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One Monticello Life: The Allen House

October 29th, 2006 by

What is Halloween without ghosts, goblins and haunted houses? Located in the center of Monticello, on Main Street is one of Arkansas’ most reputed haunted houses: the Allen House. Here is its story:

The Allen House was built in 1900 by Joe Lee Allen. It is still much like it was when it was built. Dottie Simmons, the house’s third and current owner, said, “It’s like you walk into a whole different time.”

The Allen family was in the timber business and built the house with only virgin heart of oak and pine. The wood was preserved with linseed or cotton oil which has kept away termites to this day. The windows in the house were custom made in St. Louis, MO and brought to Monticello on a boat down the Mississippi River. The windows are all different shapes, sizes and colors. The dining room has a hammered tin cherub ceiling.

The house has 9500 square feet. There are 16 rooms in operation. It now has three bathrooms which are not original to the house. There are two washrooms and a complete kitchen upstairs and downstairs. At the top of the four-story house is a full grandmother’s attic.

The house is situated on two acres of land, and the yard is covered with English ivy and several massive magnolia trees. Few know that the house was originally located across Main Street and was moved to its present location. Gloria Wright’s pink bed and breakfast sits on the lot the Allen House first occupied. The house has been featured on television commercials and printed material for southeast Arkansas. But this time of year, its most interesting feature is the house’s claim to be haunted.

Many will attest to the presence of a ghost or ghosts in the Allen House. Ask any long-time Monticellonian, and many will have a story about the Allen House. The stories usually center on Mr. Allen’s daughter committing suicide in the house in the 1940s because of a broken heart. Some say she threw herself over the staircase and plummeted to her death, but the most common story is that she overdosed on cyanide purchased at the Hyatt Drug Store.

Carolyn Wilson was one of the tenants in the house who even wrote a book which is currently out of print. You may find a copy in the Monticello Library. Its title is The Scent of Lilacs and is a romantic fiction involving a large, old haunted house.

Few people realize the history and supposed haunting of the Allen House who have lived in Monticello a short time. However, upon viewing the Allen House for the first time, the response is usually, “I’m not surprised.” Whether it’s haunted or just historical, the Allen House of Monticello surely can be considered part of our town’s life: one Monticello life.

Related Sites that mention the Allen House:

FYI: Current owner Dottie Simmons will be having an auction on November 9 at 11:00 a.m. at the Drew County Fairgrounds. You may preview auction items at the Allen House on November 7-8 at 11:00 a.m. For more information, go to

Choose another article

Newer article: One Monticello Life: Mae Simpson

Older article: One Monticello Life: Rob Leonard

19 Responses to “One Monticello Life: The Allen House”

  1. Diana says:

    I have loved this house ever since I saw it. I would love to go inside….I am sure it is amazing. If I believed in haunted houses then I would think this could easily be one. I bet it was something to see when it was first built.

  2. Marylee Noble says:

    I love your story, Carolyn. I want to see this house next time we’re in Monticello.

  3. Lou Arnold says:

    I never knew this about the Allen House. We have always drove by it saying that would be a great house to have haunted house. Very interesting.

  4. Amanda says:

    Interesting story! I was just curious why she sold the house & who bought it? Because of this article I now want to go to the auction. Angela Wegley referred me to this site & I now check it daily. Thanks for the tip!

  5. RebeccaSpencer says:

    I had never heard that the house was moved. My understanding is that Gloria’s pink and white house is the “original” Allen House. It was moved from the current Allen House lot to where it resides across the street. Then the larger house was constructed. I’ve read that it was designed by Monticello Architect, Sylvester Hotchkiss in 1906.

    Sylvester Hotchkiss’ house is located at 577 N. Boyd St. It is one block in from Hyatt between Wood and Union Streets. It has recently been renovated and is now blue and gold. The current owners are opening it up for the JA Christmas Tour of Homes on Dec. 3rd. Tickets can be purchased from any JA member. The house is also for sale but only for a short time. It will be going off the market by Dec. 1st so if you are interested, call 870-718-4324

  6. Sandra Gracie says:

    I’ve known Dot for many years and I have loved this house since the first time I saw it…I always told her that was really meant to be my house. If I could afford to live there, I would buy it. The most beautiful home in the USA. Miss you Dottie!!! Give me a call.

  7. Lee Holloway says:

    Rebecca Spencer is correct. The Allen House (photograph at top of article) was never moved. It was constructed on the site where it stands to this day.

  8. Tattered_Wings says:

    Just thought I’d remind everyone that there will be a tour of the Allen House this Halloween. I’m not sure how much the tickets are, but you can purchase them at that bookstore on Bolling Street in town. I can’t remember the name of it…something odd…Bell-something. I wish I remembered the name b/c I do HIGHLY recommend it for all used books, especially textbooks, since the UAM Bookstore takes such pleasure in raping us with their prices. Back to the point, on Halloween we can finally LEGALLY see inside this infamous home. Side note: The Allen House is mentioned in a book I own that lists famous haunted places in America.

  9. Andy says:

    bellelise bookseller, is located in the shopping center, where rogers men’s wear, gift of love, and barnes barber shop is located.

  10. […] Allen house was featured in One Monticello Life, last year. Click here to read the […]

  11. I thought I would post a quick note on here to thank everyone for coming to the tour on Halloween and the night before. We really enjoyed sharing the house with everyone. A BIG thank you to our tour guides who really came through for us on short notice. Tamara, Wesley, Amanda, Shane, Destiny, Andrea, Brandy, Kevin, Amanda Smith, Shelia, Desiree and Sonny.
    Thank you Shanna Cingaloni, for helping with my kids for two days!

