America’s 50 Most Infamous Homes

There are the famous houses of America that everyone knows and loves: Fallingwater, Biltmore, the White House, and other venerable residences distinguished by the significance of their architecture, the character of their owners, or the wondrous deeds accomplished there. And then there are the others, more infamous than famous, known not for their illustrious past but rather for their unsavory histories, bizarre construction, or reputed haunting. Come take a look at some of the most infamous homes in America and see how many you already know.

  1. Dr. John R. Drish House in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

    Infamous house alabama

    Wikimedia Commons via Carol M. Highsmith

    This elaborate plantation house, a distinctive melding of the Greek Revival and Italianate styles, was built in 1837. Slave artisans executed the house's ornate woodwork and plasterwork, yet its infamy extends beyond the slave labor used to build it: The house is believed to be haunted, and people have reported ghostly lights coming from the house.

    Related: 15 Places Every American Should Visit at Least Once

  2. Begich Towers in Whittier, Alaska

    Infamous house alaska via Travis

    Gossip travels fast and furiously in a small town, but imagine what happens when everyone's under same roof! That is exactly the living situation of the residents of Begich Towers in the small town of Whittier, Alaska. Built in 1953 as part of a large military complex that was never completed, the building now houses most of the town's population of 215 people.

    Related: 25 Tiny Towns to Visit for a Glimpse at How We Used to Live

  3. The Rosson House in Phoenix, Arizona

    Infamous house arizona

    Wikimedia Commons via Greg O'Beirne

    This 1895 Queen Anne Victorian was built for Dr. Roland Rosson, a prominent physician and politician. It changed hands several times over its long life, evolving into a rooming house that was eventually subdivided into individual units until it fell into disrepair and became little more than a flophouse. The city of Phoenix purchased the building in 1974. Through community efforts, it was restored and turned into a historic house museum, sitting on its original foundation in the middle of bustling downtown Phoenix.

    Related: Pedestrians Only: 20 Car-Free Places in America

  4. Allen House in Monticello, Arkansas

    Infamous house arkansas

    Zillow Digs home in Monticello, Arkansas

    Built in 1906 for a family with three daughters, this Queen Anne Victorian is said to be haunted by one of the daughters, who died in 1948 after ingesting poison. Upon her daughter's death, her mother boarded up her room, leaving it untouched for 40 years. The house is now a private residence but is available for tours and special events.

    Related: The 30 Best Towns to Move to for Retirement

  5. Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California

    Infamous house california

    Wikimedia Commons via Spiel

    This rambling, unorthodox mansion was once the home of Sarah Winchester, heiress to the Winchester firearm fortune, who oversaw around-the-clock construction on the property until her death in 1922. With neither an architect nor a plan, the house was built haphazardly, resulting in architectural curiosities such as stairs that lead to nowhere and windows that look into other rooms.

    Related: The 20 Friendliest Cities in America

  6. Croke-Patterson Mansion in Denver, Colorado

    Croke patterson campbell mansion

    Wikimedia Commons

    One of Denver's oldest homes, the Croke-Patterson Mansion is also said to be one of the most haunted. The alleged hauntings were documented in "The Castle Project," a 2011 film that follows eerie occurrences during the building's conversion into a bed-and-breakfast. Workers at the time reported otherworldly phenomena, including ghostly apparitions, strange voices, and sudden changes in temperature.

    Related: The Best Small-Town Inns in All 50 States

  7. New London Ledge Lighthouse in Groton, Connecticut

    Infamous home connecticut

    Perched all alone in the waters of Fishers Island Sound, this three-story granite lighthouse is said to be haunted by the ghost of a former keeper named Ernie, who allegedly jumped from the roof after his wife ran away with a ferry captain. The forlorn ghost of Ernie is rumored to turn radios and televisions on and off, untie boats, and sound the foghorn on clear days.

    Related: You'll Never Believe What These 6 Homes Used to Be

  8. Governor's House in Dover, Delaware

    Infamous house delaware via Jeffrey

    A beautiful example of mid-Georgian period architecture, this property, also known as Woodburn, was constructed in 1790 and played host to a number of notable locals before becoming the official residence of the governor in 1965. The house earns a spot on our list of infamy for suspected paranormal activity.

    Related: See the Homes That Blew Our Minds in 2017

  9. Al Capone House in Miami Beach, Florida

    Al capone estate

    Al Capone paid for this Florida mansion in 1928 with $40,000 in cash and, except for a stint in jail for tax evasion, lived there until his death in 1947. The mobster's home improvements included a two-story cabana, which he used to house his personal bodyguards.

