Most Haunted Places in America: The McPike Mansion
Lucas Pfeiffenberger, a well-known architect, built The McPike Mansion after the Civil War. The McPike family were the original owners of the house, and lived in it until 1936. The home was constructed Italianate-Victorian style and features 16 rooms.
The McPike family came to America from Scotland. The first members of the family who came to America settled in New Jersey and fought as patriots during the Revolutionary War. Nearly a century later, after the Civil War, Henry McPike became Mayor of Alton. When the house was built in 1869, it featured eleven marble fireplaces and carved stairway banisters. Unfortunately, many of the furnishings have been stolen over the years, during periods of vacancy.
The fifteen acres on which the McPike House sits was given the nickname “Mount Lookout” by the family. Since they had an interest in horticulture, the estate was planted with rare shrubs, trees, flowers, and orchards.
When it was first built, it was unquestionably one of the most beautiful homes in the Alton area. The McPikes continued living at the home for decades, although there are some discrepancies about the specific dates. Some records show that the home was purchased by a Mr. Laichinger in 1908, while other records show that the McPike family continued living in the home until 1936. Perhaps financial hardships during the Great Depression caused them to sell the home to Mr. Laichinger, and he allowed them to remain living there as tenants.
Other families lived in the McPike Mansion up until the 1950s, when it became abandoned. As mentioned above, many of the furnishings were stolen afterwards. The house deteriorated over the decades as well. In the 1990s, new owners purchased the home at an auction. It’s currently under renovation, and the new owners, the Luedkes, plan on turning it into a Bed and Breakfast. Tours are given regularly to those who have an interest in the McPike Mansion and its history.
There are some who believed that the house is haunted. At least two spirits are said to haunt the house: former owner Paul Laichinger and a servant girl. The cellar has been a focal point of some of the alleged paranormal activities. Footsteps have been heard coming from the cellar when there was nobody there. Those interested in paranormal research are invited to join the McPike Mansion tours.