Traverse City, Michigan

Just north of Traverse City is a long finger of land that juts out into Grand Traverse Bay called the Old Mission Peninsula. This eighteen mile long strip of rock and earth is a breathtaking and unusually beautiful place and it is no surprise that Chicago millionaire J.W. Stickney and his wife, Genevive, chose this spot as a place to build a house.... a house that remains haunted to this day.

The Stickney's prospered and made a fortune in lumber and steel. The mansion they built on Old Mission Peninsula befitted a lumber baron with it's high ceilings and dramatic designs. Mrs. Stickney spared no expense decorating the house either and one of her prize possessions was a gilt-edged mirror that made the plump woman appear thinner. The glass had been designed in a special way that distorted the image to look thinner as the person walked closer to it. They also installed an elevator in their later years to assist them in going to the upper floors of the house.

After the Stickneys passed away, the historic building changed hands many times. In 1959, it was renovated and converted into a restaurant that is still known today as the Bower's Harbor Inn. Early owners of the establishment were already complaining of strange events like lights turning on and off, glass breaking and objects moving when no one was near.

One day, a customer came running out of the room where Mrs. Stickney's prize mirror was stored. She claimed that she had been looking into it when another woman's reflection had appeared behind her. The woman had been dressed in period clothing but when the customer turned, she found that no one else was in the room. Since that time, many other people claim to have seen the phantom woman's image in the mirror.

Strange phenomena has continued in the building over the years, from rapping sounds on doors and walls and from the inside of empty closets and locked doors opening and closing on their own. Customers claim to have encountered J.W. Stickney himself in the old elevator and although it has been out of operation for many years, occasionally it will start up by itself and slowly move from one floor to another.

Since 1974, the inn has been operated by Schelde Enterprises and has received national recognition for it's restaurant and for it's wonderful cherry orchards. But occasionally, after darkness has fallen, strange things still happen at the Bower's Harbor Inn.

Traverse City, Michigan is located in the northwest region of the state at the head of Grand Traverse Bay. The restaurant is located on Old Mission Peninsula and can be found on Center Road.

Copyright 1998 by Troy Taylor

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