    Related: Winter Retreats of Presidents Past and Present

  10. Mercer Williams House in Savannah, Georgia

    Infamous house georgia

    Wikimedia Commons via 

    This Italianate house, completed in 1868, rose to infamy as the scene of the murder recounted in the book “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” The property, which is, not surprisingly, said to be haunted, is open to the public for tours.

    Related: Our 25 Favorite Tiny Houses of All Time

  11. ‘Iolani Palace in Honolulu, Hawaii

    Infamous house hawaii

    This ornate confection served as the residence of the rulers of the Kingdom of Hawaii from 1845 until 1893, when the monarchy was overthrown. It was the state capitol until 1969 and was then reopened as a museum in 1978.

    Related: Island Living: 20 Tropical B&Bs That Are Only an Airplane Away

  12. Standrod Mansion in Pocatello, Idaho

    Infamous house idaho

    Wikimedia Commons via Library of Congress

    Built in 1902 in the Chateauesque style, this majestic turreted castle was once home to the prominent Standrod family. Their 16-year-old daughter, who died tragically, is said to haunt the two-story sandstone house.

    Related: 20 Beautiful Homes Hiding in America's Most Affordable Cities

  13. McPike Mansion in Alton, Illinois

    Infamous house illinois

    Wikimedia Commons via Mcpikemansioncrew

    Perched atop the highest point in Alton, this once-splendid 19th-century country house has been abandoned since the 1950s and is a popular attraction for ghost hunters. Now lost to vandalism, the mansion at one time featured marble fireplaces and ornate carved stairways.

    Related: 11 Vintage Houses That Came from a Catalog

  14. Whispers Estate in Mitchell, Indiana

    Whispers estate

    YouTube via The Weekly Special - WTIU

    Whispers Estate, where some say the walls really do talk, is considered one of the most haunted homes in Illinois. No one lives in the impressive Victorian today, but it is available for rentals and events.

    Related: 16 Iconic American Homes Torn Down Before Their Time

  15. The Villisca Ax Murder House in Villisca, Iowa

    Infamous house iowa via Laura Bernhardt

    This unassuming home became infamous as the site of a bloody, tragic multiple murder one night in 1912. The crime was never solved and remains a source of local fascination. Those who are curious about the mysterious crime can visit the house, which is open for tours, and make their own investigations. 

    Related: The Secret Histories of 15 Grand American Mansions

  16. "In Cold Blood" House in Holcomb, Kansas

    In cold blood


    Made famous by a murder case that captivated the country in the 1960s, this home was once the property of a prominent farming family. Immortalized in "In Cold Blood," Truman Capote's "nonfiction novel," the house may never shake its grisly reputation.

    Related: The 19 Most Photographed Homes in America

  17. Liberty Hall in Frankfort, Kentucky

    Liberty hall via J. Stephen Conn

    Once home to one of the first senators of Kentucky, today Liberty Hall is on the National Register of Historic Places. In addition to being a popular site for weddings and other events, it is said to play host to three restless ghosts.

    Related: 9 Towns That'll Pay You to Move There

  18. The Myrtles Plantation in St Francisville, Louisiana

    Infamous house louisiana

    Wikimedia Commons via Bogdan Oporowski

    This historic antebellum plantation is touted as one of the most haunted places in the country, thanks to the number of deaths—both natural and violent—that have occurred on the property. The sprawling Creole cottage-style home was named for the crepe myrtle trees that grow in the vicinity.

    Related: 15 100-Year-Old Houses That Haven't Aged a Day

  19. Olson House in Cushing, Maine

    Infamous house maine via Neal Wellons

    This 14-room Colonial farmhouse, built in the 1700s, has been seared into the American consciousness thanks to its depiction in painter Andrew Wyeth's masterpiece “Christina's World.” In the painting, Wyeth portrays Christina Olson, who had lost the use of her legs, crawling through a field toward the house.

    Related: The 20 Best (and Most Unusual) B&Bs in America

  20. Hager House in Hagerstown, Maryland

    Infamous house maryland

    Wikimedia Commons via Acroterion

    The two-story stone structure, now a historic house museum, dates to 1740 and was built by Jonathan Hager, a German immigrant who founded Hagerstown, Maryland. The basement contains two spring-fed pools of water and, according to believers in the paranormal, the house shelters more than one ghost.

    Related: Our 12 Favorite Farmhouses Across America

  21. Lizzie Borden House in Fall River, Massachusetts

    Infamous house massachusetts

    Wikimedia Commons via DkEgy

    Lizzie Borden took an axe... and, well, you know the rest. The famous site of the 1892 “forty whacks” murder of Borden’s father and stepmother has become a national legend. Despite Borden's sinister reputation, she was never convicted and vacated the house after the crime. The site of the murders is now a bed-and-breakfast for those brave enough to enter.

