179 Main Street, Ashland, Massachusetts, 01721
During the 1830's the railroad made its way to Ashland.
One man saw an opportunity to make a profit, John Stone. He allowed the railroad to be built on his property. His plan was to build a hotel right next to it. Being a farmer and a former militia captain he knew little about running a successful hotel. John built and ran the hotel with his own personal tastes in mind. John set to work in constructing his hotel and on September 20, 1834 he opened it, then known as The Railroad House, to a crowd of 300 guests.
While most guests had a pleasant stay, some did not. Murder took place under the roof of The Railroad House during John Stone's reign. Some believe that it was John Stone himself that was responsible for the murder.
A New York salesman, Mike McPherson, made his way to Ashland via the train. Like many, he seeked lodging in the hotel and during his stay he joined a poker game. Mike had a run of good luck and ultimately emptied the pockets of his competitors. The men at the table called him a cheater and turned to drink, one of those men was thought to be John Stone. Drinking made the men angrier and Mike made a hasty retreat to his room. John Stone concocted a plan. He would send Sadie, the attractive maid at the hotel, to Mike's room and gain entry. Then Sam Thompson the cook, and Will the Bartender would barge into the room and beat Mike. John did not intend the beating to result in the death of Mike McPherson.
It's now believed that the ghosts of John Stone, Sadie, Sam Thompson, and Will all haunt Stone's Public House, doomed to remain for their evil deed.
Despite a horrific murder, John's hotel became very successful and known as a grand place to stay. While John loved his hotel, he became tired of the business side and in less than two years he leased it to a long line of inn keepers. John built a house that he moved his family into so that he could keep a close watch on his hotel. His vigil ended in 1858 when he died.
After John passed away another horrifying event took place at the hotel. In 1862, ten year old Mary J. Smith was killed near the hotel. It is believed that the ten year old was playing near the tracks of the hotel when a train came barreling through. Mary was not able to clear the path of the train quickly enough and was hit. Onlookers rushed to her aid and brought into the hotel where her short life ended.
Today, Mary's ghost is often seen looking out of windows of Stone's Public House. Many have seen the ghost of Mary peeking around corners and trying to entice guests into chasing her.
A bizarre reminder of Mary's tragic life remains at Stone's Public House. In the fourth floor attic Mary's dress that she wore that June day, covered in blood, resides.
In time, the hotel fell into disrepair and became known as a place of ill repute. The hotel beckoned drunkards and desperate men. The many rooms of the hotel became places to do evil work. There are rumors that an occasional murder took place under its roof.
Many men were on their last legs, making their way back from the west after going bust. Depressed and defeated the men would literally drink themselves to death.
It was not until 1976 when Leonard "Cappy" Fournier bought the hotel that it underwent a resurrection. Fournier immediately recognized the ghostly activity that plagued the hotel. He has had many psychics and paranormal investigators examine the building and they have all come to the conclusion that the hotel is haunted by multiple ghosts including John Stone himself.
Many that have visited Stone's Public House have encountered ghosts. Many people have explained the feeling a tap on their shoulder or a hand moving up their back, only to turn and find no one there. Others have seen apparitions of men walking down the hallways and traveling the stairs. They ghosts are all described as looking very sullen.
The staff has witnessed the water taps turning on and off by themselves. Loud heavy footsteps have been heard in rooms that are unoccupied. Occasionally the hotel itself will shake accompanied by a loud boom, its powerful enough to shake dust off of the rafters.
Today, Stone's Public House is a popular place to hear live music, meet old friends and meet new friends. Occasionally, one of the ghosts that haunt the old hotel joins in the festivities.
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Unfortunately most of the information contained in this article is hearsay. I have been helping conduct an extensive history project and paranormal survey of the Public House, and there is absolutely no basis in most of the historical data in this article. Feel free to reach me anytime and I will be happy to share the information we have uncovered regarding this amazing part of local Massachusetts history.