Constructed in the late 19th century, The Whitney is truly an architectural marvel. It is a fine example of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture with only the highest quality materials used, such as pink jasper, sandstone, and Tiffany stained glass. Designed to exude the success of David Whitney, the mansion boasted an astounding 22,000 square feet, 52 rooms, ten bathrooms, 218 windows, and 20 fireplaces—an awe-inspiring spectacle of grandeur.
But behind the opulence is the story of a family shrouded in tragedy and tainted by less-than-savory behavior. The intrigue of their salacious tale is only rivaled by the hauntings that continue to plague the now-upscale restaurant.
For those seeking to unravel the secrets of The Whitney, US Ghost Adventures invites you on a journey into the otherworldly heart of Detroit with an authentic ghost tour. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or a thrill-seeker, our guided tours provide a unique opportunity to witness the spectral wonders that reside.
Constructed during Detroit’s Gilded Age, The Whitney was the vision of David Whitney, a lumber baron, and his wife, Flora. Completed in 1894, the mansion showcases a blend of Romanesque and Queen Anne architectural styles, reflecting the prosperity and elegance of the era. Each brick and pane of stained glass tells a story of the city’s industrial boom, and the Whitney family’s legacy is imprinted on every inch of its magnificent structure.
David Whitney was quite the character, going as far as to put in a hidden vault behind a fake wall that was in his dining room when most would hide such a thing in their study or library. The lumber baron focused on many things, not confining himself to one vocation but also working in banking and steamships.
This success was part of the inspiration behind the beautiful mansion, as he wanted a home that reflected the success of his outside life. It is interesting to note as well that Thomas Edison himself was a good friend of David Whitney and even ran the electricity himself.
As the stately walls of The Whitney gracefully ascended, Flora had envisioned a sanctuary where love and warmth would weave the fabric of a family home—a haven of nurturing dreams. Yet, fate proved cruel to Flora, cutting short her aspirations with an untimely demise, leaving behind unfulfilled dreams and a spirit seemingly tethered to the mansion destined to be her sanctuary.
Following her tragic passing, a grief-stricken David Whiteny would go on to find comfort in the arms of Flora’s younger sister, Sara. Just one year after Flora’s untimely death, the pair would go on to marry.
In the wake of her passing, Flora’s spectral presence bore witness to the painful spectacle of her sister and husband moving forward without her—a ghostly woman scorned by the cruel hand of destiny. The mansion, now a living testament to her husband’s triumph, stood as both a monument to unfulfilled dreams and a mausoleum of memories.
The mansion’s history, punctuated by reported hauntings and unexplained phenomena, became a canvas for the echoes of love and loss. Videos and firsthand accounts chronicle ethereal occurrences that mesmerized those daring enough to explore its haunted halls. The poignant tale of Flora’s unrealized dreams, juxtaposed with the grandeur of the mansion she never called home, cast an otherworldly aura over The Whitney.
Among the eerie happenings, the mansion’s director of operations witnessed unexplained elevator movements captured on security cameras during the hushed hours of the night. The staff, dating back to the mid-1980s, recounted chilling tales of spectral activities that permeated all three floors. The mansion’s reputation grew, earning features on the Travel Channel’s “America’s Most Terrifying Places” as well as the SyFy channel’s “Ghost Hunters.”
Amid these ghostly whispers, the second floor echoed with the ethereal laughter of children playing, documented through EVP recordings and videos capturing voices mimicking “Quiet on the set!” A haunting narrative unfolded in the third-floor ladies’ room, where a patron engaged in a mysterious conversation with a woman, later revealed to be no attendant employed at The Whitney.
Investigations yielded no evidence of the woman’s presence, leaving the patron shaken and questioning the eerie encounter. The Carriage House, where the lingering spirit of Grace Whitney resides, resounds with stories of children singing near her table. As the mansion’s grandeur unfolded, its halls breathed with the mysteries of Flora, David, Sara, and Grace, inviting those brave enough to delve into these haunted corridors.
In the years that followed, the mansion transitioned through various incarnations. It stood silent from 1917 to 1932, later serving as a hospice center for tuberculosis patients under the Wayne County Medical Society from 1932 to 1956. The mansion witnessed numerous lives entering and leaving its doors, hosting nursing offices and miscellaneous businesses, holding echoes of its diverse past.
In 1986, The Whitney began its most lively chapter as the renowned restaurant we know today. This historic edifice, with its ever-changing roles over the decades, invites you to delve into its mysteries. Discover the spectral wonders that linger within, as The Whitney stands as a testament to the captivating and chilling history of Detroit.
As dusk descends over the city, The Whitney beckons—a place where history and the spiritual realm intertwine. It offers an experience that is both captivating and chilling.
Join US Ghost Adventures on a ghost tour that transcends the boundaries of time, letting the mysteries of Haunted Detroit unfold before your eyes.