    Related: Step Inside 12 Hotels That Take You Back in Time

  22. Henderson Castle in Kalamazoo, Michigan

    Infamous home michigan via gab482

    Michigan is said to be full of haunted houses, but Henderson Castle is one of the most infamous. The 1895 Queen Anne castle reflects the most elegant tastes of the time, with 25 rooms, seven bathrooms, a ballroom, and an elevator. Located atop a hill overlooking downtown Kalamazoo, the property is now a bed-and-breakfast that accommodates paranormal enthusiasts and nonbelievers alike.

    Related: 18 Castles You Can Buy (for Less Than You Think)

  23. Glensheen Historic Estate in Duluth, Minnesota

    Infamous home minnesota via jpellgen

    Located on 12 acres on the waterfront of Lake Superior, this 20,000-square-foot mansion was built in 1908 in the Jacobean architectural style. The sprawling residence, a stellar example of Midwestern craftsmanship, may be as spooky as it is beautiful: The site of a double homicide in 1977, the house is believed to be haunted.  

    Related: The Cost of 2,000 Square Feet in America’s Cheapest Cities

  24. Beauvoir in Biloxi, Mississippi

    Infamous home mississippi

    Wikimedia Commons via 

    This estate is notable as the retirement home of Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederate States of America. Located on the Gulf Coast, the 1852 structure has survived several hurricanes and now houses a library of Civil War documents and books about Southern history.

    Related: 20 Places with (Almost) Zero Crime

  25. Jesse James House in St. Joseph, Missouri

    Infamous home missouri

    Wikimedia Commons

    Notorious outlaw Jesse James was shot in the back by a former member of his gang in this house in 1882, where he was living under an assumed identity with his wife and children. The Greek Revival house is now a museum dedicated to its ne'er-do-well owner.

    Related: 11 Tiny Towns You Can Actually Buy—Yes, Really

  26. Shelter Island House in Rollins, Montana

    Infamous home montana

    Zillow Digs home in Rollins, Montana

    If the $17.75 million price tag on this 18,646-square-foot home on Flathead Lake in Montana seems steep, consider that it was listed at $78 million as recently as 2012.  With an indoor shooting range and heated boat stall, this 22-acre estate on a private island is too grand for its own good.

    Related: How Much!? You Won't Believe the Price of These Teeny Tiny Apartments

  27. Captain Bailey House in Brownville, Nebraska

    Infamous home nebraska via Ali Eminov

    This 19th-century Gothic Revival house was built for Benson M. Bailey, a Civil War captain who was poisoned by an enemy and is rumored to still haunt his home. Now a historic house museum, it was moved brick by brick to its present location in Brownville, Nebraska, after the nearby Missouri River changed course enough to endanger the original site.

    Related: 11 Incredible Mansions That No One Wants to Buy

  28. Bliss Mansion in Carson City, Nevada

    Bliss mansion in west side historic district

    Wikimedia Commons

    The 8,500-square-foot home of millionaire Duane L. Bliss was once the largest and grandest in the state. Built over a former cemetery (the bodies were moved to make way for construction), this mansion has long had a reputation for playing host to ghosts.

    Related: 20 Must-Visit Mountain Towns Across America

  29. Robert Frost Farm in Derry, New Hampshire

    Infamous home new hampshire

    Wikimedia Commons via Craig Michaud

    Robert Frost called this Derry, New Hampshire, farmhouse home between 1900 and 1911. A letter Frost wrote in 1952 documents that the property served as a source of inspiration for several of his renowned works. “The only thing we had was time and seclusion,” Frost wrote. “I couldn't have figured on it in advance. I hadn't that kind of foresight. But it turned out right as a doctor's prescription."

  30. Watcher House in Westfield, New Jersey

    Infamous home new jersey

    Zillow Digs home in Westfield, NJ

    "Watcher House" sounds like the title of a horror movie, and, appropriately, the history of this so-named home in New Jersey reads like a movie script. After the current owners bought the home in 2014, they received a series of sinister and threatening letters that made it appear that the house was being stalked by a stranger. The owners have listed the home for sale since then, but even after multiple price reductions (and a lawsuit against the former homeowners), it still has no takers.

