As promised in my last post where I talked about our paranormal investigation more, this post is geared about General Asahel Stone and how he earned his wealth. Also, more photos that I had taken of the beautiful mansion. I don’t know how much the General Stone Mansion would’ve cost back when it was built, but even by today’s standards, it had to have been a lot. Even in the small town of Winchester, if built nowadays the mansion I’m sure would be heading towards a million plus. Yikes.
General Asahel Stone was born and raised near Cincinnati, met his wife Lydia and moved to Winchester. A true business man, he had his hands in a bit of everything and many thought his dealings were quite shady. When he moved to Winchester, he became known as a general contractor building houses. Also, he owned and operated a nursery and landscaping company. The General wound up being part of the state government. He was of the Whig party, and he was able to defeat his anti-slavery opponent. Although he was a Union soldier, it’s said he was probably a Confederate sympathizer.
That was all prior to the war. In the war, he served as the General Quarter Master. Never seeing combat or deployed out, he was a logistics guy seeing that things got from point A to point B. It was common practice for the General Quarter Masters to skim off some of the supplies and sell them to them to the civilians and pocket the money.
The shadiness continues…
General Stone was also in charge of the state bakery in charge of supplying for any state institution. After the war, he was in the state government again. He managed to get the railroad re-routed thru Winchester instead of Redkey, Indiana. And how convenient for him, he got it to route through his own property. That railroad ended up bringing supplies to build his mansion. He was definitely profiting off a lot of things.
As if that wasn’t enough, he was the founder and first president of The First Bank of Randolph County. And was also the CEO and on the Board of Directors for the Winchester Wagon Wheel Company, a large employer at that time. Because of the bank and the railroad, Winchester became the county seat, the only county seat not to change in Indiana.
General Stone died in 1891. His wife Lydia took ownership of the mansion upon his death. He also owned many properties in the south (likely obtained during the war – possibly by not the most admirable means) which were sold and she was given the money. Lydia died just 18 months after her husband. They don’t know if they both died in the house but know they died in the area. Just how they died is unknown, it’s not on record. But the most common cause of death at that time was TB.
Okay, so click on the above photo and look at all the original details of the house, it’s fascinating. First I want you to see the bottom part, the front of the house. Notice there’s no front porch. That was added in 1911. I can’t imagine not having a front porch, but I guess it wasn’t part of the original plan. Below, the Hot Flash Honeys are posing on the porch steps.
Next, I want you to notice the two fancy fountains in the front yard. How do you think they worked? The mansion was built without electric. Look closely and you’ll see a windmill on the side yard in the top right illustration. I think they used the windmill to run the fountains. Just my guess.
Once again, in the largest illustration… see the 8 houses built along side of the mansion? Those are catalog houses that were ordered and built for the construction workers before the mansion was erected. You figure it took 4 or 5 years to construct the mansion, those people had to live somewhere. The General could keep an eye on his workers that way.
Finally, do you see the railroad chugging along in the upper right hand corner of the largest illustration? She didn’t know how many acres he owned, but I figure it must’ve been a lot. In 1880 General Asahel Stone donated 40 acres to the town to build a town cemetery because they didn’t have one. The guide said his monument could be seen in the cemetery from his room upstairs.
The General was in a building war with a neighbor to see who could build the most grand house. He outdid his neighbor, however, when he died the neighbor had commissioned his headstone to be one foot taller than the General’s headstone. I guess the neighbor got the last laugh.
More about General Asahel Stone Mansion
The 2nd Empire style mansion was built at the end of Meridian Street. The street would run right into the property and up to the mansion. It was the wealthy part of town and the General had the property built higher up with dirt before the mansion was built. He made sure that all the wealthy people had to look up the hill at his bigger and more grand home every time they came home. If you’ve got it flaunt it, right? Hah.
General Stone was part of the Temperance Movement, a social movement against the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Upstairs there was a room built for star gazing which I thought was pretty cool. He didn’t drink so I guess he liked to look at the stars, ha ha. I don’t know why I didn’t take a photo of it, but I didn’t. The windows were fairly small I thought for this activity but they were slightly tilted up so you could see up and over the eaves.
The spirits of Lydia and also a young girl in a yellow dress named Wendy have been reportedly seen on the staircase. Unfortunately for us, we didn’t see or hear from either of them the night we went.
The woodwork was stunning and everywhere you looked there was attention to every detail. I just love old homes like this. I can totally see me living in this. There were little doors everywhere taking advantage of spaces available I’m guessing for storage. Of course closets really weren’t a thing back then. But Lydia’s room had an entire room connected to her bedroom that was used as her changing room. It is the room in the front of the house.
The lighting was different in the various rooms, that’s why the coloring is different in the above photos, but the wood was a warm golden color. Everything was exquisite.
Now I want to show you some more of the fireplaces. Each one was different but I didn’t get photos of every single one. Time got away too fast.
Remember the last post where I talked about a five star restaurant occupying the space in 1985? Well here’s the addition that was built to accommodate that and the kitchen. The original house had a summer kitchen which was out back.The addition was built where the summer kitchen stood. The carriage house was still standing, but I forgot to take a photo of it as well. Jeesh.
Notice in the photo below, the bush that is to the left of the ramp. Just to the left of it is the well. It’s a just a hole with a little fence around it now. This is where the well house with the windmill was originally.
Upstairs was this most fascinating curved hallway. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was created with horsehair plaster. If you look at the molding on the floor, you can really see the curve.
Oddly, there was only one stained glass window. I don’t know if that’s because that’s all that remains or all there were. That seems strange to only have one. The was at the top of the stairs and opposite of the curved hallway.
As you can see, General Asahel Stone spared no expense and to me looked like he had pretty good taste. Melinda, shared that she had an encounter with him while in the mansion. While she was taking a photo of a light she caught something out of the corner of her eye. As she turned around she caught the image of someone from the neck down in a very formal suit. She measured the height compared to her and thinks that it was the General. He was reportedly a short man.
We didn’t have a lot of experiences during this investigation but it was a beautiful place to explore. It’s been fun going over it all again and looking at my photos closer in order to share with you. I hope you’ve enjoyed it.
To have your own investigation at Stone Mansion or just to check out the website click here.
Learn more about me on the ‘About’ page under the additional links menu. I’m an artist – a painter mostly and an avid gardener. I paint a variety of subjects including birds, koi fish, my gardens, ponds and flowers as well as anything having to do with nature especially trees and tropical scenes. I also enjoy painting abstracts and have started created more and more of them. My most favorite thing to try to achieve in my painting is is mystery and telling mystical stories.
If you would like to keep up with what I’m doing, I have a newsletter e-mailed about once a month that gives you special status for invitations, birthday greeting and more. I’d love for you to add your email to my Friends and Collectors list!