Lilburn

Possibly the most famous haunted house in Ellicott City, Lilburn has seen its share of haunting memories. From the tragic story of the family who created the beautiful castle, to the modern owners who are just trying to live with the dead, the stories and legends of this home have fascinated people for almost a century.

The House
Lilburn itself, which was built in 1857, catches the attention of anyone who passes by. The twenty room house is made of gray stone structure, a dark shadowing roof, and a circular driveway. The best part of the house is an immaculate tower that sits off to the side of the house, which gives it a signature gothic look. It is not hard to tell that such an amazing structure has a hauntingly tragic past.

The Hazelhurst Family
Henry Richard Hazelhurst built the home in 1857, shortly after his second marriage. The house was then known as Hazeldene. Henry moved to Ellicott City from Europe after losing his first wife. He moved into his home with his second wife, Elizabeth, and their two children, Maria and George. Not too long after moving into the estate, Elizabeth had their third child Catherine but their happiness did not last long in their new home. The following year they lost their daughter Maria to illness at the age of three. Within the next five years they had three more daughters: Margaret, Julia and Elizabeth. The civil war also affected the family. During the war, the family allowed their home to be used as a hospital. It was also believed that General Robert E. Lee also stayed at the home. In the years following, the family slowly lost land and it is believed that these events also weighted heavily on the family.
Despite her five surviving children, Elizabeth grieved heavily over the loss of Maria for the next twenty years and passed away in 1887. Catherine, who was very close to her mother, met the same tragic end in 1891. Losing his family one by one, Henry then deemed Lilburn as “a place of tragic memories.” In 1893, after a short two year marriage, Julia died in Lilburn giving birth to her first child. Finally Henry took his last breath on February 2, 1900. His daughter Elizabeth followed him five years later.

After the Hazelhursts
There were a few owners after Hazelhursts death, the most memorable was Mr. Wells. He was a private man who kept himself and kept his family mostly in the home, except for Sunday masses. In order to keep out trespassers he had a seven foot hedge put in around the property. He was known mostly for snapping at anyone who tried to speak to him or pry into his private life. In the early 1920s, Mr. Wells was found dead in Lilburn’s library, adding another death to the estate.

The Haunting
In 1923 the Maginnis family bought the Lilburn home. That same year, during their annual Christmas party, the Christmas tree caught fire and nearly destroyed most of the house. Rumors spread that Henry’s spirit started the fire out of anger. Mr. Maginnis worked hard restoring the home back to its original state from the fire, but they believed it only angered the spirits more. After the restoration, the hauntings started to increase. Footsteps were heard in the tower and the tower windows would never stay shut. They believed that Julia, Hazelhurst’s daughter who died during childbirth in the tower, caused the unexplained occurrences. The Maginnis family moved out of Lilburn in the 1930’s.
Two more families owned the house without any reported disturbings; however the house would not lay quiet for long. In 1965 the Balderson family bought Lilburn. They also reported hearing the footsteps and had problems with the windows. The family even decided to test out the windows by tying them shut with ropes and going outside for a few minutes. Upon their return to the tower they found the windows opened and the ropes lying on the floor. The haunting did not limit themselves to the family though. The servants also reported incidences of hearing children crying and the smell of cigars. One servant even reported seeing a man and a child in the house. One evening when the family was having company, the chandelier started swinging back and forth rapidly, with no logical explanation. There was even a report from the family that the spirits bothered the family dog. One evening something in the house caused their dog to start growling in the hallway near Maria Hazelhurst’s old bedroom. The dog was taken outside where it started to rapidly shiver and became physically ill. The family believes that Mrs. Hazelhurst is protecting her beloved daughter’s room.
After the Baldersons, a few more families owned the home. One report was made of a vase of flowers being overturned and still the usual claim of footsteps. In more recent times, the house has been on the market every five to ten years. In 2005 the current owners were looking into getting approval to turn Lilburn into a Bed and Breakfast, but the plan fell through. The home is now owned by the Hermanstorfers, who are protecting the land from developers moving in and keep a piece of Ellicott City’s most haunted history safe.

Resources
Holland,C. (2003) Ellicott City, Maryland- Mill Town USA.Ellicott City, MD: Historic Ellicott City Inc.

Okonowicz,E. (2007) Haunted Maryland: Ghosts and Strange Phenomena of the Old Line State.PA: Stackpole Books.

Slater,T. (2005).1850’s Manor Seeks Bed and Breakfast Approval [Electronic version]. The View

Taylor, T. (2001) The Haunting of America: Ghosts & Legends of America’s Haunted Past. Illinois: White Chapel Productions

Zumer,B. (2007). County Hopes to Preserve Smaller Parcels of Land [Electronic version]. The View.