Ghosts of the Russ House - Marianna, Florida
Ghosts of the Russ House - Marianna, Florida
Ghost of the Russ House?
The historic landmark is located in U.S. 90
(Lafayette Street) in Marianna, Florida. It is so
beautiful that some say its former inhabitants linger.
The Russ House
The beautiful old home in
Marianna, Florida, is said to
be haunted by several ghosts.
Ghost in the Russ House?
A strange figure can be seen
in the window. Is it one of the
ghosts said to inhabit the
historic home?
The Russ House
Built in 1895 and extensively
renovated in 1910, the historic
home is a Marianna landmark
and may be one of the most
haunted houses in Florida.
The Ghosts of the Russ House - Marianna, Florida
Marianna's Haunted Landmark
The historic Russ House in Marianna is one
of the most beautiful old homes in Florida.
And if the claims of some are right, it is also
one of the most haunted!

Located at 4318 West Lafayette Street (U.S.
90) in Marianna, the historic structure is the
home of the
Jackson County Chamber of
Commerce and also serves as the county's
official visitor center. It is probably Marianna's
most photographed historic house.

But some of those photographs appear to
show much more than a beautiful old
building. As the image at left illustrates,
pictures of the house often capture a
shadowy figure who appears to be looking
out from the tower windows. He is one of
several manifestations that the Big Bend
Ghost Trackers organization says inhabit the
historic house.

The Russ House was built in 1895 by
Joseph W. Russ, Jr., a successful Marianna
merchant who also held large land holdings
in the county. The beautiful columns and
rounded two-story porches were added
during a renovation in 1910. For 100 years
now they have graced the gentle hill that
overlooks the intersection of Lafayette and
Russ Streets in Marianna.

The yard of the house is hallowed ground.
Although the Russ House itself had not been
built at the time, the intersection of Lafayette
and Russ Streets was where the heaviest
fighting of the Battle of Marianna began on
September 27, 1864. The area was then
known as Ely Corner and it was here that the
Union 2nd Maine Cavalry rode into heavy fire
laid down by Confederate troops. Several
men were killed and wounded within view of
the house. (For more on the historic battle,
please visit

Over the years the house's glory days drifted
past and it became a weathered gray and
gloomy place that sparked many stories of
ghosts and the supernatural. Some former
residents of the home concur and others are
not sure.

The Russ House certainly has seen its
share of tragedy over the years. There were
scandals over marriages, a fortune lost in the
great crash of 1929 and its builder, Joseph
W. Russ, Jr., committed suicide in 1930,
evidently despondent over the loss of the
family fortune in the Great Depression.

Former residents described mysterious
sounds and unexplained sights in the house.
One, in fact, recommended that Chamber of
Commerce employees think twice about
working alone in the house after dark!
The Russ House was renovated and
restored in the 1990s and is now publicly
owned. The strange happenings in the
house, however, have continued.

A number of different groups of paranormal
investigators have spent time in the house
with mixed results. One such group, for
example, reported an odd "perfume" smell
and concluded that elevator door openings
and closings were caused by a ghost.

Perhaps the most unique evidence of a
ghost in the house is the photograph at left. It
shows a mysterious figure in one of the
windows of the tower. The figure definitely
was not a person as the tower has no floor. It
functions as a skylight for the second floor.

Other eyewitnesses report that they have
seen a mysterious man with a mustache
standing at the top of the stairs and, of
course, the shadowy figure has been
photographed looking out of windows.

Haunted or not, the Russ House is one of the
most beautiful homes of its type in the South.

Located at Lafayette and Russ Streets in
Marianna, the Russ House is open daily
Monday through Friday during normal
business hours. There is no charge to visit.

For more information:
Copyright 2012 and 2013 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.

Last Updated: July 7, 2013
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