Location: Monticello, Arkansas
The Allen House was built in 1906 by architect Sylvester Hotchkiss, for Joe Lee Allen, his wife, Caddye, and their children, Ladell, Lonnie Lee and Lewie. The family was in the timber business so the house was built with only virgin heart of oak and pine. The wood was preserved and protected from termites with linseed of cotton oil. The 9500 square foot house has a total of 16 rooms and 3 bathrooms. The bathrooms were not part of the original home but were added at a later time.
The old house has had a lot of tragic mishaps throughout its history. On Oct. 23, 1917 Joe Lee Allen died while showing an automobile to a potential buyer. His body was brought to his home, where the funeral was held on the 25th of October after which he was then buried in Oakland Cemetery.
Their middle child, Ladell was married to Boyd Randolf Bonner in November of 1914. They gave birth to a son, Elliot Allen Bonner a year after their marriage but the marriage was a very unhappy one. The Bonners ended up getting a divorce on September 1, 1927. On January 23, 1944 Elliot Bonner died from pneumonia at the young age of 28. Ladell’s ex – husband, Boyd died in June 1948 and Ladell ended up taking her own life by poisoning herself. She drank a bottle of mercury cyanide after her mother’s Christmas party on December 26, 1948, but took several days to die. It was later found that she had been having a love affair with a married oil executive. After her death on January 2, 1949, her mother, Caddye had Ladell’s room sealed up in honor of her beloved daughter. The room remained sealed for 37 years after her death.
In 1956, Joe Lee and Caddye’s grandson, Dr. Dr. Karl Leidinger Jr., owned the home and divided the house into apartments. Several different tenants claimed to have paranormal experiences throughout the home. Tenants were seeing strange things in the home and and experiencing strange noises like banging and crying. Someone even claimed to see Ladell’s ghost in a mirror. Dr. Leidinger died in January of 1985; after his death, his widow sold the home to Bill and Bobbie Painton.
Bill and Bobbie Painton re-opened the sealed Master suite where Ladell had taken her life 37 years before. A bottle of cyanide was found in the closet and 81 love letters belonging to Ladell along with a bottle of rum were found in the floorboards of the room. Perhaps she died from a broken heart.
The house is now private property and it belongs to Mark and Rebecca Spencer. The Spencers offer historical guided tours of the home and rent the property out for weddings and other occasions. Don’t go wandering the grounds at night though, because the house is a private residence that is occupied. If you would like to see the property at night they offer a midnight tour of the home on Oct 30th &31st of each year. Tickets are available for $30.
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