Rockledge Mansion: John Ballandine, a local industrialist, built this Georgian mansion in 1758 with the help of master builder, William Buckland. The ghost here is that of a friendly Confederate Solider.
Other sightings around town:
If ghostly haunts are your cup of tea, Occoquan, Virginia is a must. The town has an inordinate amount of spooks per capita. First settled in the 1700s, Occoquan is a Dogue Indian word meaning “at the end of the water.”
301 Commerce Street – The original 1790 structure was constructed entirely of hand-hewn timber and wood pegs. Renovations have revealed old newspapers from the 19th century, used as insulation in the attic.
303 Commerce Street – The Shanklin home was originally built in 1880. The residents fled when the fire of 1916 threatened the building. The Methodist Church next door was burned to the ground along with the nearby Occoquan Jail.
310 Commerce Street – The Occoquan Schoolhouse – This house was built as a two-room schoolhouse, with the lower grades on one side, and the higher grades on the other. The side walk out was marked with an ‘L’ and an ‘H’ to make sure there was no confusion.
312 Commerce Street – This home is among those to have survived all the fires and floods of the 20th century. A ‘mischievous’ specter resides here. It messes with the thermostat and unscrews the light bulbs. But the owners can put up with it because the ghost also has been known to sweep the floors.
206 Mill Street – This 17th century house faces the river and the old town common, where tent shows and circuses were frequent in the early 19th century. On the staircase is a break in the wall, which shows the big brick ballast and oyster shell mortar used for construction. Charlotte (the local ghost) loves it when new merchandise comes in. At night when the stores have closed, she will rearrange the new stock and then leaves a flower behind before she leaves.
301 Mill Street – The Occoquan Inn – The central part of this building, with the rugged brick fireplace, is the surviving section of the original residence built in 1810. The building became known as an ‘Inn’, and welcomed visitors to Occoquan, both by boat and from the great North-South route through town. The ghost of the last Occoquan Indian is an occasional visitor of the Occoquan Inn. He has been seen several times reflected in an upstairs mirror.
302 Mill Street – Leary’s Lumber and Hardware Store – Built in the 1860’s, the hardware store supplied the town and surrounding community with all their general merchandise needs. The old sales counter is still inside the front window where it is said to be used by the building’s crotchety elderly apparition, but only after regular business hours. Mrs. Leary chased kids away and tried to keep the corner quiet.
304 Mill Street – The front part of this building was the only post office in the area for many years. Occoquan was the main delivery point for mail between the North and South during the Civil War. During this period the women of the Mount Vernon area used the ferry to come and post their mail in Occoquan.
306 Mill Street – Wayland’s Grocery – Robert Wayland proudly put his name on the front of the building when he opened the original grocery store in 1931. It later became the town drugstore. Original store counters still line the walls.
307 Mill Street – A flickering candle is the sign of the candle toting female specter in this old Occoquan building. Tired of dreary winter mornings, she sometimes lights a candle in the early morning to chase the night away.
309 Mill Street – The Funeral Parlor – This was once the primary funeral parlor for a two county area. It seems that at least one of its past customers decided to stick around. Others say it is actually a ghostly undertaker. Footsteps are often heard at the stores that now occupy the building, even when no one else is there.
313 Mill Street – The bricks in the building came from England as ballast for the shops loading at the Occoquan docks. Since the turn of the century, the structure has been a general store. The upstairs shops now occupy the space where the owner and his family lived. No one knows who the ghost is, but sooty footprints have been seen inside the building. Whispering voices and rearranged merchandise are the ghostly activities reported here.
403 Mill Street – The Lyric Theatre – This was the first movie house in Occoquan. Watch your step as you enter, and you can still feel the sloping aisle. The space upstairs was formerly the projector room.
404 Mill Street – Built about 1840, this house has been a store and dwelling ever since. The first drug store in own was located here. Mr. Hammill, the owner in the late 1800’s, regaled customers with personal stories of the Civil War in Occoquan. Dr. Hornbaker lived and practiced in the back.
413 Mill Street – The Mill House Museum – The miller’s office was located behind the grist mill on the river’s edge. The Merchants Mill was originally built in 1759, and operated until 1924, when it was destroyed by fire. The “Mill House” is now a museum with artifacts and memorabilia of Occoquan.
Mill House – The Mill House Museum – The miller’s office was located behind the grist mill on the river’s edge. The Merchants Mill was originally built in 1759, and operated until 1924, when it was destroyed by fire. The “Mill House” is now a museum with artifacts and memorabilia of Occoquan.
201 Union Street – The Courtyard – Tucked into a corner at Union and Mill Streets, is “The Courtyard”. It was constructed with bricks from the brick-kiln across the river. The Town Well was located here for many years. The resident ‘silent’ ghost seems to like his abode to be quiet. The owners have found that their noisy chimes are torn down.
203 Union Street – Circa 1870, this building is an excellent example of the 19th century Occoquan architecture. The former residence has the original German siding, twin front doors, working shutters and pillared porch. The roof is of pressed tin.
206 Union Street – The Hammill Hotel – Located at te corner of Union and Commerce Streets, it is the oldest brick structure in Occoquan, dating from 1804. Confederate General Wade Hampton housed his brigade headquarters here in the winter of 1862, until forced to flee to Balywhack Creek from advancing Union forces.