A Lombard ghost story (relatively speaking)   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.10.31 at 01:09

Current mood: scaredscared

carole lombard 578b

Since today is Halloween, how about a ghost story with ties to Carole Lombard? No, it’s not about Carole and Clark Gable roaming the halls of the Hollywood Roosevelt — and it certainly isn’t about that hotel in Arizona which claims Gable and Lombard spent their honeymoon there (media accounts of them meeting the filmland press in Lombard’s home the day after their wedding make such a story impossible). In fact, Carole’s not the ghost here…but apparently someone in her family was, and it takes place in southern California. Not in Los Angeles, Santa Monica or Beverly Hills, though — this takes place in what’s known as the Inland Empire, specifically in Redlands, Calif.

morey mansion redlands 00

It’s called the Morey Mansion, for shipbuilder David Morey and his wife, Sarah; they built the home (measuring 4,800 square feet) in the 1890s for $20,000 — big money in those days. It has a definite Victorian 1890s feel, with some other eclectic touches: Gothic windows, Italianate tower, an Indo-Saracenic onion dome roof. And marvel at the detail of the front door…

morey mansion redlands 02

…and the exquisite interior:

morey mansion redlands 01

Of course, if a place has ghosts, there is normally some tragedy to the site — and that applies here. Sarah died in 1901, only a few years after moving in. A despondent David Morey killed himself in San Diego in June 1902, and their ghosts are said to walk the place.

Fascinating, you say, but what’s the Lombard connection?

The mansion’s next owner was said to be a man whose last name was Cheney…who was Carole Lombard’s uncle. His ghost, too, has been spotted.

A check of Lombard’s ancestry at http://carolelombard.org/carole-lombard-information/ancestry-of-carole-lombard shows she indeed had some relatives named Cheney (on her mother’s side). An unofficial history of the mansion states the second owners were named Willard R. and Nancy Cheney, and that the mansion was to have been willed to Lombard, but she died before that could occur.

Did Carole ever visit Morey Mansion? It’s possible. We know that in December 1919, at age 11, Jane Alice Peters and her mother visited Kimberly Crest, another Redlands mansion, as they were distant relatives of the Kimberly family of Kimberly-Clark fame (http://laurasmiscmusings.blogspot.com/2011/10/carole-lombard-and-kimberly-crest.html). Here’s what Jane looked like at the time:

carole lombard 1919 kimberly crest 01

Morey Mansion has been restored in recent decades to its original magnificence and is now on the National Register of Historic Places — but its latest owners, Bill and Sara Taylor, are facing possible foreclosure. However, its previous owner, Janet Cosgrove, is confident the couple will come through.

For more on what some call America’s favorite Victorian home, visit http://www.pe.com/local-news/local-news-headlines/20121026-real-estate-ghost-of-foreclosure-looms.ece.

Happy Halloween to all, and please be careful during your haunting tonight. While it’s fun to play a ghost, we don’t want you to actually become one anytime soon.

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Posted October 31, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

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