colorado about 2 blocks away from the old Middlebrook house. I remember hearing (when I was a kid) the rumors about how bad a place it was. However, the kid who lived next door to me, Jimmy Lindsey, befriended them and visited them semi-often. He told me that they were really nice and practically forced me to go over and visit them once. I went in via what I thought was the front door (though from other descriptions here I guess it was the back door). Jimmy was at ease, but I was way past creeped out (I was 11 or 12 at the time), and I didn't go any further in than just inside the door. I do remember knowing that there were supposed to be 2 women living there, but I don't recall seeing but the one (so I'm pretty sure this was after the death of Marguarite). The remaining sister was really nice, since Jimmy was already so nice to her. The things I remember from inside the house was that it was musty/dusty, and that there was a hole in the roof over the staircase, and leaves, rain, and whatever could fall right in. In hindsight it's a very sad thing. They couldn't afford any sort of repairs. I was only inside for a few minutes.

When it burned down the newspaper (I thought it was the Dallas Morning News but I'm guessing now that it was the Dallas Times Herald) had a picture of Jimmy kneeling respectfully on the remains of the house, and talked about him being one of the only kids on the neighborhood that visited the women.

So I've gone from childlike fear of the house and 2 old women, to feeling quite sad for them.
Re: The "Haunted House" at Stevens Golf Course
June 30, 2013 03:03PM
Ray, I remember that story in the Herald. I had just recently (as in the last two weeks) been out there to snoop, I regret to say. It was at night, naturally, and one thing I remember was a sort of tunnel cut through high hedges that apparently had overgrown the front yard, and that went to the front door. I also remember an unpaved driveway that went to the back along the left side of the house. Here my memory gets a bit hazy but I think I remember an old garage to the left of the driveway that had the old kind of hinged doors that swung out from the center, as in horse barn days.
Re: The "Haunted House" at Stevens Golf Course
July 01, 2013 09:12AM
It is so sad that those ladies had to live their lives in those conditions and be so misunderstood and harassed. I cannot imagine a Heaven without a special place for them after all they had to deal with on this earth. Jim
Re: The "Haunted House" at Stevens Golf Course
July 13, 2016 05:51AM
Hi all,
I was browsing the site before work and came across this topic and it's both sad and fascinating. I just located the house on the 1950's aerials as well. If Michael Bradshaw and Jim Bradshaw still read this board, please message me. The "private message" does not seem to work on their accounts.

Chris
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