|Source: Wikimedia Commons|
The Taft Museum of Art is a house on the eastern edge of downtown Cincinnati that was built in 1820, and was originally the home of Martin Baum, a businessman and one time mayor of the city. In the later 1800s, the house belonged to industrialist David Sinton, who lived there with his daughter Annie. Annie married Charles Taft, the half-brother of US President William Howard Taft, and she and Charles lived in the house from 1873 until 1929.
Charles and Annie were avid art collectors, and they eventually turned their home into a museum and donated all of the art within it to the city upon their deaths in 1929 and 1931. The Taft Museum collection includes European old master paintings and 19th century American paintings, as well as porcelains, enamels, decorative arts, sculptures, and furniture.
One of the highlights of the Taft collection is the work of Robert Duncanson, who was the first African-American artist to gain international acclaim and recognition. In 1851, Nicholas Longworth, who was the owner of the house at the time, hired Duncanson to create landscape murals to decorate the foyer of the home. Duncanson created eight landscapes, which are still showcased in the Taft today.
When I wrote about the Music Hall ghosts for my "M" post, I had no plans to end up with a mini-theme of Cincinnati ghosts and haunted places. But, that is what has happened, as I learned about the ghost stories of the Taft Museum after I read about the Spring Grove cemetery ghosts. Thanks to a book called Ghosts of Cincinnati, I've learned about so many haunted places here in my home town that I'm a little bit freaked out by all the ghostly activity that's supposedly been going on around me.
I remember going to the Taft Museum as a kid, and I'm well aware of the museum's reputation for gardens as beautiful as its art collection. But I had no idea that the house is apparently haunted by the ghost of Annie Sinton Taft.
Many visitors to the Museum, as well as employees, have claimed to see Annie's ghost in and around the premises. One such sighting occurred during a concert in the backyard garden, when two security guards reportedly saw a lady in an old-fashioned pink gown sitting on the balcony and tapping her foot to the music. The balcony was inaccessible to the public, and the guards insisted that the woman they had seen was Annie. It seemed to them that she was simply enjoying the concert going on below her in her garden.
Other strange happenings at the Taft include books flying off the gift shop shelves for no apparent reason, and guests being tapped on the shoulder by an unseen presence. Night shift employees have heard disembodied voices calling out names, and the spectral cries of a baby.
It's been fun, and more than a little creepy, to learn about haunted Cincinnati. I have one more haunted spot to share tomorrow for the letter "U" before I leave the Cincinnati ghosts behind.