    GIANT THANK YOU to Charlie Crowson for coming down here from Little Rock to do the long news story for Channel 11. I thought it turned out really great. If you missed it, be sure to check: and watch it.

    The tour was a great success! If you had a picture taken but have had any trouble getting in touch with me, please feel free to call Bellelise Booksellers at: 460-9854 and Desiree will give me your info.

    We aren’t planning anymore tours since we are still in the middle of renovations. We do invite anyone that is interested in having a wedding/portraits or party at the Allen House, to visit us on the web at:

  12. Crystal Cundiff says:

    One day not to long ago I went inside the house because the woman moving out was having an auction and she told us lots of story and said the people living in the house one time said they were wondering what happed to the girl LaDell Allen and why she did that and a box fell from the ceiling with a bunch of old letters that explaing everything. The whole experience in the house was amazing.

  13. Kristen Gibson says:

    hi. i am kristen gibson from mcgehee high school and i am in a project called Delta Oral History Project. we do interviews with stories that are interesting to us and i picked this one. my grandparents are mary and john ware of monticello (some of you may know them) and my mom went to wc walley when she was in elementary school. i have heard this story before and i was interested in doing my project on it. do you know of any way i can get in contact with the owner????

  14. Joe Burgess says:


    Click on or call Bellelise Booksellers at 460-9854 and Desiree may be able to help you.

    Thanks for your comment.

    Joe Burgess

  15. Robin and I were doing the windows some time ago on The Ball,Barton and Hoffman Law Office and saw what appeared to be a wispy image in the window of the attic. The curtains were open at this time and just a short time later.. the curtains closed as we watched! The image was gone! We believe that it’s haunted!
    I believe that they need to have it looked into by a paranormal society such as TAPS(The Atlantic Paranormal Society) It would be quite interesting to know what happens! They do have a website that you can go to and tell them about it! They would love to know this!

  16. Monticellonians,
    We have decided to do the tour again this year. We had so many positive responses from the tour last year that we feel that we need to do it again. We will plan to have the tours on Oct. 30 and 31st, 2008 from 5-10pm. We didn’t really have anyone tour from 10-11pm last year so we’ve moved the time a little. Advance tickets will be available in September at Bellelise Booksellers, 606 West Bolling. We have also decided to do tours by appointment since we are asked nearly everyday about it. So, the new website for tours it: If you have family coming to town and are looking for something fun and interesting to do with them, give us a call and we’ll schedule you in. Thanks!

  17. Richard Black says:

    How I wish were going to be in Arkansas for the tour this October. I will be in Warren from October 17 to October 28 and unfortunately I can’t extend my stay. My aunt lived in the Allen House from 1978 until about 1982. I spent many days (and nights) in the house during those years. While I never had any outright ghostly experiences there I can attest to the fact that that house will certainly make one scare oneself, especially if one is in the house alone. One beautiful spring day I was there alone while my aunt was at work at Mon-Ark Boats. I had the front door open so the breeze could come through the screen door. I was in the kitchen when I heard a knock at the door. I looked and saw that it was the postman with a package. I walked out of the kitchen through the large center hall towards the door. I didn’t know it then but there was a particular floorboard that when stepped on would cause the door to the closet under the stairway to fly open. Well, I trod upon that very floorboard. Needless to say that somewhere in Monticello there is a postman with a most hilarious story to tell! I had always been told that the house was constructed in 1906 and that the house now located on the NE corner of E. Allen St. and Main St. was the house originally on the lot where the Allen House sits today. Over the years I went through every inch of that house including the attic and up on the widow’s walk. The rafters in that house are massive. Certainly that house will stand for another hundred years it is so well built. The only really odd thing that I can recall about the place is that the doors upstairs seemed to have wills of their own. Doors that you thought had been closed would be found open and doors that you thought you had left opened would be found firmly shut. Of course, the house could really work on one’s imagination. Let’s just say that my aunt was much braver than I. I don’t think that I would sleep easy in that large old home even though it is a stunning beauty of a place. I toured it last in the fall of either 1987 or 1988 and how I wish I could do so again. But it is not to be this year but I will keep watch for tours in future years and plan to visit if I can.

  18. keith says:

    Back in the late 80’s a friend and myself painted the allen house. we spent alot of time in that house…one story that will always live with me…myself and two others were in the library and and my friend was reading the story of how the young girl killed herself in the was halloween so we were already spooked…when he got to the part on how she died, All these clocks starting going off..needless to say we all pretty much hit the floor running.i never seen her but OMG!!! was it spooky in there…alot of great memories.

  19. I know it’s been awhile since the Halloween tour of 2008 but I wanted to take a moment and thank all of our tour guides and security that worked such a long night on the 30th and then again on Halloween. The Midnight Hour Tour was especially fun and we really enjoyed meeting all those special guests. The tours aren’t possible without all the local support that we have. So, thank you Monticello! And of course all the other people that traveled great distances for the tour. We had people drive from out of state for the tour and we hope they felt that it was worth it. The tours took nearly an hour so please remember when calling to set up an appointment to tour the house that you allow plenty of time to meander through the Allen House. Special thanks goes out to Shanna Cingolani for taking our children trick-or-treating and having them at her home for two days! And of course, special thanks to Lisa Coon who wrote such a beautiful song about the Tale of LaDell and sharing it with us and our guests. The song will be a part of every tour from now on.

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