On present park property of York River State Park, many dwellings have come and gone, but one such dwelling carries with it a haunting past.
Near this site at a crossroads of what was once wagon trails on a farm stood a very large 2 story frame house supported by brick piers. This site was called “Richardson’s” on an 1863 map, but in fact the mapmaker was unaware that the owner was actually named “Richards.” Because there are many Richardson families in the locality, he assumed that this was just one more. So for historical accuracy, we’ll call this habitation “the Richard’s House” for now.
William H. Richards of New York built this house sometime between 1856 and just prior to the Civil War. No known photographs exist of the house in its younger years, but the by the mid-1930’s to early 1940’s the house had fallen into disrepair and stood as a lonely pillar of solitude. Because it was thought to be the dwelling place of ghosts, local youngsters in the early 1940’s called it “The Haunted House.” In 1969 after the Commonwealth of Virginia purchased the land, the Richard’s place still stood as gloomy as ever.
One day the caretakers of the property were out on a hike with their dog to witness for themselves this so called haunted house. Suddenly, a storm arose with lighting and thunder clapping loudly. The house truly did glow from the inside in front of their eyes. With gasping breaths they quickly decided to leave. It was at that time their dog broke loose from its leash and ran into the house. Try as they might to call for him, he would not return. They were NOT going into that dilapidated old place after the dog. All they could hear was loud and crazy barking and howling as if from many dogs. Needless to say, they scampered out of the woods back to their home.
The haunted house no longer exists today. In 1975 all old, insignificant structures in the park were knocked down and destroyed by fire as the Parks facilities were being built.