(Orig. Published 10/2003)
This is a “classic” haunted site, located in a small community just outside of Ashtabula. Ghosts, and just plain strange events, are connected with historic Kingsville Library. Located on Academy street in Kingsville, the library lies next to an old church converted to a Masonic Temple (!) and across the street from a central park with an old-fashioned gazebo.
Several people have reported ghostly occurrences in the old section of the library. The most common tale involves the apparition of a man in a tall black hat, who would wander the bookshelves and then disappear. One librarian told us of strange, inexplicable noises heard from the old section after closing hours, and strange mishaps.
The library has quite some history. It was originally established as the Kingsville reading room in 1885, and later rebuilt in 1894. It was moved to its present location on Academy Street in 1918.
The library was located next to old Kingsville Centralized School. In 1927, the school was destroyed by a fire, but no fatalities were reported. The cause of the fire was determined to be arson, and many suspected that some students had started the fire. As it turns out, they may have been right. A few years later, in California, a young man in prison on death row confessed to starting the fire just before he was executed. Apparently, the fire had weighed heavily on his conscience.
The site of the school fire is now part of the library’s property.
It is believed that more than one ghost haunts this library. When we visited Kingsville Library in October 2003, we spoke with one of the librarians about the alleged ghost with the tall hat. This no-nonsense lady stared at me incredulously and said “Ghost?”
“We have more than one ghost.”
At her recommendation, we also spoke with a nearby shop keeper who has worked next to the library for many years. However, she firmly denied the existence of any ghosts.
For more information about Kingsville Library, check out these links:
Kingsville Public Library, including a great interactive historical map of Kingsville.
For a detailed account of one of the legends, check out Tales From the Lips.