ALTON, Il. (KMOX) -- The historic Mansion House in downtown Alton is feared a total loss. Fire did extensive damage to the building last night.
No one was hurt in the three story building which now houses four apartments on State Street, but Fire Chief Greg Bock says for awhile, firefighters feared there may have been people trapped. He says a sweep of the building determined it to be clear.
The fire started on the top floor and the roof collapsed.
The Mansion House was built in 1834 as a hotel for travelers. It later became a boarding school run by Catholic nuns.
It had been turned into a hospital in 1864 during a smallpox epidemic.
According to historic documents the Mansion House was one of the first haunted houses in Alton. Alton officials have not determined a cause for the fire.
The Mansion House was built in 1834 as a hotel for travelers. It later became a boarding school run by Catholic nuns. It had been turned into a hospital in 1864 during a smallpox epidemic, but it was also haunted according to historic documents.
An old Indian fighter named Tom Boothby lived in the hotel in 1836.
Boothby had an eye shot out by an arrow and was missing an arm. At night he was heard by other guests screaming because he thought the indians he'd killed were coming to kill him.
Hotel records show Boothby hardly left his room. Food was brought to him and he'd leave the rent money in a tray.
As late as 2000 Residents reported hearing screams from the back of the building on the first floor where Boothby stayed.