The Preston House

As you drive down Poplar street in Terre Haute, few people would even notice the empty lot at 13th and a half street. That vacant lot holds a lot of history. On that lot once stood the oldest house in Terre Haute and some say, the most haunted. A large, southern style home was built in 1824 by a man named George Dewees. He was a rich man who came to Terre Haute from New Orleans. He constructed one of the most lavish houses ever to reside here. George Dewees had a rep for being an evil man with a violent temper. His wife, Matilda, was the exact opposite, she was well liked but not exactly popular since George didn't like to be around people. George was possessive and gave her very little freedom. Matilda did something almost unheard of back then, she filed for divorce. When the time came for the decree to become final, Matilda vanished. George Dewees told everyone she went home to New Orleans but she was never heard from again. Stories began that George had murdered his wife and walled her up in the side of the fireplace. A few years later George Dewees died and the haunting began. Stories of mysterious lights, a woman crying, and objects moving on their own added to the rumors of her death and restless spirit. Because of arson and years of neglect, the house was torn down in 1987. No body was found leaving the mystery of Matila unsolved. According to the Vigo County Historical Society, "Much of the stone of the Preston House, and some of the woodwork, was taken to be used in the grist mill at Pioneer Village in Fowler Park. Whether the legend of Matilda follows the stones remains for the future to say."

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