The St. Francis Inn in St. Augustine, Florida is an old building in an even older town. The city itself dates back to 1565 and is the oldest continually inhabited European settlement in the United States. The Inn dates back to 1791 when it was first built as a private residence.
In 1845 the owner of the house, Anna Dummett began taking in boarders. During the mid to late 1850’s, a nephew of the house started a relationship with Lily, one of the slaves who worked in the home. When his family discovered the clandestine love affair, he was ordered to end it. The nephew, deeply in love with Lily and distraught by the harsh reality that their’s was a forbidden love that could never be, hanged himself in a room on the third floor. Alternate stories claim that he jumped from a third floor window. Some stories say Lily was turned out of the house…others say she was forced by her status as a slave to stay a servant in the house where her lover took his life. Whatever the actual ending for Lily, she never truly left the property.
The most haunted room in the Inn is Lily’s Room on the third floor. Both Lily and her lover have been seen as full body apparitions. The most common manifestations however, are mischievous pranks. Ladies find their purses or make-up bags have been rifled through, the contents left strewn about the room. The water in the bathroom has been switched on, as has the television and radio. People have spotted Lily in the hallway, her arms filled with towels or bedding, as if she were still seeing to the housekeeping.
The Inn is haunted in its own right, but it you don’t witness anything paranormal during your stay, don’t be disappointed! St. Augustine is a very supernaturally active town, with plenty of other haunted places to visit. Scores of restaurants, museums, the Old Jail, both original cemeteries, and even the massive City Gates all have tales of sightings and ghostly activity. Just join one of the multiple ghost tours that are offered nightly in the historic district and you won’t be disappointed. If you don’t see a ghost, at the very least you’ll be spookily entertained!
For more information on the Inn, its ghosts and its history (as well as availability and rate information), visit their website at www.stfrancisinn.com.