Being a member of Preservation Iowa has helped me learn more about the beautiful places Iowa has to offer. My husband and I had been meaning to make the short 2 1/2 hour trip to the Historic Villages of Van Buren County for years, but the trip kept getting pushed and pushed. Until Friday, when we attended the Haunted History event in Bentonsport.
I knew this area of the state was rich in beautiful Historic buildings, the Guard and Bathhouse at Lacey Keosauqua State Park had won a Preservation at Its Best award earlier in the month, and the Village of Bentonsport itself is a National Historic District. However, I wasn’t fully prepared for the awesome night we had in store for us.
Chuck and Joy Hanson of the Mason House Inn opened up their home and shared about the 165 year old building. Most of the furnishings in the house are original to the building, including quilts and photographs. The Mason House, originally the Ashland House was built in 1846 as a hotel to serve steamboaters. It stood as the Phoenix Hotel for 90 years. Later, the hotel served as the first stop out of Missouri on the underground railroad and a field hospital for soldiers in the War between the states.
After the presentation, the professionals at Quad City Paranormal Research Organization lead a group around the house looking and listening for the spirits that roam the halls of this rich historic home. In the morning, we gathered around in the dining room to share a delicious breakfast and share stories of the previous night’s events! We’ll be going back to the Historic Villages of Van Burin County, to Bentonsport and to the Mason House for sure.