Ghost Walk Locations
Check out the information below to learn more about the different locations on the Ghost Walk. When you arrive to downtown, pick up your map, and head to the locations you choose. At each place you will find a volunteer ready to share a spooktacular story.
THE COOPER BUILDING
Built in 1902, the Cooper Building has undergone extensive renovation to restore it to its “original” look. Several ghostly residents have been reported here, including a dentist, a little girl wearing dress-up shoes and carrying a stuffed animal, and a gambler who took his own life at the tables after losing everything.
BREW COFFEE & TAPHOUSE
Historic newspapers report that in 1867 “VanDuyn, McCulley & Summerville” opened a store here. In 1884 period maps show that there was a tin shop on this corner.
Herman Hirschberg, who built
the bank across the street,
took an original structure built
in 1884 and expanded it into
a “spacious brick,” which is
what these large street-front
buildings were then called.
Little is known about the building that used to stand in this spot. We do know that Sanborn Undertaker
was located here in 1913.
It is the home of the Ghost Walk Hearse Car Show!
THE HOTEL BLOCK
Travelers were common in the early days of Independence, especially business travelers. At one time three large hotels housed guests here, two on Main Street and the Little Palace here on 2nd and C.
This building was constructed in 1880. In 1884, according to the Sanborn Map Company, the US Post Office was here and shared space with a grocery and
LITTLE MALL ON MAIN
So many businesses here in the history of the Little Mall on Main. A building has been here since at least 1884, and has gone through rebuilding and remodeling several times.
What history lives here! In 1888 this site had the Independence City Water Works. There was a 16,000 gallon water tank on a 50 foot high trestle, plus a windmill pump.
INDEPENDENCE NATIONAL BANK
This bank building was constructed in 1891 by Herman “Joe” Hirschberg. It was originally organized as the Independence City Bank, but opened officially as the First National Bank of Independence.
RED FRONT SALOON
Built around 1887, this brick building in the center of the south side of C Street has been many things. Is this building haunted? It depends on who’s telling the story. Renovation can inspire visits by ghosts, and this building has been renovated many times.
From its construction in 1880 the most frequent business at this location was a meat market. The building has a rather creepy basement. A hook, pulley and drain were rigged there to haul up a carcass to be skinned and cut up into steak, chops, and other meat products. The detritus and fluids dropped into the drain which ran out of the back of the building and then emptied into the river.
ARENA SPORTS BAR & GRILL
Built in 1890 Arena Bar & Grill was once known as “The Palace.” The old neon sign for “The Palace” is lit and on display at the Heritage Museum. A great piece of history!
For over a hundred years a hardware store of some type occupied the first floor, beginning in 1902 with an agricultural implements store. Today, the space has been divided into three retail spaces, currently occupied by Valkyrie Wine Tavern, Second Chance Books, and Musical Independence.
FARMERS STATE BANK
A building was shown to have been at this location on the first available Sanborn Map for Independence. On that map, dated 1884, this was a “General Merchandise Store.” Some type of General Store was here until 1925 when it was refitted to become Farmers State Bank.
The building here was constructed in 1875, making it
one of the oldest structures downtown. Business was done at the street level. Beginning in 1875 this space was home to trade in general merchandise, dry goods, and clothing. In the 1920s is was, for a while, a tire store.
THE ELKS LODGE
In 1912 the city council was petitioned to allow for construction of a 66x76’ Motion Picture house. The Isis Theater was built and entertained generations of residents with movies, lectures, and live entertainment.
THE SPERLING BUILDING
There are many ghostly stories associated with this building, chief among them the story of Lenora, the young World War I bride who jumped to her death in this building when she learned that her husband died in the battles in France.
Sharing the story of La Llorona (pronounced “LAH yoh ROH nah”) is new to the Ghost Walk this year, but not at all new to the Hispanic culture. The story of La Llorona, is a story about a vengeful ghost who is said to roam near bodies of water mourning her children who she drowned in a jealous rage after discovering her husband was cheating on her.
THE "W" BUILDING
Mr. Whiteaker was responsible for several of the structures on Main Street. But this was apparently the only one he marked with his initial. By 1915 this was a saloon (as were many of the buildings in town at one time or another). And a saloon-in-residence continued until 2005.
NEWS OF THEIR DAY
Polk County Post Newspaper was a semi- weekly newspaper out of Independence from March 26, 1918, to December 16, 1921. It circulated every Tuesday and Friday. Clyde T. Ecker was Editor, publishers were Clyde T Ecker and John F. Currie. The business was sold to the publisher of the Independence Enterprise, Kimball, who was already publishing that paper, when it was determined that it wasn't financially succeeding competing with the other local Independence papers.
Can't Get Enough?
Consider becoming a Ghost Walk volunteer! We have folks that help organize the event, help during the event, or are ghost hosts. For more information about becoming a Ghost Walk volunteer, please contact the museum.