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Old Allen House –
705 North Main Street
Monticello, Arkansas 71655
The Allen House is located in the historical residential section where the Montecello well-to-do lived; a nice walk to the historical downtown businesses. It is located just north of the intersection of North Main Street, West Oakland St. and East Oakland Ave.
The 1907 Allen House is a 9,500 sq ft., 2 1/2 story mansion with a 2000 sq ft attic, built as a Gothic, Victorian house at the turn-of-the-century; (1906) on 1.45 acres. From Joe Allen's personal timberland, the hearts of 400 year Oaks and pine trees provided the lumber used to build the Allens' forever dream home.
The front of the home is quite impressive. Over the entrance there is a massive portico held up by Grecian columns. On one end of the front of the home there is a three story octagonal turret. On the other front end of the home there is a 4 story octagonal turret. The front entrance is framed by large stained-glass windows.
New Orleans glass-blowers provided the home's stained-glass. The artisans in Saint Louis made all the curved window frames. The tin ceiling above the dining room table was hand beaten into an ornate work of art, a sea of little cherub faces.
As of December 2016 the Old Allen House has been put back on the real estate market for sale, and still has many of the original treasures. According to ZILLOW, the home has "five bedrooms, four baths, original chandeliers, Stained glass windows, beveled glass doors, crystal doorknobs, original moldings, hardwood floors and the original wood work and staircases."
There is a first floor kitchen for serving guests/visitors/tourists and a second kitchen on the second story for the convenience of the owners. This second kitchen was added when the home became rental apartments.
There is a large parking area on the property for five vehicles. The home has central heating and air. Wrap around covered porches can be found around the perimeter of the home.
Owner Mark Spenser found a pack of letters up in the mansion's attic with the help from a spirit, which filled in the blanks of what led up to the death of LaDell. He published a book: A HAUNTED LOVE STORY: The Ghosts of the Allen House, which shares with the public what they have learned from their experiences, research, the letters and paranormal investigation results. To get the whole story, buy a copy of his excellent book.
Before the Allen House existed on this land, a girl's school, Rodgers Female Academy was built in 1857, and opened its doors for business. When the Civil War began, the school building became a hospital for local wounded Confederate soldiers. After the Civil War, the school reopened as Wood Thompson School for boys, though it later became co-ed.
Joe Lee Allen first made his fortune by becoming a successful planter, who invested as well in the lumber industry, which proved to be quite the money maker. Joe Lee Allen wisely invested his money in local businesses, such as buying a theater in town.
Joe also owned a livery stable, a private school, and The Allen Hotel. He also bought a hearse and rented it out for funerals. He loved to sell autos, along with horses, mules, buggies, and wagons. He became President of the Commercial Loan and Trust Company. In 1908, he entered the public service life when he was appointed to be the Treasurer of Drew County.
In 1906-07, Joe Lee Allen showed his wealth by building a gorgeous 2 1/2 story mansion with a huge attic for his wife, Caddye and growing family. This was to be the family's forever dream mansion. While their infant son died at 9 months, their three daughters; Lonnie;1891, LaDell;1894 and Lewie;1897 grew up in luxury, and enjoyed the perks of their Dad's successful business endeavors.
Nineteen year old LaDell had a first date with Prentiss Savage, a boy from a good family in 1913, just before he left for Texas in 1914. She was interested in him but he wasn't in her; due to Mother Allen who made it plain that the rules of virtue would be upheld when he made a move to kiss LaDell while sitting on the front porch.
LaDell did marry a local, handsome fellow, Boyd Bonner in 1914, who owned the town pool hall. Joe and Caddye were not thrilled with this marriage. LaDell and Boyd Bonner moved to Texas where Boyd worked on an oil rig. While an affable hard-working man, Boyd had some marriage-wrecking habits. Their marriage did last for 13 years; despite his drinking issues and whatever faults LaDell brought to this marital union. They did remain friends.
Though Joe Allen was a successful businessman and family man, Joe had hereditary heart issues; a condition that probably also caused the death of his infant son, and the early death of his youngest daughter, Lewie in the 1940's. LaDell's son may have had the same heart issue. Joe died at the age of 54 from a heart attack when LaDell was 23 years old; a death she never quite recovered from.
Caddye Allen carried on with courage. Lonnie and her husband Karl moved back in with Caddye and she charged them 10 dollars rent. She rented out a room, and had Karl run the theater for her. Through her own business sense, Caddye Allen was able to actually grow the family fortune.
One good thing that came out of LaDell and Boyd's marriage was their son, Allen Bonner, born in 1915. During his teen years, Allen moved from Texas back to the family home in Monticello to be with Grandma Caddye, his cousin, and aunt and uncle.
Allen's special place at the Allen House was the attic space. He discovered that he had the talent to write in this special place in the house. When he went to college, Allen majored in journalism. After graduating, Allen went to New York and got a well-paid job as editor for the radio division of the Associated Press during the early 1940's. He wasn't drafted into WW2, probably because of a health issue.
