The Welty House of Gettysburg

Posted by in US Ghost Adventures

The Welty House, the most haunted location in historic Gettysburg, resides on land that once hosted one of the most gruesome and decisive battles of the Civil War. This six-bedroom Victorian brick home was used as a Confederate sniper’s nest during the Battle of Gettysburg. 

This battle proved to be a turning point in the war for Union forces, all while littering the Welty House with bullet marks and spiritual activity. The blood-soaked fields that lay around the home would never be the same. Today, the spirits of Confederate and Union soldiers haunt the historic home. Captivating enthusiastic ghost hunters and terrorizing others more unsuspecting.

Why is The Welty House Haunted?

The battle of Gettysburg took the lives of roughly 7,000 Americans. It was a bloody battle that lasted three days in the farmland surrounding the Welty House, which was occupied by Confederate snipers hoping to push Union troops back to Cemetery Ridge. The family of Solomon Welty hid in the basement while bullets whizzed above their heads. The traumatic energy left behind has riddled the home with otherworldly activity.

The Welty House and The Battle of Gettysburg

Built in 1838, the Welty House stood long before early American democracy split in two. The onset of the Civil War brought great tension to the fledgling nation, and by the time the Battle of Gettysburg began, it had been raging for two years. The nation was tired, and the Welty House was hardly thirty years old.

The original occupant, a man named J. Schwartz, and his family lived here until 1853. There is indication that he sat on the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1819 and by 1861 was a member of a Grand Jury in nearby Germany, PA. In 1853, J. Schwartz graduated from Pennsylvania College, now Gettysburg College. The same year, the house was sold to a man named Robert Johnson. Johnson lived here for merely a year, selling the home to Solomon Welty. Welty was a prominent member of society and was involved in the County Central Committee in 1851. 

He passed in 1884 of “disease of the heart,” as stated in the November 18th, 1884 edition of the Gettysburg Compiler. Welty and his family, a wife and five children, endured the hardships of the Civil War within the brick walls of this historic home.

On July 1st, 1863, the Battle of Gettysburg began. Confederate Major General Henry Heth led a force of 30,000 men into Gettysburg, which overwhelmed the 20,000 Union soldiers stationed in the township. Union forces quickly retreated to Cemetery Hill to fortify the area. The bloody battle continued for two days. As more and more reinforcements arrived, the number of men involved in the skirmish would skyrocket to 165,000. 

When it was all said and done, 23,000 Union casualties had been counted, along with the 28,000 Confederate soldiers. Ten thousand in total were missing or captured, and 7,000 were killed in battle. The Welty House played a key role in this display of violence.

The Spirits of The Welty House

As the fighting raged on, Weltz, his family, and their neighbors hid themselves in the basement. Hoping that their house would survive. Gunfire echoed through the house, permanently marking the walls and infrastructure of their home. Loud thuds shook the ceiling of the basement. One by one, Confederate snipers were picked off by Union sharpshooters. 

Due to the civilians inside, the house was spared the artillery reserved for such matters. When it was all said and done, Confederate forces, led by Commander Robert E. Lee, retreated, broken and sore, to Virginia. The battle proved to be a major turning point in the war for Union forces and for the House.

It would never be the same again. Marks from the battle still scar the exterior, and many of these fallen soldiers were buried right there on the property. The pockmarks along the red brick wall are not the only reminder of the carnage that took place here. Many guests report a mysterious loud whizzing emanating through the house. 

Like the sound a firework makes before it goes off, the sound of a flint lighter attempting to be lit is generally heard alongside it. These are the sounds of the battle, still raging in the afterlife. Visitors and workers alike have heard disembodied voices in the various rooms of the Welty House and its sister, the Victorian-styled Brickhouse Inn.

A wealthy banker named Charlie Toot built The Brickhouse Inn in 1898. He and his wife Harriet lived in The Welty until her passing in 1996. Many say that Charlie’s ghost still meanders around the old hotel and his former home. He can be seen in the Ohio room, wearing his favorite brown dress shoes. 

Along with his appearance, he is known to slam doors and enjoys giving hotel employees orders. Many visitors to the Welty House have heard furniture being dragged around the various bedrooms and raucous noises coming from upper-level rooms. The same rooms where Confederate snipers held their ground.

Who is haunting the Welty House?

  • Spirits of Confederate and Union soldiers. They often speak loudly and move furniture
  • Charlie Toot. Former owner of the home and builder of the adjacent Brickhouse Inn
  • Mysterious shadow figures. Likely more soldiers
  • The two children the Welty family lost before the Civil War

The Ghosts of Gettysburg

Dark shadow figures have been seen along the walls of The Welty House. Apparitions are continuously captured in photographs in the hallways and along the staircases. The sounds of a long-past battle are constantly repeated. Those who took place in that battle are stuck in a traumatic loop of violence and fear. Gettysburg was one of the most violent battles in the Civil War. It has left a permanent mark upon the Welty House. 

Not far from the house, roughly a two-minute walk, is The Soldier’s Cemetery. Some months after the deadliest battle in the nation’s history took place, Abraham Lincoln gave his infamous Gettysburg Address here. Forever cementing the small township into American lore.

The Welty House and The Brickyard Inn are both bastions of history. Standing strong against the wreckage of time and destruction of war while simultaneously offering a historical experience like no other. Some come prepared for what lies beyond our known conception of time. Others find themselves perplexed as they step into a time warp. Bullets ring out, soldiers yell over the sounds of cannon fire, and shadows appear along the walls. Images burned into the present, emanating from the past.

Thinking about visiting Gettysburg? Stay with us at The Welty House and book a ghost tour of Gettysburg to get fully immersed in the history of America’s most tumultuous time.