Strawberry Hill Museum – Wyandotte County, Kansas City, Kansas
Photograph ©Blue Skyways
720 North Fourth Street
Kansas City, Kansas 66101
History of the House:
The original part of the house, pictured above, was built in 1887. Since then, four additions have been added, giving the mansion a total of three floors, forty-two rooms, an attic and a basement.
Margaret Kerstetter Cruise, a widow and mother of four, married her second husband, John Scroggs and this newly assembled family moved into the mansion twelve years later.
Margaret’s oldest son died at a young age and the other three went on to marry and start families of their own. When Margaret and John died, one of the children inherited the home and then later sold it to the Sisters of the St. Francis of Christ the King. The nuns opened the home to orphaned children after the flu epidemic that spread through the area in 1918.
In 1987, the Strawberry Hill Ethnic Cultural Society purchased the home and turned it into the Strawberry Hill Museum that is known today.
Paranormal Activities Reported:
A female apparition, said to have been a homeless woman that was taken in by the nuns, has been seen by many over the years. This woman is known as the “Lady in Red” and apparently died during an abortion that went wrong.
The Lady in Red made her first appearance to two of the nuns while they were standing at the alter inside the orphanage’s chapel. The lady appeared and asked them, “Where is the house of the priest?” and then she quickly disappeared. The nuns description of the woman said that she was dressing in “1940’s style red clothing, possessed of red hair and trailing blood.”
The Lady in Red also made her presence known to several others and she asked each of them the same question that she had asked the nuns. The descriptions made by others matched that of the nuns except the lady was no longer trailing blood. This apparition has also been known to pleasantly say hello to visitors as well; appearing as a solid person!
Another popular apparition to haunt the place is that of an unknown male. He seems to spend most of his time on the third floor. He apparently doesn’t appreciate visitors on this floor and has been reported to scare people. One woman, while curiously investigating that floor, opened a closet to find the specter inside! She reported that the man reached out to grab her and she ran down the stairs to the first floor; she claimed that the apparition chased her the entire way, tapping her on the shoulder!
The apparition of a little girl has been reported to make herself known by appearing to people in an old rocking chair in the first floor tower room. This child’s presence has also been “felt” or heard playing or moving around in the basement area of the house.
Other anomalies to plague the old home are quite common; lights being turned on and off without any assistance from the living, phantom footsteps, music playing or the voice of the unseen singing, doors being unlocked or locked and doors opening and closing on their own.