by Edward Shanahan.
The haunted Archer Avenue, a road and the locations many write about, but yet have not experienced. Being one who has lived his whole life within five to ten minutes of all of them, I write about what I have experienced. I have even created the name ‘The Stretch of Death’ for the portion of Archer Avenue that runs from Fairmont Hills Cemetery to Saint James Cemetery.
It was an area that even a Chicago ghost tour run by a paranormal author seen the rented bus go up in flames and burned to the ground. If it happened five minutes earlier it would of captured all that were in that tour bus. I know as I was the one that suggested to get the people off due to what I was feeling was going to happen. As soon as we were all off, the bus went up in flames as it was rammed in to by a car.
This article will include a ‘Free’ tour app with photos and audio for each location and even a GPS so you can take your own tour for free and be family friendly and as long as you would like to explore the locations. It includes six cemeteries. Plus a video tour of both haunted Archer Avenue and The Irish Legend and Pinterest Board of photos, a map of all the stops and more.
List of tour stops: Resurrection Cemetery – Haunted Mausoleum at Resurrection Cemetery – Haunted Chet’s Melody Lounge – Bethania Cemetery – Archer Woods Cemetery Haunted Location – Lithuanian National Cemetery – Native American Healing Waters – Grimes Sisters haunted location – Saint James Cemetery aka: Monks Castle Willow Springs – Fairmont Hills Cemetery – Clock Tower in Fairmont Hills – The Irish Legend haunted – Haunted Willowbrook Ballroom – I & M Canal autos and bodies found – Old Willow Shopping Center – Haunted Ashbary Coffee House.
The locations I have included in my book on Amazon: Taking The Paranormal and Spiritual World Seriously. Theories – Thoughts – Experiences and in PDF file at: Smash Words. I have provided information for the authors of Chicago Haunts and Voices from the Chicago Grave about the locations and I have been included in their books.
The photo of the “White Mausoleum” belonged to Willow Springs, IL; Mayor White. What you see is a very rare picture of it that I took and may be the only one photo of it, as some authors have written about the ‘music’ that seemed to come from it and said that it was tied to an underground tunnel that at one time ran to the building that is now the Irish Legend.
That became folk lore when a high school teacher researched the claims about the mausoleum, after it was torn down do to structure damage. The teacher went to those involved in taking it down. There never was a tunnel and the music comes from the Clock Tower right near the area that the mausoleum stood at. I have been honored to hold two paranormal nights in the home that was once Mayor White’s home in Willow Springs.
The Irish Legend and Willow Springs History:
You may not find this anywhere else in the writings about the Chicago Paranormal locations. As this was my research done about the location I have experienced and assisted others in experiencing.
This was one of the place on Archer Avenue that I would hold paranormal nights on almost a weekly basis and once in awhile I would get paranormal authors booked at the location to talk and sell their books.
The Irish Legend sits on land that those like me who are Spiritualists or have the ability to tap into the Spiritual side would call the land sacred or Spiritual land, do to the fact this land and much of Willow Springs, IL was populated by Native American Indians and known as Indian Village 23 – Willow Springs.
Archer Avenue is the road in front of the building and was an Indian trail. A map that was painted on deerskin showing the Des Plaines River area during the Potawatomi occupancy outlines the woods behind this building as Chief Cagmega’s Ridge / Potawatomi Ridge Trail.
Directly North of this building is the Des Plaines River and shown on the deer skin map as Spring Lake where the fur trading would go on between the Native Americans and the French traders who traveled the Des Plaines River, and less then a mile north east of that, you will find the Native American Healing Waters. It has been felt by those of Native American Heritage, that there is an Indian Burial Ground that one passes by when taking one of the trails that are in the woods behind this building.
When weather and time permitted, I would take a group on the trail to the area of the burial ground. In the past, spiritual encounters, feelings and energy has been felt along this area. This was also the location in the woods of my very first ‘Circle of Energy’ in 2004, that produced Orbs seen with the naked eye, Indian Spirits communicating with individuals in the circle and much more supernatural experiences.
What also adds to the possibility for the reason of this whole area’s paranormal / spiritual activity is that during the 1890’s and early 1900’s, Indian burial mounds and gravesites were discovered throughout the village and destroyed by early residents in the village. Those actions do not make Spirits happy.
Willow Springs was discovered by Chicagoans in 1854, as a beautiful picnic spot, on the Des Plaines. The land that this building sits upon used to be a favorite, tree shaded picnic area known as Spatis Grove. By 1883, railroad travel south from Chicago to Willow Springs was a reality.
From 1892 to 1899 the construction of the I & M Canal brought more people as well, many of them Italians, adding to the growing numbers of people who called the place home; mainly Germans, Poles and Irish. Ice harvesting off the river became a large money making endeavor for the people living here.
While ice harvesting was still a big business in Willow Springs in the early 1900’s, other less wholesome businesses migrated south from Chicago as well. Gambling, drinking and the world’s oldest profession found out that Willow Springs was a profitable place to set up shop, as there was no police department, only the Cook County Sheriff’s department, who had bigger fish to fry in the early 1900’s than vice offenders.
The building The Irish Legend occupies is said to have been built between 1915 – 1918 and was called the Oh Henry’s Roadhouse when it was built and is said to have been most likely built with Mob money.
This building has been the home of many establishments, including ‘Oh Henry’s Roadhouse’ / O’Henry’s 2 / Cavallone’s West/ Rico D’s, Frankie’s Roadhouse, The Stag’s Head and now The Irish Legend.
It is said to have been built by the original owners of The Willowbrook Ballroom across the street and that is the establishment that Resurrection Mary has been known to haunt.
At the time the Willowbrook Ballroom was built in 1921 it was called the Oh Henry Ballroom, it was originally a picnic grove, and the owner built an open pavilion for dancing and then turned it into a ballroom. During the 1950’s an illegal gambling casino that occupied a space in the lower level of the Willowbrook Ballroom was shut down.
January 16th, 1920 began the era of prohibition with an increase in the locations in the village that were speakeasies. The roaring twenties also found the surge of private ‘moonshine’ stills in the town and prostitution was a common thing.
During the prohibition era a gangster named Edward Zion lived in a house just east of Willow Springs Road on Archer Avenue, he was an experienced West Side gunman, a saloon keeper and a freelance bootlegger. In 1926, those of the Capone gang gunned him down in his back yard.
Even as late as 1974 and the 1980’s, interesting business establishments operated in Willow Springs, one being The Holiday Health Studio and was eventually discovered to be a massage parlor alleged to be complete with prostitutes. In the 1980’s the town moved to ban male strip shows in the city.
Free Tour App – Haunted Archer Avenue Tour and includes photos and audio for each location. It also includes a free GPS to take you on the tour. This can be downloaded for free and is like having a photo audio book of haunted Archer Avenue. Free haunted Archer Avenue Tour.
Pinterest – Haunted Archer Avenue: Haunted Archer Avenue on Pinterest.
Here is a tour of the Irish Legend that I did with Finnigan and his crew from 103.5 Kiss FM. It was a private paranormal night for him and his crew.
A video tour of the whole haunted Archer Avenue I did in 2007:
Finally a rare photo I captured at Archer Wood Cemetery. Some claim it is an Angel. As I said at the beginning of the article, I am one who has experienced the locations I write about.