One Monticello Life: The Allen HouseOctober 29th, 2006 by Carolyn
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.
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 www.wooleyauctioneers.com.