After her divorce, LaDell eventually moved to Memphis for awhile. She suffered through a series of relationships, none of which ended happily. She moved back to the family home. The last relationship breakup that was hard to bear was with her first love of her youth whom she had been reacquainted with; Prentiss Savage, while she was in Memphis.
Prentiss was then already married to another woman, Helena; a person whom he said he detested. Prentiss had risen in stature and had a high level job with an oil company; meaning that he and Helena had plenty of money. Prentiss had free time and money to play around with women on the side.
He set his sights on LaDell, and pushed her to see him; wanting a relationship with her on the side. Mom wasn't there to stop him. LaDell had just been deserted by the stateside P.O.W. guard she had a relationship with during the war, and was lonely. Uh oh.
While Prentiss Savage pledged his eternal love for LaDell, he deserted her when his wife Helena gave him a hard time about getting a divorce; wanting most of the couple's assets. The ugly truth was that Prentiss loved his money and property more than being with LaDell.
After the tragic death of LaDell, her mother sealed up her room, and it stayed that way like a time capsule for 40 years. After Caddye died in 1954, the mansion was divided up into apartments for rental, and was managed by members of the Allen family for a while.
The mansion was eventually sold to another person outside the Allen family. During the 60's, It became housing for college students, attending the University of Arkansas, until the mid 1980s when it was placed once again onto the real estate market, becoming a private residence once again.
In the mid-1980s, it was sold to a couple who made it into a family home once more, and opened a gift shop in one of the first floor back rooms. They also opened up the sealed bedroom of LaDell.
Eventually, the mansion was sold to a female Texan who adored the home, and its treasures seen and unseen. She loved the house and kept the unseen residents under control using crucifixes, prayer, pictures of our Lord and by calling on the name of Jesus. She was no fun at all!
The Allen House changed hands again in 2007, in what became a two year escrow. Mark and Rebeca Spencer had to buy another temporary house as the Texan lady had a hard time letting go of the property as she had become quite attached. In 2009, the Spencer Family moved in at last.
The Spenser family had come to Monticello because Mark had taken a job as a head professor at the University of Arkansas. The Allen House had long been the town haunted house. Though at first Mark didn't believe in spirits, encounters with the spirit residents and listening to hard paranormal evidence, the whole family became aware that yes indeed, the spirits were there. In fact, Mark Spencer wrote two books about the spirits in Allen House.
Mark and Rebeca discovered that the townspeople of all ages really wanted to see the home. As restoration work is expensive, they offered tours by appointment. When it became apparent to them that LaDell was their resident spirit person, they started to offer special events, like HAVE DINNER WITH A GHOST, in the month of October.
To raise money, they had ghost tours during Halloween; hiring students to give the tours. They found out how many spirits they had through paranormal investigations that caught some hard evidence that backed up their other paranormal experiences. Apparently, LaDell has the company of key family members, along with an unknown boy. Nothing threatening; just a friendly, slightly playful group of spirits who do enjoy interaction with the living.
history of manifestations:
Ever since the Allen House was sold in the 1950's, the living have experienced the spirit people who stay in this house. Below are some reasons why spirits may be staying at the Allen House.
Women who have suffered from lost love, sometimes feel so sad and hopeless that they find ways to kill themselves; trying to escape the pain and distress that broken relationships cause. However, they find themselves stuck in this world by their pain and distress, usually near where they did the deed.
(The Whaley House * 17 Hundred 90 Inn and Restaurant * Hotel Adolphus * Hassayumpa Hotel * Dumas Brothel)
In 1949, LaDell killed herself at the age of 54 by drinking cyanide on Christmas Eve after eating a plate of Christmas goodies. She suffered and died the next day. The losses of her sister, Lewie and her son and the loss of yet another relationship that she had invested her heart in, was too much grief to bear.
When people die unexpectedly, when they thought they had their whole life ahead of them, they sometimes stick around their favorite place in this world, finding ways to amuse themselves, including having fun with the living for chuckles.
(Stranahan House * General Wayne Inn * Cashtown Inn * Kelton House * Legare Street House)
Alan Bonner, LaDell's son, died in New York in his mid-twenties from the complication of pneumonia perhaps because of heart issues, while starting a successful career in journalism.
Sometimes entities of families will keep the spirit of their loved one who is stuck in this world company as they also enjoy their memories of their own life in this special home, especially if they had died unexpectedly.
(Whaley House * Stranahan House * The LeDuc Mansion * Shanley Hotel)
The Entity of Ladell's son; Allen, The Entity of LaDell's father; Joe, The Entity of LaDell's Mom; Caddye, keep her company, visiting her or staying.
A young boy of 5 years; The following explanations may explain why he stays at the Allen House.
Children who die during their childhood, often like to stay in their family home, or a place they enjoyed being at while alive.
(William Kehoe House * Moss Mansion * Collingwood Art Center: The Gerber House * Gibbs Farmhouse)
The boy may have gone to the school that once stood on the property. This spirit may not be connected to the headstone.
When graves or gravestones are moved, it can cause restless, confused spirits.