    Related: 10 Low-Cost Ways to Improve Your Home Security

  31. The Breaking Bad House in Albuquerque, New Mexico

    Infamous home new mexico via Clay Gilliland

    Before turning to a life of crime, Walter White of "Breaking Bad" lived a peaceful life in a typical Albuquerque home. But peace isn’t exactly what real-life homeowner Joanne Quintana has been experiencing, even years after the show’s final season. In response to the antics of overzealous fans who have come out in droves, taking photos, trespassing, and even throwing pizzas on the roof in a nod to a memorable scene from Season 3, she recently installed a 6-foot-high fence around the property.

    Related: What 11 Ordinary People Paid to Live in Your Favorite Movie Home

  32. Amityville Horror House in Amityville, New York

    Infamous house new york via murdoc

    This stately home that served as the backdrop for a gruesome mass murder sits in the town of Amityville on Long Island in New York. The horrifying crime inspired a popular book, several sequels, and a number of movies that chronicled alleged paranormal events that transpired after the murders, cementing the home’s place in haunted house history.

  33. North Carolina Executive Mansion in Raleigh, North Carolina

    Infamous home north carolina

    The Executive Mansion of Raleigh, North Carolina, was built in 1891 to house the governor and serve as a meeting space. To keep costs down, inmate labor was used wherever possible; look closely, and you’ll see that some of the bricks bear the names of the men who made them.

  34. Fort Mandan in McLean County, North Dakota

    Infamous home north dakota

    Wikimedia Commons via Gooseterrain2

    Fort Mandan served as the winter encampment of the Lewis & Clark Expedition from 1804 to 1805. It was at this site that Lewis and Clark prepared detailed reports on things that they had done and people they had met on their famous journey westward. The current structure, a reproduction, is open to the public. 

    Related: 15 Places Every American Should Visit at Least Once

  35. Franklin Castle in Cleveland, Ohio

    Infamous house ohio

    Wikimedia Commons via Cricchetti

    Located on Franklin Boulevard in Cleveland, Ohio, Franklin Castle is still standing strong after more than 125 years. The house was built by German immigrant Hannes Tiedemann as both a home for his family and temporary housing for others emigrating from Germany. Today, however, it's best known for its alleged hauntings.

    Related: The 20 Friendliest Cities in America

  36. Westhope in Tulsa, Oklahoma

    Infamous home oklahoma via Joffre Essley

    Frank Lloyd Wright designed this Tulsa home in 1929 for his cousin, Richard Lloyd Jones. Though Wright is considered one of the most iconic architects in American history, the house had one serious flaw: The flat roof tended to leak, which caused Jones’s wife, Georgia, to muse famously one day during a downpour, "This is what we get for leaving a work of art out in the rain."

    Related: The 12 Most Infamous Goofs in Architectural History

  37. The Flavel House in Astoria, Oregon

    Infamous house oregon

    Wikimedia Commons via Visitor7

    This two-and-a-half story, 11,600-square-foot Queen Anne occupies an entire city block in Astoria, Oregon. Built in 1886 for Captain George Flavel, a river bar pilot and prominent local businessman, the home has beautifully withstood its trying history. Having survived a fire that claimed most of downtown Astoria in 1922, the house was then nearly bulldozed twice to make way for recreational space and a parking lot. Both times the community rallied to save the building, which is now a historic house museum, from an untimely fate.

    Related: 16 Iconic American Homes Torn Down Before Their Time

  38. Angelo Bruno's Rowhouse in Philadephia, Pennsylvania

    Bruno home

    Google Maps

    The home of Philadelphia mob boss Angelo Bruno became well known after his much-publicized assassination in 1980, but that notoriety wasn't enough to earn this home a spot on the city's list of historic landmarks. Although the house was nominated in 2016, the Committee on Historic Designation determined that Bruno. while certainly infamous, wasn't significant enough for the house to warrant designation.

    Related: Step Inside 12 Hotels That Take You Back in Time

  39. Governor William Sprague Mansion in Cranston, Rhode Island

    Sprague mansion

    Wikimedia Commons

    The birthplace of two Rhode Island governors (Governor William Sprague III, and Governor William Sprague IV), this home was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. Since then, it has been the site of a controversy involving two 19th-century cannons displayed on the property that were used by Governor William Sprague IV's regiment in the Civil War. Both the Cranston Historical Society and Rhode Island National Guard claim ownership of the historic weaponry, although the two sides have reached a detente that allows the cannons to remain on the grounds—for now.

    Related: 17 Things You Won't Believe People Actually Collect

  40. Burt-Stark Mansion in Abbeville, South Carolina

    Infamous home south carolina

    Wikimedia Commons via Upstateherd

    It was at the Burt-Stark Mansion in 1865 where Confederate President Jefferson Davis was convinced by his cabinet that it was futile to keep fighting. The Greek Revival residence and its contents were donated to the local preservation commission by its last owner, Mary Stark Davis.

