Cragfont: A Historic House with a Haunted Twist

Photo Credit: Cragfont State Historic Site

Cragfont is one of the most haunted houses in the nation, and it's located right here in Castalian Springs, just outside Nashville. But there's so much more to Cragfont than ghost stories. This grand old house is steeped in history and offers a fascinating glimpse into early American life.

The Story Behind Cragfont

Cragfont was built by General James Winchester, a hero of the American Revolution. He and his brother George came to Sumner County from Maryland in 1785, seeking new opportunities on the frontier. They built a fort called Fort Tuckahoe, later known as Winchester's Fort, to protect settlers from Native American raids.

James Winchester began constructing Cragfont in 1798, and it was completed in 1802. The house was incredibly elegant for its time, with carpenters from Baltimore brought in to help with the construction. Winchester wanted Cragfont to be a statement of his status and success.

Photo Credit: Cragfont State Historic Site

Life at Cragfont

The house was more than just a home; it was a bustling center of activity. It welcomed many visitors, including friends, business associates, and even weary travelers with letters of introduction. Diaries from the Winchester family often mention the constant flow of guests.

James Winchester's wife, Susan, played a significant role in maintaining the home, especially when James was away on business or at war. She had fourteen children and managed the household and its many visitors with grace.

The Haunting of Cragfont

While Cragfont is celebrated for its historical significance, it is also known for its ghostly residents. Visitors and staff have reported seeing apparitions and hearing unexplained noises. Some believe that the spirits of the Winchester family and the enslaved people who lived and worked at Cragfont still linger in the halls.

In 2018, the Tennessee Wraith Chasers, a Sumner County paranormal team, investigated Cragfont for the first time on live television. During their investigation, aired on the Travel Channel's “Haunted Live,” the team experienced eerie phenomena. They heard footsteps, saw shadows, and felt physical sensations like touches and headaches. Chris Smith, one of the investigators, expressed intense fear while alone in the nursery, and viewers reported seeing orbs and moving blankets via live footage​.

Touring Cragfont

A visit to Cragfont offers a unique opportunity to step back in time and experience early American history firsthand. The house is open for guided tours from Thursday to Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., from April 11th to November 10th. Tours are available at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., and 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased on-site, with discounts for seniors, military personnel, and teachers.

The tour includes a walk through the beautifully preserved rooms furnished with original pieces from the Winchester family. You'll also explore the gardens and the family cemetery, offering a peaceful yet poignant connection to the past.

Photo Credit: Cragfont State Historic Site

How to Get There

Cragfont is located on Highway 25 in Castalian Springs. It's an easy drive from Nashville, making it a perfect day trip for history buffs and families alike. The site is well-maintained and offers plenty of parking. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes, as there's a lot to see both inside and outside the house.

Why Visit Cragfont?

Visiting Cragfont is like stepping into a living history book. You'll learn about the early days of Tennessee, the lives of the Winchester family, and the complex history of the region, including its darker chapters. Whether you're interested in architecture, history, or ghost stories, Cragfont has something for everyone.

The knowledgeable guides bring the history of Cragfont to life, sharing stories and details that make your visit unforgettable. They can answer all your questions and provide insights that you won't find in history books.

What Next…

Plan your visit and tour on their website:

Cragfont isn't open all year round so be sure to check their website.

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