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Occoqun Inn and Down Under Tavern –
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Haunted Place: Occoquan Inn: Restaurant AND Down Under Tavern

Address:

Occoquan Inn: Restaurant AND Down Under Tavern
301 Mill St.,
Occoquan, VA 22125
occoquaninn.com

Location:

Occoquan Inn: Restaurant and Down Under Tavern is located in the historic down town of Occoquan, at the corner of Mill Street and Union Street. As Mill Street runs parallel to the Occoquan River, the Occoquan Inn Restaurant deck and the rooms above it have splendid view of the Occoquan River.

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Description:

From the outside, the Occoquan Inn: Restaurant and Down Under Tavern looks much as they did back in 1810 when this establishment opened for business, except for the current paint color and the possible additions that may have been added during the time that the town was growing. I get the feeling that this building wasn't as big when it was first built, but I have no proof to back up my theory.

Perhaps the first floor was expanded at some point in its history to create another dining area, giving the restaurant some space to host social and special events as well as dining for locals and visitors. The restaurants deck off the first floor dining room is found on the left side of the building. People can sit on this back deck and watch the river.

The building still has its historical quality outside and mostly inside as well. Upon arriving, Tom and I liked the green boards, purple shutters on upscale windows, on the first and second floor. The elegant windows of the original bedrooms on the second floor, have dentils along the roofline above them. The rest of the second floor outside structure on either side of these windows have no windows, being built in a plainer style. Perhaps more rooms were added on the second floor as well. Today, some of the rooms on the second floor are perhaps used for storage, private offices or perhaps living quarters for owners or staff.

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The first floor of the Occoquan Inn is home to their lovely restaurant, with two dining areas that have many elements of the original dining room, but have a wonderful, elegant historic aura as well; added to please their patrons. The dining rooms also are large enough to host social events as well.

The Occoquan Inn as been described as "an up-scale dining establishment with a warm and romantic atmosphere" located in an 1810 structure. Their menu that can be found online offers American cuisine at its finest. Hand Cut Steaks Lobster Tails Fresh Seafood Poultry, and more! Their menu is online.

"We have a cold one waiting for you!" Occoquan Inn's Tavern, called The Down Under Tavern, was built in the basement area under what used to be the Inn's the dining room located on the right as you enter it on the first floor. The Occoquan's Down Under Tavern is more relaxed; boarding on funky but has a pleasant, comfy and homey aura for the drinking crowd who love it.

While having the charms of an 1810 pub, the Down Under Tavern has modern perks that draw in today's business: "Three Televisions, Discounted Bar Food Menu, Nightly Specials, On-Line Digital Juke Box, Discounted Menu Specials during Football Games, Video Games, Happy Hour;Monday thru Friday."

The Down Under Tavern does its best to entertain its patrons. Sports fans come to enjoy a football, basketball, base ball game, while enjoying their favorite drink. Patrons also like to play table games and video games as well. Customers like to play card and dice games with friends while enjoying a cold brew. There is also a small stage where "live music on Friday and Saturday nights, nightly specials, and discounted Bar Food" are popular as well with their patrons.

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History:

The Occoquan Vally was first settled by the Dogue Indians who gave this area its name. "Occoquan" means "at the head of the water" or "at the end of the water"; referring to the location of this area in reference to its position near the end of the Occoquan Creek that empties into a major waterway, the Occoquan River.

The town of Occoquan got its start in 1734 as the result of the Virginia General Assembly's decision to build a Tobacco Warehouse on the north side of the Occoquan River. Twenty years later, the town of Occoquan was a bussling industrial city with "certain forges, tolling mills, bake houses, saw mills, store houses, and dwellings".

Two factories of great pride were their Iron Works Foundry which is said to have made cannon balls for the Patriots during the Revolutionary War, and having the first automated Grist Mill for the grinding of grains.

In 1795, The Virginia General Assembly voted to create a toll road at the Occoquan River, to create a well made major route that took the traveler from Washington D.C. to Richmond, Virginia. This highway was called Route 1. This first direct highway ran through Occoquan city bringing travelers and businesses to Occoquan, leading to more economic development.

Up into the early 1800s' the Dogan Native Americans lived in peace with citizens of Virginia. Being peaceful, they simply left Occoquan Valley when their land was being usurped by incoming people who needed space and places live.

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The town of Occoquan continued to grow and prosper economically with industry, the development of the fishing market, and the cotton industry with all the other businesses needed to create clothing.

In 1805, The great Southern Mail Route came through Occoquan, delivering mail from the North to the South. During the Civil War, it remained the last route to deliver mail between the North and South, because other mail routes were blockaded.

