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The King-Cromartie House



Hidden behind its opulent glamor, world-famous nightlife, and sandy beaches, the “Venice of America” is plagued by a dark, secret underbelly. Widely considered one of the most culturally significant buildings in Fort Lauderdale, the King-Cromartie House has an eccentric history that dates back to the turn of the 20th century. And if you dare to look at the front porch swing, you might see one of its former owners rocking back and forth from beyond the grave.

QUICK FACTS:

  • Situated in its new location at 229 SW 2nd Ave. in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, the King-Cromartie House was built by contractor Edwin T. King in 1907
  • Bloxham Cromartie and Louise King inherited the family home shortly after, and it continued to pass through their relatives until 1968
  • In 1994, The Fort Lauderdale Historical Society was given custody of the building and opened it to the public as the King-Cromartie House Museum.

YELLOW FEVER AND OTHER DEADLY DISEASES RUN RAMPANT THROUGH AMERICA’S SOUTH

 

In 1887 and 1888, both Tampa and Jacksonville were hit hard by yellow fever epidemics, leaving thousands of residents dead. The disease, also known as “yellow jack,” essentially brought demise to Florida’s largest city in the 1830s, St. Joseph, which had a population of roughly four thousand. But doom soon followed in 1841 when a ship docking in the harbor brought a person infected with yellow fever to the city. By the end of the year, the town’s population dropped to less than 400. Many died or fled the town, as pesticides, vaccinations, and antibiotics had yet to be invented. This staggering devastation left St. Joseph little more than a ghost town, and sadly, it wasn’t the only part of Florida that would be affected by this fatal disease, thanks to the state’s persistent mosquito problem.

 

THE EPIDEMIC’S IMPACT ON THE KING-CROMARTIE FAMILY

After moving into the King family home on the south bank of the New River, the recently married Louise and Bloxham Cromartie decided to add a second story, resulting in the structure visitors can see today. Throughout their married life, the couple had two children and lived in relative bliss until sudden tragedy struck in the 1920s. During a yellow fever outbreak, Louise contracted the deadly illness, likely suffering jaundice, exhaustion, and bleeding until it eventually consumed her at what we would consider a young age. But just because Louise crossed to the other side, that doesn’t necessarily mean her soul has moved out of her ancestral home.

 



DO SPIRITS HAUNT THIS HISTORIC RESIDENCE?

Many personal witnesses claim that the King-Cromartie House is still very much haunted and is seemingly unable to shed its morbid past of death and disease. Several brave paranormal investigators have investigated this historic home, with some even daring to stay overnight within its cursed walls. Here, visitors often report hearing the sound of disembodied footsteps and the sounds of what appear to be young children playing, laughing, and running around—perhaps, other innocent lives that have been taken too soon, forever attached to this earthly prison. On the front porch, the swing has also been seen rocking back and forth entirely on its own, perhaps, being enjoyed by an otherworldly force from beyond the grave.

 

THE ENTITY OF LOUISE KING-CROMARTIE 

As for Louise herself, her translucent apparition has often been seen roaming the property and can often be spotted looking out her second-floor bedroom window. It’s no wonder that Louise is so attached to her family home, as those who die prematurely from disease are said to have a difficult time moving on from this ethereal plane and often stay at places they admire or are very familiar with. According to spectators, she’s been described as wearing a pink dress with blonde hair in a messy bun and ringlets on the side of her face. 

 

Louise is a pleasant, curious spirit who seems to like watching people as they stroll along the front of her house. Many have borne witness to her movements, the gentle swaying of curtains that, after a few moments, mysteriously close on their own when no one alive is inside the home to move them. Photographers have also caught a photo of an apparition in that same window, looking down at the people below her. 

 

THE KING-CROMARTIE HOUSE TODAY

Today, the King-Cromartie House can be found in Fort Lauderdale’s Historic Village, right behind the 1899 Replica schoolhouse, near Fort Lauderdale’s Historic Museum. The property continues to be managed by the local historical society and can be toured for just $10 dollars. For more on the most haunted residences in America’s South, visit our blog, and be sure to keep up with US Ghost Adventures on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.

 

Sources Cited:

 

https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/244504 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Lauderdale_History_Center 

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