When I saw the huge wheels lining the fence around a yard landscaped with hundreds of concrete cylinders and sculpture fashioned from old farm machinery, I knew there was a good story to be told.
I never dreamed it would involve ghosts. Could the little house on Fontanero and Weber streets be haunted? Its owner, Lydia Klingensmith, thinks so.
And she’s OK with that.
In fact, Lydia is convinced the previous owner, Emma Walker, has been hanging around since her death in 1985, perhaps unable to rest in peace after a life filled with tragedies — her only child died young, she was three times a widow and she was raped by an intruder at age 90.
“She’s my ghost,” Lydia declared. “She hung around, definitely. The house was haunted for a while.”
How else to explain the mysterious things that went on, like an electric outlet that always had power?
“The rest of my house and the entire neighborhood would be dark, but I’d have lights in my basement,” Lydia said.
That’s not all.
“The washer would run by itself,” she said.
Then came the bombshell.
“Emma started coming to me in my dreams,” Lydia said, describing how Emma gave her details of her life.
Lydia said she confirmed it by researching Emma’s life, from her childhood in the gold fields of Cripple Creek, her marriages, her daughter’s death and her life in Colorado Springs where she showered her love on neighborhood children and was robbed and raped.
She is not troubled by Emma’s ethereal presence. She feels such a deep connection to the old woman.
“This was the house I wanted when I was a little girl,” she said, describing how she used to walk by and admire the place.
When Emma died, Lydia bought it, though it was overgrown and run down.
Strange things occurred from the start, Lydia said.
She thought it was odd when keys from her childhood collection opened locks in Emma’s house.
She learned Emma shared her love of parrots and had other things in common.
The spooky stuff started as Lydia began transforming the house and yard.
The landscaping certainly is different. In 1999, Lydia was robbed by an intruder who stole her car, wrecked it, her garage and fence.
When she started to repair the yard, she recalled seeing concrete cylinders — core samples from construction projects — used in Arizona for retaining walls.
She started collecting them and used them, by the hundreds, to fashion a driveway and to sculpt walking paths in her yard.
Then came the wheels and old farm machinery as art.