Occoquan became a stop on a Stagecoach line in 1809, which encouraged the growth of the hospitality services in town. In 1810, The Occoquan Inn was built on the prime real estate that was located with a view of the river. Locals and travelers enjoyed a meal and perhaps a brew. The rooms on the second floor were either rented out to new workers in town or guests who got off the stagecoach and needed a place to stay. Or, staff who worked at the Occoquan Inn rented rooms on the second floor.

During the Civil War, the Union soldiers burned the toll road and the huge cotton mill. Confederate General Wade Hampton made his winter quarters at the Hamilton Hotel in Occoquan.

In 1874, Occoquan became an incorporated city, no longer considered a town. In 1878, a new bridge was built across the river to replace the one that was burned. The first tourists from Washington D.C. came by boat to enjoy this waterfront town in 1890. This attracted traveling shows and circuses on the wharf at the end of Washington Street.

In 1916, a major fire roared through town destroying a lot of it. I don't know if the Occoquan Inn was burned. Because they were near the river, they could've formed a bucket brigade and saved it from sparks.

In 1929, Route 1 was relocated so it didn't run through Occoquan, stopping some of the lucrative traveler business, which didn't help their economy at the beginning of the depression.

In 1972, another disaster hit the city of Occoquan. Hurricane Agnes flooded the city, doing heavy damage to the buildings along the river. I assume that the Occoquan Inn suffered some heavy damage. With aid money, the owners may have replaced and updated it a bit to meet their needs business-wise.

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History of Manifestations:

People sometimes come back and choose to stay in the structure that they most liked while alive in this world.

(Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel * Geiser Grand Hotel * McCune Mansion * Moore's Old Pine Inn B & B)

An English gentleman who used to rent one of the rooms of the old Inn has decided to stay in spirit form.

People who are lonely and vulnerable, or don't understand when to say no to their desires, sometimes enter relationships that they shouldn't and wind up dead. When they become in spirit form, they like to hang around the place where they had this relationship that got them killed, and like to let the living know that they are still there despite any mistakes they made.

(Plains Hotel * Biltmore Hotel * Broadview Hotel * County BBQ Restaurant * O'Henry's Roadhouse Building * Cary House Hotel)

When the local Native Americans Dogue tribe were pushed off their land by settlers, they left Occoquan except for one lone male Dogue Native American. Being alone, he "sought company" with the wife of the Down Under Tavern, and lived upstairs in one of the rooms. They became romantically involved and slept together, despite the fact that she was married to the Tavern owner. Uh Oh. Eventually, this Dogue Native American was caught coming down the stairs from his lover's bedroom to the first floor, and was shot dead by the woman's husband.

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Manifestations:

Entity of Dogue Indian - Described as being tall with long black hair, with a dignified demeanor. He is polite and well-mannered.

He likes to visit the inn, restaurant and tavern.

He probably walks up and down the stairs.

He may visit the bedroom where he and the wife of the owner used to have their flings, remembering all the desire they had for each other.

He likes to appear in the smoke of the fireplace downstairs in the restaurant.

He has been seen in the large mirror in upstairs Ladies' Bathroom

Entity of English Gentleman - know for his "puckish sense of humor."

This male entity finds ways to amuse himself teasing the people who come to the restaurant and tavern.

He loves to lock the Ladies' Bathroom from the inside, and likes to turn on the water faucets in the men's bathroom, as people walk out of the bathroom.

He sometimes chooses a customer to startle for the fun of it. One patron was playing a game that used dice. When it was his turn, one of the dice was missing. The spirit threw the missing dice right at the patron which unnerved him for a moment. This was a source of amusement for the spirit gentleman.

While he hasn't appeared to the living, owners and staff sitting in the bar have felt a bone chilling air surround them that stands up all the hairs of the body. Then, it goes away, as the spirit moves on.

Perhaps this spirit tries to be helpful as well.

He borrows tools. He takes items like hammers and returns them a few days later leaving them in the same spot that a living person had left them.

He likes to open the cash register and stack neatly into piles all the quarters and dimes, perhaps having an interest in how much money was made.

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Paranormal Findings:

Both spirits have been around for a long time, which means many people have had personal experiences with them throughout the many years.

Paranormal Research for Bothersome Entities have had an investigation here and rated it P3: Substantial Activity (EVPs, Footsteps, etc.). Two of their investigators saw a white mist floating out of the restaurant and going up the stairs.

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Still Haunted?

Yes Indeed! It is considered one of the most haunted buildings in Occoquan.

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Sources Include:

The Ghosts of Virginia, by L.B. Taylor Jr.,pg. 180-181, Progressive Printing Company, 1993

The Ghost Hunter's Field Guide, By Rich Newman, Llewellyn Productions, 2011.

occoquaninn.com/our-ghost-story/

occoquaninn.com/down-under/

historicoccoquan.com/history/HistoricTimes.htm

historicoccoquan.com

www.ghostprobe.com/id16.html

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Photos © Tom Carr

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