This National Landmark Mansion Could Be Yours for $159,900 — Ghosts and All

The Hiram Scutt Mansion in Joliet was once envisioned as a Victorian museum. But two deaths later, it's now in the hands of a bank that's eager to sell.

The Hiram Scutt mansion was taken by a bank and is now for sale. Credit: Joseph Hosey
The Hiram Scutt mansion was taken by a bank and is now for sale. Credit: Joseph Hosey
JOLIET — The home of a Civil War veteran and barbed wire magnate, a stately Victorian now in foreclosure, can be yours for a mere $159,900.

The 132-year-old, 4,960-square-foot Hiram Scutt Mansion is a national historic landmark and could be ideal for a bed and breakfast.

"We've had a couple of showings already," real estate agent Marcia C. Cronin said.

However, the house comes with a history and, some believe, hauntings, as well.

Real estate broker Brian Kearney had planned to turn the mansion into one when he bought it in 2004. Two years later, football players from the nearby University of St. Francis were renting living space at the apartment and threw a huge party.

A 19-year-old Joliet man, Steven Jenkins, was shot to death at the party. Local historian and John Wilkes Booth impersonator Seth Magosky bought the mansion within a year of Jenkins' murder.

Magosky planned to open the P. Seth Magosky Museum of Victorian Life & Joliet History in the mansion but died there suddenly in March 2007, less than six months into the endeavor. He was 39.

A Janaury 2013 post on the P. Seth Magosky Museum of Victorian Life Facebook page said, "It is with great sadness, I have to inform you the museum is closing. if anyone is interested in any of the furniture, books or dolls please let me know." Cronin said the mansion's chandeliers have been removed and a fireplace mantle is missing. She wasn't sure if they were stolen or lawfully taken.

Mansion namesake Hiram Scutt fought in the Civil War. He became the first barbed wire manufacturer in the history of Joliet and had the house built in 1882. After Scutt's death, his son Frank W. Scutt owned the house, Wikipedia said.

But the Scutts—as well Magosky and Jenkins—may still live on in the mansion, sort of.

Related: Watch video of ghost hunters in this "haunted mansion"

Spiritual observer, psychic reader and paranormal host Edward Shanahan wrote in a 2010 blog on Chicago Now that findings from various "investigation teams" looking into the mansion "all point to one thing, this location is very haunted."

"The years that have (passed have) seen many human tragedies within its four walls, from sudden deaths to a murder in the past that have left their emotional energy in the place," Shanahan wrote.

Shanahan also told of holding seances in a "doll room" and how "individuals have felt the presence of children spirits around them, as the room is one I consider a playground for a child's spirit."

Be that as it may, Cronin said, she had an energy reader stop by the mansion and the psychic said it was ghost-free.

S Merwin April 30, 2014 at 02:05 AM
The Hiram Scutt home is a Joliet Local Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (Please note that it is not a National Historic Landmark, which is a different type of listing. Although both are historic listings through the National Park Service.) You can read more about the Joliet Local Landmark status at http://www.visitjoliet.org/index.aspx?page=379 The National Register nomination form is at http://gis.hpa.state.il.us/PDFs/124721.pdf
Connie Butler April 30, 2014 at 08:06 AM
The real estate lady would naturally say it's spirit free. She wants to sell. A lot of people wouldn't consider because of the rumored ghosts.
Andrea Ross April 30, 2014 at 11:23 PM
Which real estate company is got this place? It says a bank. Anyone have any info?
Paul Grachan May 01, 2014 at 12:06 AM
Gregg it was in the late 1800's. Its a lovely home but I would never own it not even if I was given it for free. Seth was a dear friend of ours. The things removed from that home were taken by an "antiques dealer" who has a storage facility right off of Richards St near the highschool. It was well known in the Joliet Historic community that breaking into historic homes that were REO or vacant and stripping pieces of history for resale elsewhere in the country was a regular activity of his.


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