The Haunted Mansion at Joe Creason Park

By Jacob Murphy
Communications Coordinator

Oh, October. You are the heart of the fall season and the beacon that beckons all things spooky to crawl from the shadows. As the leaves diminish to their graves beneath the tree tops, an eerie feeling resonates and not even Metro Parks can escape October’s ghostly grasp.  

Haunted Mansion at Joe Creason Park
The "haunted" Metro Parks administration building at Joe Creason Park

If you’ve ever been to Joe Creason Park, you probably noticed the red bricked mansion that sits adjacent to the children’s playground.  And you might know that the building currently houses the Metro Parks administration team. Less likely is that you know the history behind the house, the hauntings that folks have witnessed there and the close proximity of a graveyard where the original landowner’s (Robert Daniel, 1789) daughter rests… perhaps not so peacefully.

Many Metro Parks employees that have worked in the mansion will tell you it is haunted.  They swear by their unnerving tales of being alone in the building hearing voices, doors creaking, lights flickering, empty elevators rising and of course, the occasional cold chill. 

Maybe it’s the bombardment of haunted house advertisements and reruns of poorly acted horror films that have made me a bit skeptical, but these stories just sound like paranoia to me.  Sure, the house is old and October can be creepy. But ghosts in an old mansion are a bit cliché, even for me. 

Now, I won’t dive too deep into the building’s history here (links below), but the current version was built in 1944 on the foundation of a previous 154-year old home that had burned down.  A gentleman named Ben Collings, who owned the land at the time, wanted to make sure his house never burned down again, so Collings rebuilt the building with eight-inch-thick reinforced concrete walls faced with brick, concrete floors and a copper-and-slate roof.  

Admittedly, the mansion sounds like a building that the protagonist of a Stephen King thriller would unfortunately have to survive the night in.  With a good thunder storm to set the mood, the mansion could easily transform into a horrifying abode, housing all things that go bump-in-the-night. 

So, is Mr. Collings trying to spook us out of his fire-proof house by flipping light switches and pressing elevator buttons? Is the deceased daughter of Robert Daniel wondering the halls providing cold chills as she looks for company?  I doubt we will ever know the answers, but it is a bit creepy to think about as I sit in the mansion writing this…

Link to Joe Creason Park history:


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