Friday & Saturday only: haunted carriage rides through historic Fourth Ward
Posted on 29 Oct 2009 by Rob Cummings
Are you trying to figure out what to do for your Halloween weekend? How about a horse-drawn carriage ride through ‘historic and haunted’ Fourth Ward Uptown? Southern Breezes Carriages will be offering tours this Friday and Saturday nights from 6-11pm leaving from the Square at Trade and Tryon. Hear creepy tales about haunted Victorians, public executions, paranormal activity, ghost hunters, and the Uptown morgue.
Your spine tingling journey will begin at Trade and Tryon and head West into Fourth Ward. Your first stop will be at the Old Fire Station #4, relocated to 5th Street years ago. Hear how Firefighter Pruitt L. Black missed the slide pole and plunged to his death in 1934, but has refused to leave the premises since that fateful day. He even leaves the scent of his cigar from time-to-time in the now-converted fire museum.
Your next frightful stop will be along Poplar Street at the old St. Peter’s Hospital, a historic structure recently converted to condominiums. But what few people know about is the many patients that died long ago at the hospital. Where were the bodies stored?
Continuing along Poplar Street will bring you to 7th and Poplar Street and the site of a quaint Victorian home haunted by a Bootlegger from years past. The current owners of the house still wonder why faucets turn on and off, and wet footsteps mysteriously appear on the steps of the old house.
As you wind deep into Fourth Ward, you will pass by the 1876 Overcash House situated at 8th and Pine Streets. Look for the candle that burns 24×7 in the turret, presumably to provide light for the ghost of a woman that broke her neck after plunging down the steps to her death years ago. Ghost hunters have even confirmed paranormal activity in the home. Don’t be surprised if you see her face looking out the turret window on Halloween night.
Your next stop will be at the popular neighborhood pub and restaurant, Alexander Michaels. Find out why the staff of Al Mike’s refuse to go to the old Apartment upstairs at the former Berryhill grocery store. Does E.W. Berryhill still haunt this popular watering hole?
Your horse-drawn carriage will then weave through Settlers Lane to the location of the old ‘hanging tree’ and the site of a reported 28 public executions back in the day. You will find the tree downright spooky.
Finally, you will make your way back to Tryon Street but not before hearing about the balcony ghosts at the Old Carolina Theatre. Technicians report seeing ‘Fred’ from time-to-time kicking back taking in a show, or the old lady in tattered clothes in the projection room. Maybe they like their old home as is, and not as a shiny new theatre and condo tower that is planned for that site.
Your carriage driver will tell you many more creepy stories along your journey that should put you in a Halloween mood. And after your ghostly trek through the city, I am willing to bet that you will never see Uptown the same again. Who says that Charleston and Savannah are the only old haunted cities of the Southeast?
The tales described above have not been proven to be factual. Many of these ghost stories have been recreated as told in Ghost Stories of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County by Stephanie Burt Williams. Thanks also go to James Willamor for the use of several Fourth Ward photos.