The Chimneys, located in Fredericksburg Virginia, this historic house was built between the years 1771-1773, named after the stone chimneys at either end of the building. It was not documented who exactly owned The Chimneys, but it was designed by Charles Yates and constructed by John Glassell who was a local merchant coming from Scotland. This house was built to show the owners wealth, a huge mansion with several expensive designs. After leaving back to his home of Scotland, the house was given to William Glassell, then being sold several times after that. The most notable figure who lived in the house was Ellen Lewis Herndon “Neil” Arthur who later became U.S. President Chester A. Arthur’s wife. The president of the Historic Fredericksburg Foundation bought the house in 1966 then after several purchases of the house from it either being rented as a home or used as a museum, the current owner, Tommy Mitchell, purchased it and has had a succession of restaurants that have opened here, with the most current being Billikens Smokehouse BBQ. In 1982, the building as renovated, repainting the original colors and adding porches to the front and rear of the house along with other replacements such as heating and plumbing as can be seen today.
This over 300-year-old house may have been sold many times over the years but some of the residents seem to have stayed. There has been a large amount of unexplained occurrences that have happened over the years, both by those who have lived here and those who have worked here. The most common occurrences are said to be doors opening and closing on their own, their doorknobs also moving, footsteps when no one is around, chairs moving by themselves, and lights being turned off and on. There is said to be several spirits that inhabit the Chimneys, and they were described by a medium named Julia Pellegrino. Some of the spirits are drawn to the music that the live shows at the restaurant brings. The earliest account was in the 1800s when an apparition of a woman was seen and heard playing a harp and singing. Another account was a woman was playing piano and she heard the front door open, heard footsteps coming her way, and a cold hand was felt upon her shoulder. Another spirit that has been seen is the figure of a young boy, who was spotted when the house was still used as a private residence. A mother was checking on her young son one night and saw another boy sleeping next to him. When she went to look again, he was gone.
Medium Julia Pellegrino and the owner Mark Nesbitt discovered another spirit who was trapped in the house named Nicodemus. Nicodemus was a forgetting spirit who had passed away in the basement, waiting for his papers to leave for the Underground Railroad and he did not know he had passed. Mark had captured EVPs and had told Nicodemus that he did not need papers to move on and apparently, he moved on, leaving a freezing cold spot in his trail. While these are the paranormal stories are the main told ones, there has also been more of a negative energy that effects the restaurant as well. Sometimes, there will be china that falls and breaks on its own or silverware being dropped. While the doors will open and close by themselves, it is said the spirits get annoyed that there is a restaurant in their home, and they will end up slamming those doors or breaking any items that are laying around. There seems to be a lot of energy going on in this building and has been for the last 300 years.
I have been to this restaurant a few times and I can say the atmosphere is beautiful and the food is delicious. Since we are in a pandemic, I have only gotten take out and have not been able to sit down inside or interview anyone who works here. This will be a future investigation.