    Related: 21 Crazy But True Facts About the White House

  41. Adams House in Deadwood, South Dakota

    Adams house

    The gold rush town of Deadwood is regarded by locals as haunted, and the Adams House is perhaps one of the most well-known "ghostly" properties in the area. It was state of the art in 1892, with electricity, indoor plumbing, and telephone access, but it was abandoned by its mistress after the death of her husband, who is said to haunt the home.  

    Related: 11 Tiny Towns You Can Buy—Yes, Really

  42. The Hermitage in Nashville, Tennessee

    Infamous home tennessee

    Wikimedia Commons via Jim Bowen

    Also known as “Home of the People’s President,” Andrew Jackson's residence, the Hermitage, sits on a 425-acre farm. Originally built in the Federal style, it was given a Greek Revival renovation after a fire destroyed much of the home in 1834. The house, which some believe is haunted, is open throughout the year for ghost tours.

  43. Beer Can House in Houston, Texas

    Infamous home texas

    Wikimedia Commons via Andrew Wiseman

    A retired upholsterer, John Milkovisch of Houston, Texas, had completely filled up his yard with handmade landscape features he created from marbles, rocks, metal, and concrete. The next logical step? Adding beer can siding to his home—roughly 50,000 cans in all. Though the original residents have gone, today the “Beer Can House” is a permanent exhibit of the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art.

    Related: Weird or Wonderful: 22 Homes That Are Anything But Ordinary

  44. The Lion House in Salt Lake City, Utah

    Infamous home utah

    Wikimedia Commons via Bobjgalindo

    It’s the lion statue guarding the door that earned this home its apt moniker, the Lion House. Built in 1856 for Brigham Young, who lived and died there, the space today is a restaurant and event hall—and is, of course, said to be haunted.

  45. Ethan Allen Homestead in Burlington, Vermont

    Infamous home vermont

    Wikimedia Commons via Mfwills

    The Ethan Allen Homestead was the last home of General Ethan Allen, Revolutionary War soldier and one of the founders of Vermont. His small, modest frame house fell into disrepair for a time, but today it's a center for living history, where visitors can learn about Ethan Allen as well as the challenges of 18th-century life.

    Related: 17 Log Cabins We Love

  46. Ferry Plantation House in Virginia Beach, Virginia


    Wikimedia Commons

    This plantation house has played many parts in the course of its centuries-old history, including courthouse, school, and post office. Built by slaves, it is said to be haunted by 11 spirits, and is available to the public for educational tours.

  47. Ann Starrett Mansion in Port Townsend, Washington

    Infamous home washington via A.Davey

    George E. Starrett built this stunning 1889 home for his beloved wife, immortalizing her likeness in hand-painted frescoes depicting spring, summer, winter, and fall, although fans of the paranormal say the frescoes aren't the only traces of the former owners that you'll find here.

  48. Berkeley Castle in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

    Berkeleycastle westvirginia

    Wikimedia Commons

    When Colonel Samuel Taylor Suit broke ground on what is now Berkeley Castle, he dreamed of sharing the Medieval-style mansion with his new wife, Rosa. However, in 1888, the Colonel died suddenly, leaving Berkeley Castle to his widow. Once ensconced under its turreted roof, Rosa went on to live lavishly—well beyond her means—often hosting elaborate, expensive parties on the property. Ultimately, the house sold at public auction and today operates as a wedding and events venue. Rosa died with no connection to the place, but legend has it that her ghost continues to haunt its halls. 

  49. Taliesin in Iowa County, Wisconsin

    Infamous home wisconsin

    Wikimedia Commons via QuartierLatin1968

    Once the estate of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, this 800-acre property served as a center for inspiration and innovation throughout his career. Its legacy is marred, however, by a tragic attack that resulted in the deaths of seven people and the burning of a portion of the house. Wright, who was in Chicago at the time of the incident, would later rebuild the damaged wing of the house.

  50. George Ferris Mansion in Rawlins, Wyoming

    Infamous home wyoming via Onasill ~ Bill Badzo

    This prominent Queen Anne in Rawlins, Wyoming, was built for George and Julia Ferris, who made their fortunes in the copper mining industry. Not long after construction began, George died unexpectedly, leaving Julia to complete the work. While it was beautiful in its day, the home sank into decline after Julia's death in 1931. It has since been restored and now serves as a bed-and-breakfast that is said to be haunted by the ghost of Julia's young son.

    Related: 18 Victorian Homes We Love

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