Fairlawn Mansion

Location: Superior, Douglas County, Wisconsin


The Reputed History:
  • The home was built by Martin Pattison, the first mayor of Superior.
  • A former housekeeper who was murdered by her husband haunts this house.  The Pattison family used to sponsor Scandinavian immigrants to America by paying for their passage to this country in exchange for a period of service at their home.  Martin Pattison was a kind man and usually treated the immigrants as if they were members of the family.  After completing her time of service to the Pattisons, one servant girl married and moved away with her husband only to be murdered by him shortly thereafter.  It is believed that her spirit returned to Fairlawn Manor because that is were she felt happiest and most secure during her short life.
  • The house was at one time an orphanage, and two young girls who drowned in the pool haunt the house. 




Martin Pattison 


The Investigation:  

  • Martin Pattison, a mining and lumber baron, was not the first mayor of Superior.  He was actually the second, third, and sixth mayor.
  • The 42-room mansion was constructed from 1889-1891 at a cost of $150,000.
  • The Fairlawn mansion was built as the family estate of Superior's three-time mayor Martin Pattison.  He lived there with his wife Grace and six children from 1891 to 1918. 
  • In 1918, Grace Pattison donated Fairlawn to the Superior Children's Home and Refuge Association to be used as an orphanage.  It was home to approximately 2000 children from 1920-1962.  During that time the pool was empty and never used.  No children ever drowned there.
  • There is no record of any children dying in the house; however, records from that period have been sealed by the county.
  • In 1963 the mansion was slated for demolition but was purchased by the City of Superior for $12,500 and has operated as a city-owned museum ever since then.
  • We have been unable to confirm the story of the murdered servant girl.
The Reputed Phenomena:  
  • The ghost of the murdered servant girl haunts the mansion.  Her apparition, in 1890's dress, is frequently mistaken for the museum tour guide since they dress in period costume, and she will help lost visitors find specific displays and then vanish into thin air.
  • The ghosts of two young girls has been reported in the basement playing near the swimming pool.
  • People experience a cold, damp chill in the air whenever the ghost of the servant girl is present.
  • After hours, lights have been seen in the windows on the upper floor.
  • Faces have been seen peering out the windows.
  • A figure has been seen in the tower.


The Investigation:  
  • According to an employee of the museum, nothing paranormal has been reported during the two years she has worked there.  There have been no sightings of a phantom tour guide or sprites by the pool.  She believes the stories originated with a creative director of the museum who worked there several years ago and that tour guides and local residents have embellished and contributed to the stories.
  • She confirmed that lights have been seen in the windows after the museum has closed, but explained that guides frequently forget to shut off the lights in some of the rooms after the last tour of the day.
  • Except for a three-week period during Christmas, the employees currently do not dress in period costume.

Designed by Terry Fisk
Copyright Unexplained Research. All rights reserved.
Revised: September 28, 2004

Designed by Terry Fisk
Copyright Unexplained Research. All rights reserved.
Revised: September 28, 2004