Thursday, October 20, 2016

Davis House - Shreveport, LA (The King of Cotton)

804 Wilkinson St.
Shreveport, LA 71104

            As one drives down busy Line Avenue, it’s hard to believe that at the turn of the twentieth century, this main artery of the city was a simple dirt road. However, this did not deter Ella Hunt Montgomery from building her lavished dream home. Ella was the granddaughter of the extremely wealthy David “King David” Hunt, who earned millions in Natchez, Mississippi as a planter. At a time when cotton was king, so was David, as he owned a total of twenty-five plantations and one thousand seven hundred slaves during his pinnacle.
            Obviously, financial constraints were not an issue that Ella had to deal with. In search of a good location to build her home, she would opt for the Highland neighborhood, as its grounds were high enough to avoid flooding that often took place from the nearby Red River. In 1916, she would build her home on the corner of Wilkinson Street and Line Avenue. Here, she would really put a personal touch on her prized home, decorating it with lavished furnishings and such amenities as push button lights and high ceilings. As mentioned, the area of Line Avenue was in its infancy at this time but Ella’s home played a huge role in assisting the flourishing area in expanding a growing Shreveport southward.

            The home would eventually fall into the hands of Ella’s daughter, Mary Walton Montgomery who was married to a young general practice lawyer by the name of Clifton F. Davis. From this point on, the home would pass down to each generation of the Davis family, giving it its honorable name. For each generation that the home’s ownership changed hands, a different twist of personal touches was added. By 2002, when the home was finally sold out of the Davis family and to the Gills family, a walkthrough of the home was like looking at an architectural timeline. Beginning with Ella, the home tells a story of a prosperous family and the lives they lived.
             Today, the Davis Home is a regular stop for local haunted history tours, as years of ghostly rendezvous have been encountered. Almost immediately after the Gills moved into their new home, they began experiencing strange events there. The disembodied sounds of human voices and footsteps have been heard throughout the home when no one else is around. The main cause for much of the activity experienced here is said to be due to Ella’s daughter, Mary Montgomery-Davis. Her apparition has been seen on numerous occasions and her presence has been felt lurking around the corners. A local paranormal investigation team (Haunted Shreveport-Bossier) had the opportunity to investigate the Davis Home and came up with an extremely hair-raising encounter. In one of the rooms is an old Victorian-styled night gown on a mannequin frame. The investigators observed one of the sleeves lift up as though an arm was actually in the dress! They were not fortunate enough to capture the incident on video but the encounter was unforgettable to say the least.
             The Gills family assures that they are completely comfortable with the spiritual presence at their home, as they have learned to make it a regular part of their lives. In many cases, this is often the best approach to take. Embracing the hauntings and even ignoring them at times make them far less unnerving and in some cases, can even assist in dissipating such activity. For now, the Gills have no intentions of trying to rid the Davis Home of their eternal occupant. After all, in their minds, the house is just as much Mary’s as it is theirs and quite frankly, I couldn’t agree with them more!

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