Last week, I was asked to be a guest on Mile Hi Radio's "Good Living By Design" to talk about the Denver house that inspired the 1980 horror film The Changeling (listen to the interview, which begins at the 46:00 mark, here). For the full, terrifying story of the house that once stood at 1739 East 13th Avenue, check out our two blogs from October 2013:
- A Denver House That Inspired a Horror Film
- The History of the Denver House That Inspired a Horror Film
Revisiting the history of this home made me think about our brand-new Denver Building History Tutorial created by our own Bruce Hanson. With the tutorial, you can easily discover how old a home is, who built it, and who lived there. These are questions building historians AND ghost hunters alike ask when they do research.
Another tool that came to my attention recently is the Willits Farm Map, which shows land ownership in 1899 in Weld, Boulder, Arapahoe, and Jefferson counties. This map came in handy when researching The Changeling house history. Using the map, I discovered that the home's owner, Henry Treat Rogers, did in fact own farmland in southeast Denver. The author of The Changeling, Russell Hunter, claimed that the original owners of the "Changeling" house secretly buried their deceased son in an unmarked grave on their farm in southeast Denver.
Scared yet? Delve into more accounts of Denver ghosts and haunted houses by first consulting our Western History Subject Index. Type in the topic of your choice and you'll be directed to citations for newspapers, local histories, biographical works, newsletters and journals. We typed in "haunted houses" and were directed to citations for newspaper articles from as early as 1900!
I did like this movie. :)
I realize how many years later I'm reading this article, but I read all the articles you've written about Cheesman Park and the inspiration for the 1979 film, "The Changeling", and I just had to post a comment.
I've been keenly interested in the story since I first saw the film roughly 18 years ago. I was a teenager living with my parents, and it honestly terrified me in a good way, as only good horror movies can, and I was so enamored with the gentle way Trish Van Devere spoke that I subconsciously began to imitate it.
Anyway, I remember scouring the internet every couple of years, trying to find out if any of it was true, because something told me there had to be something to it. I didn't come across Hunter's story until a couple of years ago, but even with what I found at the time, there was no corroboration of his story, because the article I read focused on the Seattle area and insisted there was no Chessman Park in Seattle.
Imagine my surprise today, trying yet again with the same search keywords, and discovering your article from 2013, and learning that at least some of the story was actually true! Only the events had occurred in Denver, not Seattle.
Anyway, thank you so much for writing the articles in the first place, and the Denver Library for keeping them up on the site. What a fascinating journey through history and mysterious, embellished stories! :)