The Tale of Mrs. Bolton'sMonday, March 23, 2009
There is one in every town, a house that is so spectacular, spooky or strange that it becomes part of the local folklore. Mrs. Ruth Bolton's house is that house in my hometown. The house was built in the late 1890's by Mrs. Bolton's family, the Cutting's I do believe, and while finished on the outside was never fully completed on the interior. Mrs. and Mr. Bolton lived with the Cutting's and were know to catch the train to Buffalo, which practically ran through their side yard. The Bolton's had three children one of which tragically died in the house after being placed by an open window by a nanny. The child didn't fall from the window but rather caught cold and died. It was rumored that Mr. Bolton committed suicide in the house after losing his fortune in the stock market crash but this story has since been corrected, it appears that Mr. Bolton died of cancer or of some long term illness. The deaths rumored and believed to have occurred in the house lend it much of its mystique. The rumor of vast wealth and bags of money hidden somewhere in the house also enhance the allure, although it was never anything I believed. Mrs. Bolton grew old alone in the house and was known as a stubborn woman that spoke her mind. She wasn't disliked by her neighbors but many neighborhood children feared her, again buying into the belief that the house was haunted. My mother got to know Mrs. Bolton as a teenager and developed a love for that house that she passed to me. Until last year I never thought I'd get to see the inside of the house. Mrs. Bolton passed away in the '80's and the house remained vacant with occasional maintenance from her distant son.
During the summer of 2008 Mrs. Bolton's son Claude began to make progress towards selling the house, but the processes appeared to be long and daunting as the contents of the house had barely been touched since Mrs. Bolton passed away. Claude offered the house to a local couple with a reduced price tag and the condition that they may clean out the house, keep and or sell what they wished after Claude had retrieved what items he had wanted from the house. This offer sounded good until the couple saw exactly what a task it was to clean out the home. To put it politely, Mrs. Bolton had never thrown anything away. If something became worn, such as the oriental rugs in the parlor, she simply threw down a new one without removing the ruined one, needless to say her parlor contained several layers of rugs. Her tables contained piles of magazines and newspapers, her closets were full of letters, and her bedrooms, all 5, filled with clothes.
There are certain perks to living in a small town, such as when someone finds a treasure trove of vintage clothes and you are the only collector in town, they know who to call. In this case, even if the house wasn't filled with vintage goodies, I still would have wanted to take a peak inside. Since my childhood it had been the house of my dreams, a house of great mystery, a house that I never thought I'd see inside. The future owners of the house graciously took me inside, showed me around and let me go through the piles and piles of old clothes that were heaped upon the many beds in the house. In these piles were garments I had never dreamed of finding: dresses, jackets, sweaters, hats, skirts and neckties galore. The garments dated from the early 1900's to the 1960's and most, surprisingly, were in fantastic condition. I am so grateful to the couple who let me in, not only did I get to see inside of the house of my dreams but I got to take any article of clothing I wanted, free of charge. The owners were desperate to get rid of anything they could as the house was jam packed with over one hundred years worth of treasures. The previous post entitled "Bolton's Blues" features one of the great ensembles found in the house.
After my visit to Mrs. Bolton's I traveled to a local community of mediums called Lily Dale. I sat with a medium who instantly picked up on a woman she felt was related to me but couldn't figure how, I was wearing one of Mrs. Bolton's dresses. The medium continued, with little prompting, to tell me that this spirit and I had much in common and that she knew that someone was in her house and it was being cleaned but she also felt that it was time for this. The medium also told me this woman was keeping an eye on the house and if something was done that she didn't like, she would let the new couple know. This experience, and what follows only adds to the mystique of the house.
Shortly after my visit to Lily Dale, and before all the necessary paperwork could be finalized, Claude died and his sons took over the processes. They ordered all work to be halted, came to the house with a u-haul and took the remaining antiques that had been promised by their father to the new couple. The sons padlocked the doors and left, claiming the couple had no legal right to the house. Perhaps this was Mrs. Bolton's way of showing her displeasure at the removal of a massive and beautiful smoke tree from the front of the house. The couple has since bought another house and taken legal action against Claude sons.
Below is a slideshow of the house as it currently stands. Before Claude's move to sell the home the yard was pristine, and the barn was alway kept closed up. Now the house is, well, as you see it.
Thanks to Mrs. Bolton for honoring me with her wonderful clothes. If I were less of a skeptic I would believe that she wanted me to have what I took from the house, and that her clothes were destined to find me. After all, we are the same size!