(Cedar Grove Mansion * The Easton Library * Kelton House * Rose Hills Cemetery)
A boy's gravestone was found hanging inside the wall of the old dilapidated carriage house. As the lad died in 1900, it is thought that the servants who had come in 1907 to work for the Allen Family may have brought the headstone with them of their deceased family member, and wound up hiding it in the wall
Children who die sometimes stay in this world looking for family members, and /or a family to join.
(Old Faithful Inn * Hotel Monteleone * Queen Mary)
Spirits sometime appear as children to relive their good times.
(Hotel Bethlehem * Hartford Twain House * Robert E. Lee Mansion)
It is possible that Lonnie, LaDell, and Lewie appear as children to relive the fun they used to have.
She started making her appearance known, soon after she died.
Her mother may have seen her in her room, and that may be why she sealed LaDell's room.
Ladell liked to show herself looking out a turret window for the neighbors and general public to see, and still does.
Author Carol Wilson, who lived in one of the apartments in 1959, based her book, SCENT OF LILAC, on the incidents with LaDell that she personally experienced or observed.
A doctor who was living in one of the apartment units, took a picture of the entity of LaDell as she was reflected in a mirror.
A couple who had just been married found out about Ladell when the new husband took a picture of his bride in the dining room in 1968. When the picture was developed, a picture of a ghostly woman was also caught on the film; standing right beside the bride.
One couple trapped her apparition in a closet and struggled to close the door, as the apparition giggled at their efforts.
For years, renters and owners would hear someone walking around the attic space. For added chuckles, both Allen and LaDell were entertained greatly when the police were called in by the frightened living to try to find the source of the footsteps/noises/moans coming from the upper floor apartments. They never found anyone living, like prowlers, as the cause.
The couple in the mid-1980's bought the home and reconverted the structure into a single family mansion. To bring in some money, they set up a gift shop in one of the back rooms. LaDell didn't approve and showed in no uncertain terms she was upset.
LaDell showed herself to the couples housekeeper by going down the stairs giving the housekeeper the vapors.
People have heard LaDell crying at night.
When the Spenser Family bought the mansion, it wasn't long before odd occurrences began to happen.
There are six-seven other spirits there to keep LaDelle company.
Her son, Allen
He is a fun-loving spirit who likes to call names in the ears of residents.
He has appeared in the home , walking around the first floor, wearing a cowboy hat.
He still likes the attic, and bonds with LaDell by walking around the attic, hoping to get the police to come again, or Mark Spenser. Great fun!
He likes to move objects around.
He likes to call the names of females who live in the mansion. Mrs. Spenser found this out.
The Entity of Her father -
He has come to visit LaDell, and enjoy the mansion he lovingly built.
He has talked to investigators, identifying himself as "Allen."
When Joe Allen leaves, he floats by in his car, trying to get LaDell to join him.
LaDell's Mother, Caddye -
She talked to SPI through EVPs, sharing her feelings about LaDell's husband, Boyd, in no uncertain terms. One of the things she said was that Boyd was drunk every Christmas.
Five year old Boy Entity -
Appeared often where Mrs. Spenser could see him- described as being somber.
Three little Girls
These three girl entities could be actual entities of the three Allen sisters, or residual energy.
Like to play in the foyer at the bottom of the stairs.
They have been clearly seen and heard by former owners.
Besides having many reports of paranormal experiences from people who have stayed here or owned the home, there has been a boatload of hard evidence caught on camera and EVPs to both back up reported experiences and bring to light other spirits not formerly known to be there.
Ladell's parents were discovered by SPI through EVPs. Still having their good Southern manners, of course they would talk to investigators, who were guests in their home.
The Spensers did their own investigations, and two of them can be found on Utube.
Ghost Brothers have done investigations at the Allen House and were not disappointed, as LaDell had fun scaring them a little. Ghost Hunters also have visited the spirits. Many reputable groups have also provided entertainment for the Allen House spirits, and in turn have caught a lot of evidence.
A huge Yes Indeed! The Allen House is considered by many to be the most haunted house in Arkansas.
After leading Mark to her hidden love letters, LaDell hopefully feels a little better about letting all know her shameful secret; having a love affair with a married man, who turned out to be a jerk with weaknesses that her mother saw in him the first time around.
Now, hopefully LaDell can enjoy having a relationship with her son, Allen, since she didn't see much of him once he became a teenager, as she perhaps gathers her nerve to go to the other side, perhaps worrying about what happens to people who kill themselves.
Be sure to see the utube investigations done by the Spenser Family as they may be taken down after the mansion is sold.
A HAUNTED LOVE STORY: The Ghosts of the Allen House, by Mark Spenser, Llewellyn Publications, 2012.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRwJhN38uFM - Living in the Allen House Part 1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2HH2amw8Ng - Living in the Allen House Part 2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_Vp4pys8mY SPI investigation evidence videos
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YybbKl2DYIk - Beyond the Grave
Lunch and Learn - Haunting of the Allen House, by Tara Sipes -