Many of Ogden’s historic buildings in the area between Wall Avenue and Washington Boulevard claim the upper floors had been used as brothels during seedier times. Local legend suggests that the Woodmansee Building was no exception. When the working girls wanted the fellas on the street below to know they were available for “business,” they would drop beans out of the windows, urging their customers to look up and make a selection.
The Woodmansee Building, constructed in 1856, was one of many buildings constructed by Charles Woodmansee, a successful businessman. As a God-fearing man who was involved in many political and social causes of his day, he may very well have rolled in his grave over the tawdry use of his monument to hard work and industry.
One of the bygone proprietors, who either profited from, or turned a blind eye to the wanton practices of the booming brothel business of his day, did not seem to approve of one of the more recent owners of the building who opened a charming salon in the fall of 2005. Apparently, having a female owner was too much for his misogynistic ideals to handle, and he let her know it from beyond the grave!
He made his presence known as holiday festooning was underway. As the shopkeep attempted to deck the halls with festive garland, lacing it up above the entryway, she was astonished to see the decorations repeatedly yanked down. On one occasion, the mischievous spirit threw the garland at some nearby employees.
With determination, the brave salon owner climbed back on the stepladder, and while admonishing her roguish poltergeist, she rehung her garland. She let him know that she was now the owner of the establishment, and whether he liked it or not, she was going to decorate and run her business as she saw fit, minus his interruptions. From that point on, the garland remained in place, and his hijinx came to a halt.
A patron entered the salon one day and announced that as she was passing by, the ghosts told her to come in. She informed those present that the disruptive spook’s name was Edward.
While occupying the building, the salon had other ghostly encounters. The security cameras would pick up a mature woman inside the salon looking out the window, but no one ever saw her with a naked eye.
A young girl, appearing to be around 7-years-old, has been seen in and around the building. She appears in an old tattered pioneer-style dress, and has been spotted watching Ogden’s Christmas parade and the Santa Run. When the nail technicians turn their backs or walk into the room, they hear her playing with the bottles of fingernail polish. While the salon employees shopped for Christmas tree ornaments, a personalized ornament with the name “Emily” kept falling into their basket. It didn’t take them long to figure out the name of their friendly little ghost. Emily likes to wiggle her ornament which hangs prominently on the tree.
For more stories, join us on an Ogden or Salt Lake ghost tour.
To see more of Bryan Butterfield’s photos visit his website.