In 1863 the structure now known as the Southern Mansion was built by wealthy industrialist George Allen. The beautiful beige mansion sat on a huge parcel of land and had extensive Italian gardens. Allen’s niece, Ester Mercur and her husband were the last of the Allen family to be in residence. After Ester passed her husband sold the entire estate with furnishing for $8000. The new owners turned the property into a boarding house. They painted it white and converted the interior into several small rooms. Fifty years later the mansion was in disrepair due to lack of upkeep and the conversion to small rooms had weakened the structure. The boarding house license ceased in the 1980’s. The current owners bought it in 1994 and over the course of the next 18 months fully restored the building. 130 years of Allen family furnishings yielded several fine pieces that were put back into the house. Gas fixtures, walls, ceilings, floors an windows were restored to their original state.
The grounds and Italian gardens were replanted and cultivated.
Restoration of old buildings often bring strange happenings. Apparently, Ester was happy with the work and decided to again take up residence in ghostly form. She has been observed as a well-dressed female and her perfume wafts through the rooms. Her laughter is heard as her apparition dances through the house. She loves being in the kitchen keeping her eye on the meal preparations. One particular room causes considerable tension because of a possible death therein. The South Jersey Ghost Research team investigated the mansion on 2 separate occasions. Positive images were obtained with orbs and several EVPs (electronic voice phenomenons). Investigators sensed many presences and were touched gently by them. Cold spots were detected in many rooms. On one occasion a door locked by itself after investigators verified that it was unlocked.
Post written by Edward Connolly, Broker Sales Associate and Cape May Local.