St. Louis County Has It's Share Of Haunted Locations

<--B. Donovan's, most recently know as Big Chief Dakota, in Wildwood, is rumored to be haunted

(from The Chesterfield Journal) - Steven Smith, owner of B. Donovan's, 17352 Manchester Road in Wildwood, said the restaurant had been part of the Big Chief Dakota, which was a hotel and restaurant along with 62 cabins."It opened in 1929 and included running water and heated rooms," he said.

The location was along Route 66. Smith said he has heard a number of stories about the property.

"One is that there is a female Indian ghost that walks along the back of the property," he said. "The other is supposedly when they tore down a cabin, a body was found in the wall."

Smith said strange incidents happen in the restaurant.

In spring, he and three employees were sitting in the restaurant after closing time and heard a woman's voice, he said.

"There was no woman in the restaurant at the time, and we searched for her -- but she was not found," Smith said.

He said footsteps sometimes are heard when no one is seen on the stairs.

"There are also a lot of noises in the attic," Smith said.

The thing that seems to bother him the most are weird holes that appear in the ceiling of the attic. He said he keeps sealing them, and "when I return in the morning, a new hole appears," he said.

"It is an old building; who knows what it is?" he said. "At least it seems like a friendly ghost, since nothing bad happens."

Like at B. Donovan's, an Indian woman is said to also haunt the hillside at the main entrance to Creve Coeur Park in Maryland Heights.

Legend has it an Indian princess fell in love with a warrior who never returned from a hunting trip. Brokenhearted, the princess went to the top of the cliff near the park entrance and jumped into the water below. Creve Coeur is French for "broken heart."

Paul Thompson, a former city employee now writing a book about Maryland Heights history, said he's found several versions of how the park got its name, including a cholera epidemic someone described as making her "broken hearted" and a military leader named Creve Coeur.

Though Thompson has found several written accounts about the Indian princess, he said the legend is almost certainly a myth with maybe a small element of truth. He believes the story continues to endure because of the dripping springs running down the hill, which are said to be the princess's tears.

Many park visitors also claim to hear wailing or crying coming from the hillside at night.

Downtown Kirkwood also is home to possible spirits moving among the living.

Richard Ryan, manager of Massa's Restaurant, 131 W. Argonne Drive, said the restaurant is a former location of the Bopp Chapel funeral home, which started there in 1915 and relocated in 1961 to 10610 Manchester Road.

Ryan said he has experienced strange occurrences in the basement. He is one of the few people who enter the basement, because "no one else wants to go down there," he said.

One time when he was in the basement, a door slammed for no reason, he said, adding that the basement is sealed from any breezes.

"Also, there was a Christmas tree in the basement and branches were moving on their own, like someone was touching it," he said.

Ryan said he spent a night at the restaurant while it was being restored, and he heard all kinds of noises.

Webster Groves is another city where spooky incidents have occurred.

Wayne Crull is chief executive officer of Edgewood Children's Center, 330 N. Gore Ave., near Rock Hill. Crull said there have been stories that the Rock House, in which his office is located, is haunted.

He said the Rock House, which now houses administrative offices, was constructed in 1850.

"There was a fire around 1900, and the building was gutted and the only parts that were left were the beams that make up the main floor and stonework," he said.

Crull said it is believed a child perished in the fire. Employees have claimed they have seen the ghost of a little girl, he said.

"She seems friendly," Crull said, adding that the staff named her "Rachel."

According to the school's Web site, an Edgewood employee was working late in the Rock House a few years ago. The employee was standing in the first-floor central corridor and heard footsteps coming from the other end.

The "footsteps" passed him and continued to the opposite end of the corridor and were heard to climb a staircase that does not exist anymore.

Crull said he has not seen the ghost.

"A number of years ago, before I started, an exorcism was conducted and no one has seen the ghost since then," Crull said.

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