HAUNTED PLACE: McCune Mansion
McCune Mansion sits
on a strategic hill, close to down town Salt Lake City. One can see part of The
Utah State Capitol Building and the Mormon Temple as well.
To take a tour of this glorious mansion, the visitor must call two weeks in advance to get on a tour. Tom and I haven't been able yet to do so, but we did stand on the front porch, and get some pictures of this immense mansion, and its lovely gardens. The pictures on its website don't do it justice. The front porch is much bigger and grander than we thought, and we got a look inside at the entry way and part of the staircase through the windows. This is a spectacular mansion with all the bells and whistles, and we can't wait to get on a tour of the interior.
Address: 300 North Main Street, Salt
Lake City, Utah.
This 21 room, 3 floored Richardsonian,
shingle style "bungalow" was one of the first of the gloriously
expensive mansions built in Salt Lake City, signaling the city's transformation
from being a Mormon village to a modern city. The mansion itself was built
with a really dark brick on a brownstone base, trimmed with Nugget Sandstone
taken from either Red Butte Canyon or Emigration Canyon. The mansion also
had running water, a conical turret and oval portico, complete with wrought
The materials used were of the very
best. Onyx and Nubian marble were used inside the mansion. Beautiful woods,
such as walnut, oak, mahogany and cherry were the building materials used,
crafted in such a way as to bring art and class to the decorum of the
The roof was made of red-roof, handmade
tiles imported from Holland, at the cost of 7,000 dollars. Spare tiles
were stored in the basement, which the current owner used to repair the
roof in 1999, when he bought the place.
Third Floor Ballroom - Described as
splendid, with huge mirrors, balconies and alcoves made of "exquisite
woods", with seats surrounding the pillars. There are 4 impressive
alcoves, and mirrors are on every wall. A German craftsman spent 8 months
making the furnishings from an artificial marble, known as sageola.
Hidden inside the grand staircase,
there was a small room where musicians played for the many parties and
special occasions which were hosted by Elizabeth and Alfred. Their guests
could hear the music but didn't know where it was coming from.
Alfred W. McCune was an early American
entrepreneur who made a fortune in mining and the profitable railroad
business. Alfred McCune was born in India, and came to Utah when he was
a child. It was evident that he was gifted and had a drive and persistence
which would carry him far in the business world. He was a successful railroad
builder for the Utah Southern Railroad, by the age of 21. He had such
a mind for business and the work ethic to go along with it, that it is
no wonder he became business partners with people like J.P. Morgan, William
Randolph Hearst and Frederick Vanderbilt in running the Peruvian Cero
de Pasco mines, which greatly increased McCune's fortunes.
In 1900, Alfred McCune and his wife,
Elizabeth decided to build a glorious, 1/2 million dollar mansion on Main
St. and Front St. on a hill which overlooked the downtown area on one
side, and had a view of the main Mormon Temple from another side. The
McCunes had separate bedrooms. Alfred liked the view of the Capitol building,
as he was actively involved in Mormon politics, and his wife Elizabeth,
devoted to her faith, loved the Mormon Temple view.
Sparing no expense, using the best
architect in Utah, S. C. Dallas, they built this "bungalow-style
palace" complete with gardens and moved their family in during 1901.
The McCunes loved to entertain friends and political allies. Elizabeth
was known for her lovely parties, and Alfred had many meetings concerning
politics in his dining room. After they raised their family in this mansion,
Alfred and Elizabeth donated this mansion to the Mormon Church in 1920,
before moving to Los Angeles.
The Mormon Church established the
McCune School of Music, which was open until 1953. In 1953, the mansion
became the new home of The Brigham Young University Salt Lake City Center.
In 1973, the mansion became the new
home of the Virginia Tanner Modern Dance School. Children and youth classes
were held in the glorious ballroom. Several graduates of this school went
on to be successful dancers, or dance teachers at colleges. In Virginia
Tanner's classes, the girls wore Ginny gowns, which was a long white night
gown worn by the character Wendy in Peter Pan.
By the 1990s, the dance school moved
out, and the mansion was really in need of repair. 80 years of wear and
tear qualified it as a rather expensive fixer-upper. It was looking a
bit shabby, a little spooky and had an unknown future. However, in 1999,
the mansion was rescued by Phil McCarthey and his family, who joined together
in a partnership venture. Their goal was to restore the mansion to its
former glory, and then put the mansion to work as a top of the line wedding
and reception place, and for other public functions which need an extravagant
2 seen entities reside here, and
perhaps a few more unknown ones.
* The earliest manifestation was heard
soon after the music school moved into the mansion. Organ music and other
drawing room music was heard coming from the mansion when no one was there.
* The living throughout the years
have heard voices, when no one alive was present.
* Doors open and close at will. Doors
which were locked, are found unlocked. Unlocked doors are found locked,
even when they have no lock mechanism.
* Cold spots are felt around the mansion.
* Like entities everywhere, the spirits
who call this place home get their chuckles playing with the lights.
Could this male entity be Mr. Alfred
* Some entity was so pleased and excited
that the McCarthey family was celebrating an extended family Christmas
in the mansion, the first time since 1919, the lights of the ballroom
kept popping on, despite the efforts of Phil McCarthey and his family.
Phil verbally acknowledged defeat, and the lights flickered a little and
then popped back on. An Electrician told him the day after Christmas that
there was a light switch two floors down in one of the rooms, which no
one in the McCarthey family knew about. (tribstory2001)
* A curious, gentile male entity dressed
in a black cape has appeared to visitors when the visitor is alone in
For Example: A son of Phil McCarthey
told his dad that a calm, non-threatening man dressed in a black cape
appeared, watched him and then disappeared.
Entity of a 10 year old Girl - The only clue to who she was is that she strongly resembles the
little girl in the portrait still hanging on the wall in the mansion.
* An apparition of a little girl wearing
a gown is seen walking into and out of the mirror which hangs on the West
wall of the mansion on the first floor.
* Her foot prints are found in several
rooms, which start in the middle of each room and end in the middle as
* She likes to attend weddings and
receptions held in the mansion. Her presence has been caught visually
* Like a creative little girl, she
can't help but play and reorganize items in unique ways, which were already
prearranged professionally for the wedding and reception planned for the
Entities love the restored mansion,
and approve of the McCarthey family and of the fact that weddings, receptions,
special events are held in the mansion, as it was when the McCunes and
the Mormon Church owned the property.