Riddle House

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The Riddle House in February 2013

The Riddle House is an old Edwardian house located in Palm Beach County, Florida. The house was built in West Palm Beach, Florida in 1905 by some of Henry Flagler's hotel construction workers. Originally known as "Gatekeeper's Cottage", the house was home to the groundskeeper of Woodlawn Cemetery. By 1920, the house became privately owned by Karl Riddle, a city manager and superintendent of West Palm Beach. He is the namesake of the house. The house was eventually dismantled and moved to Yesteryear Village in 1995, a historical park within the South Florida Fairgrounds. The building was featured in an episode of Ghost Adventures in 2008.

History[edit]

The Riddle House in 1920

Constructors of Henry Flagler's hotels began building the Riddle House on July 1, 1905, using leftover wood.[1][2] Originally located at 327 Acacia Street in West Palm Beach, the house was nicknamed "the painted lady", because of its bright colors.[1] However, the dwelling would officially be known as "Gatekeeper's Cottage" early on because it served as the residence of the keeper of Woodlawn Cemetery, located just across Dixie Highway.[2] The house also originally served as a funeral parlor.[3] In 1914, Gatekeeper's Cottage became "City House" after being purchased by the West Palm Beach city government.[2]

It was acquired by Karl Riddle in 1920, who is the namesake of the house. Riddle was the first city manager and superintendent of public works of West Palm Beach.[1] After being recalled in 1923 by a margin of five votes,[4] Riddle moved out of the house, which then became a temporary residence for new city employees.[2] Riddle and his twin brother Kenyon later built houses on a 36 acres (15 ha) property just outside the city in 1935. This area would later become incorporated as Cloud Lake in 1951 after a vote by residents.[5] In 1972, artist Mary Ann Hayes acquired the house at an auction for just over $21,000 and converted it into an art school, the Flagler Arts Center.[6] Palm Beach Atlantic College (PBA; now Palm Beach Atlantic University) then purchased the Riddle House in the early 1980s and used the residence as a dormitory for several years. Later, the house was scheduled for demolition due to expansion of the college.[2][7]

However, PBA instead decided to donate the building to the Yesteryear Village committee South Florida Fair board of directors. John Riddle, nephew of Karl Riddle, then served as chairman of the committee.[8] After professionals estimated that relocation of the house would cost about $50,000, John Riddle instead recruited 60 volunteers.[7] Between August 12 and August 13, 1995, the Riddle House was dismantled and moved to the Yesteryear Village. The roof and attic were split in two, as were the first and second floors. Finally, the building was reassembled after reaching Yesteryear Village.[8] Through a $450,000 state historical grant, the Riddle House was also restored to its 1920s appearance.[7]

Haunting legend[edit]

According to legend, the house is haunted by the spirit of Joseph, (one of Riddle's employees) who committed suicide by hanging in the attic to escape his financial troubles. Commercial "ghost tours" are conducted by Yesteryear Village where guides dressed in period costumes tell stories of their own supposedly paranormal experiences in the building.[9] The house was also featured in 2008 on the ghost-hunting paranormal television series Ghost Adventures on the Travel Channel.[10]

War Party Paranormal, a paranormal group based in southeast Florida, began paranormal investigations with the historical ghost tours from September 2019.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Eliot Kleinberg (February 5, 2003). "Village A Haven For Historic Homes". The Palm Beach Post. West Palm Beach, Florida. Archived from the original on March 13, 2014. Retrieved September 23, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e Ron Hayes (December 29, 1999). "Historic house spruced up for museum". The Palm Beach Post. West Palm Beach, Florida. p. 1B. Retrieved September 24, 2021 – via Newspapers.com. icon of an open green padlock
  3. ^ a b Kari Barnett (September 24, 2019). "Paranormal activity investigated at Yesteryear Village at South Florida Fairgrounds". Sun-Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Retrieved September 23, 2021.
  4. ^ "Past Recalls Show 50-50 Split Result". The Palm Beach Post. October 6, 1963. p. A-2. Retrieved January 18, 2022 – via Newspapers.com. icon of an open green padlock
  5. ^ Cloud Lake (Report). Historical Society of Palm Beach County. 2009. Retrieved March 13, 2014.
  6. ^ Lawrence Dame (November 5, 1972). "Old Flagler House is Now Art Studio". The Palm Beach Post. p. G9. Retrieved January 18, 2022 – via Newspapers.com. icon of an open green padlock
  7. ^ a b c Ron Hayes (December 29, 1999). "Volunteers saved $50,000 relocation cost". The Palm Beach Post. West Palm Beach, Florida. p. 2B. Retrieved September 24, 2021 – via Newspapers.com. icon of an open green padlock
  8. ^ a b Fred Lowery (July 24, 1995). "Historic Riddle House Moving To Fairgrounds". Sun-Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Retrieved September 23, 2021.
  9. ^ Nadia Sorocka (July 27, 2011). "Make a date with the paranormal: Ghost tours to start at Yesteryear Village". Sun Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Retrieved September 23, 2021.
  10. ^ "Riddle House". The Travel Channel. 2011. Retrieved March 15, 2014.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 26°42′21″N 80°13′36″W / 26.70583°N 80.22667°W / 26.70583; -80.22667