Phillips County is located on the beautiful high plains of Northeastern Colorado (map). Situated less than 30 minutes south of Interstate 76
and I-80. The county's Eastern border presides next to Southwestern Nebraska. The county is only 150 miles (approx. 2-2.5 hrs) from Metro
Denver and major U.S. trade corridors.
Established in 1888, Holyoke's residents are proud of their prosperous, progressive city, located in one of the best farming areas of Colorado.
Publicized as the "City of Pride and Progress," visitors praise the community's well-kept appearance and are impressed by the beautiful lawns,
trees and picnic parks.
Over 145 businesses serve visitor and residents needs alike. Holyoke proudly boasts its high quality education, health care and technology.
Located at the crossroads of US Highways 6 and 385 in Northeast Colorado Holyoke is surrounded by excellent dry and irrigated cropland. It
is less than an hour's drive to both Interstate 76 and 80. Holyoke is county seat of Phillips County and is a progressive but peaceful place to
Heginbotham Library: Haunted by more than just good books?
The Holyoke Heginbotham Library is home to once the residence of Mr.Heginbotham.
Holyoke Enterprise article
According to local legend, if the light to the former nursery at Heginbotham Library is seen to be on at night, it means Mrs. Heginbotham's
ghost is about.
By April Peregoy
Every town has its own ghost story or haunted building and Holyoke is no exception. Ever since it was constructed in 1921, the former home of
Will Heginbotham, which now houses the Heginbotham Library, has been surrounded by an aura of mystery that has been the basis for many
whispered speculations and rumors.
It makes perfect sense that some people in town believe the old building is haunted, for it contains all the ingredients needed for a good
ghostly setting: an old, uniquely-styled mansion with a secret passageway, and former inhabitants who were described as exceedingly private
and reclusive as well as rich.
Yet, a search to find one person who has actually had a ghostly encounter in the library (or at least someone willing to admit it) has proved
fruitless. Many people were willing to admit to feeling "creepy vibes" at one time or another when they were in the building, but nothing further.
Even librarian Laura Roth, who said she spends a lot of time after hours at the library, had no spooky stories to tell about the building.
"I get that question all the time, especially from the elementary students, of whether the library is really haunted, and I tell them it is haunted by
good books," she said. She added she doesn't like to perpetuate the belief the library is haunted as she doesn't want to frighten anyone away
In fact, Roth said she even goes so far as to not turn the lights on when she visits the building after dark because she doesn't want people to
think there are lights on when they shouldn't be.
That's probably because one of the best known legends about the haunting of Heginbotham Library involves lights being on at odd times of
Barb Kreider, who is the current president of the Library Board, lived across the street from the building for about 10 years. She said there
were nights when she noticed lights had been turned on in the building at times when nobody could possibly be inside-and most frequently
from the room that used to be the nursery.
The popular story among young kids in town is that if there is a light on in the former nursery, it means Mrs. Heginbotham's ghost is in the
room. This belief stems from the rumor that, before she died, Mrs. Heginbotham spent a lot of time in the nursery crying over the fact she was
never able to have children. Aside from Kreider, no other employee, former employee, board member or neighbor of the library could think of
a time when they witnessed anything strange. Virginia Mosenteen, whose mother Dorothy Anderson was a former librarian, said her mother
never endured anything out of the ordinary other than the occassional squirrel that would find its way inside.
In 2002, three Holyoke High School students set out to document their search for any truth to the local folklore for Jerry Baum's television
productions class. Adam Millage, Dusty Sprague and Laurie DeBoer even explored and examined every inch of the library's basement after
hearing rumors that it contained secret passageways. In a small garden level room off the side of the main basement area, they found a wall
that seemed to be made differently than the rest of the walls and appeared to have newer cement. They said it might have been a
passageway to the carriage house, but they could find no substantial proof.
According to City Supt. Mark Brown, however, it is true there used to be a secret tunnel between the basement and the carriage house,
though it was filled in long before he began working for the city. The floor of the carriage house used to be made of wood, which eventually
needed to be replaced when the wood became rotten. When workers came to replace the floor with the now concrete one, they found the
tunnel's trap door and passageway. During the floor replacement, the tunnel was filled in and all the wood removed.
Information like this is exactly what adds fuel to the fire of speculation surrounding Heginbotham Library. But perhaps no one created more
mystery and speculation about the home than Mr. Heginbotham himself. Described as a very private, standoffish type of person, it is said he
never invited anyone over to visit the house. Curiosity drove people, mostly children, to brave a look over the fence into the gardens, only to
have Heginbotham scare them away with a yell. Eventually, everyone in the county had their chance to look inside when Heginbotham died in
1968 and left his estate to Phillips County. But still the spooky stories continued, passed on to each new generation.
Perhaps these tales still exist because people want to believe it is haunted. The library's after-school employee, high school student
Samantha Redfern, might have expressed it best when she confessed she actually wishes she could witness "something creepy" happening in
"I just like that kind of stuff," she said. "I love scary movies and old, creepy buildings."
And she's not alone. Every year the library's high school book club hosts a sleepover in the basement on Halloween night. The teens tell each
other ghost stories and watch scary movies, and they couldn't think of a more appropriate place in town to have it. As with all hauntings, it is
impossible to prove whether Heginbotham Library is truly haunted. However, one truth is certain: even if Mr. Heginbotham's spirit has moved
on, his name and legacy will live on forever in the town of Holyoke-from the many projects his Trust has funded since his death, to those who
still seek the truth about who he really was in life.
539 S. Baxter Ave.
Holyoke, CO 80734
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