Ghosts of Molly Brown House

Many believe that Molly Brown house is haunted by the Brown couple. On numerous occasions, visitors and staffs of Molly Brown Museum have smelled the faint scent of a pipe in spite of rules prohibiting smoking within the grounds of the site. It is said that Molly Brown’s husband J.J. Brown loved to smoke out of his pipe. Employees working in the museum also claims that the ghost of a lady in a Victorian dress haunts the mansion. The ghost, believed to be Molly Brown, is said to be responsible for the unexplainable rearrangement of furnitures in the first floor living room.

molly brown photo
Molly Brown | Image credits:

Visitors touring the property have also reported feeling cold spots and taps on the shoulder. A ghost cat is also said to haunt the property; sounds of a cat purring can be heard from time to time even though none of the staffs in the mansion keeps a cat. Over in a second-floor bedroom where Catherine Ellen “Helen” Brown, daughter of the Brown family, lived, the window blinds are said to raise and lower itself at will.

The numerous accounts of paranormal happenings have attracted a slew of paranormal investigators and thrill seekers to the mansion, all in hopes of capturing something out of this world on camera.

History of Molly Brown House

The history of the Molly Brown House dates back to 1880s when it was designed for original owners Isaac and Mary Large. Designed by William A. Lang, the two-and-a-half-story stone mansion featured several architectural styles including the popular Queen Anne architecture.

However, in 1893, the Large couple was forced to sell the mansion following the repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act in 1893 and the Panic of 1893 depression which ended in 1897. In 1894, the house was sold to James Joseph Brown (J.J. Brown) for $30,000, today’s equivalent of $920,000.

molly brown house 1889
Molly Brown House (1889) | Image credits:

Brown was the husband of American socialite and philanthropist Margaret Molly Brown. Brown was more popularly known as the “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” for her harrowing survival and heroic efforts in the sinking of RMS Titanic. Apart from being one of the last few to board the lifeboats, Molly had unsuccessfully attempted to turn the famous Life Boat No. 6 back to save more passengers. Her life was later depicted in the 1960 musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown and the 1964 film of the same name.

molly brown on titanic lifeboat 6
Lifeboat No. 6 carrying Molly Brown | Image credits: factinate

In 1898, due to the deteriorating health of Joseph, the house was deeded to Margaret. However, as the couple travelled frequently across the country, the mansion was rarely occupied by the two. In 1902, it was the temporary residence for then Governor of Colorado James Bradley Orman while his mansion was undergoing renovation. For the next few decades, the house served as a boarding house for men. The house was sold shortly after Margaret’s death in 1932. It has since been known as the Molly Brown House, or the House of Lions (for the lion statues at the front of the building). In 1952, it was sold to antique dealer Art Leisenring who turned it into a men’s boarding house. The mansion briefly served as a halfway home for Jane Addams’ Hull House during the late 1950s.

Over the years, the mansion fell into disrepair and was scheduled for demolition in the late 1960s to make way for a new parking lot. News of it caught the attention of the local community, who sought to save the building for the future generation. On December 11, 1970, Art Leisenring and a group of concerned citizen banded together and formed Historic Denver Inc, a local non-profit organisation that aims to preserve and maintain the Molly Brown House. After several rounds of restoration, the historic mansion was restored to its original splendor. Molly Brown House Museum opened its doors to the public for the first time on March 8, 1971.

Molly Brown house museum first day of opening
Molly Brown House on the first day of opening | Image credits: Molly Brown House official Facebook page

In 1972, the house was successfully nominated and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was later designated as a Denver Landmark for its significance to the state. Today, Historic Denver Inc continues to operates the site Molly Brown Museum and runs tours regularly to raise funds for the maintenance of the mansion.

The Victorian Horrors Ghost Tour

The Molly Brown Museum runs ghosts and paranormal tour every year during the Halloween season. In 2021, the museum ran Victorian Horrors 2021, a 60-minute tour where visitors will get to tour the different rooms in the mansion and hear some of the city’s haunted tales from acclaimed local actors including Trina Magness, Josh Hartwell, Gabriella Cavallero, and John Wittbrodt. For the 2021 edition, the museum have also invited local oddities dealers, The Learned Lemur and Atomic Folk Art, to create a cabinet of curiosities such as taxidermies, skeletons, and strange rarities!

Apart from the Victorian Horrors tour, the museum also offers daily guided tour of the property. To find out more about the ongoing tours at Molly Brown House as well as Victorian Horrors 2022, visit the official website.

Where Is Molly Brown’s House?

Molly brown house denver colorado
Molly Brown House | Image credits: Historical Denver Inc

The exact address of Molly Brown House is 1340 Pennsylvania St, Denver, CO 80203, USA. To visit the historic Molly Brown House, drive eastbound along U.S. Route 40 (Interstate 70) from Colorado State Capitol and turn right on E Colfax Ave into Pennsylvania St. You should spot “Great Wall Chinese Food” eatery on the right. From there, travel 0.2 miles southbound and you will see the iconic Molly Brown House on the left. The historic mansion can be identified by its stone-lined frontage and a signage that reads “Molly Brown House Museum.”

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