116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
VINTON — The Benton County Historical Society has decided to open up two of their locations to the public for paranormal investigations. The historic Horridge House, 612 First Ave., and the Vinton Train Depot, 612 Second Ave., will now be available for the public to book an investigation. There is a cost to book an investigation. All of the proceeds from the investigations will go toward preserving the historic locations.
The Benton County Historical Society is dedicated to preserving local history and being a resource for genealogical research for Benton County is the primary goal of the Benton County Historical Society. Operating as an all-volunteer organization since its beginning in 1970, involvement of members as well as non-members is key to obtaining this goal.
It is very important for the historical society to be able to preserve the history of the two locations so the public can continue to enjoy the rich history that Benton County holds. It is clear that the paranormal field has been becoming more and more popular over the last few decades, so this seemed like a great way to continue to bring in proceeds to continue the preservation of the Horridge House and Train Depot.
The Horridge House and Vinton Train Depot have had a few paranormal enthusiasts come to investigate, but there has never been a formal paranormal tour or guidelines set for the two locations.
The Horridge House was built in 1863. It is an excellent example of Carpenter Gothic-style architecture. It was built by George Horridge, a local tinsmith and community leader, and his wife Elizabeth. The house is made of brick believed to be of the local brickyards of that era. The original brass lion head door knocker still is attached to the front door. There also is a Romanesque sculptural relief, which was brought back from Italy by Carrie Horridge (George’s second wife) and in the parlor is a beautiful French pier mirror also brought to the house by Carrie Horridge. The death certificates of George Horridge and Catherine Smyth (Carrie Horridge’s mother) indicate that they died in the home.
The Vinton Train Depot’s construction began on Aug. 1, 1899, and it is considered one of the finest preserved passenger stations in Eastern Iowa. Here a visitor can look at a restored depot, study the hobo monikers in the renovated motorcar shed, and hop aboard a Rock Island Line caboose. It was built at a cost of about $40,000 and was dedicated March 1, 1900. The lower five feet of the exterior walls is of dressed stone of light color and the upper part of pressed brick. The floor of the depot is of terrazzo tile and the woodwork and wainscoting is white oak. The Depot is 132 feet long and 28 feet wide. There is a porte cochere 12 feet wide at the north side entrance.
Josh and Katie Hopkins are local paranormal investigators and authors, and will be managing the paranormal tours at the Horridge House and Vinton Train Depot. Katie originally is from Walford in Benton County. They come with nearly 10 years of experience in the paranormal field and experience with managing historic and haunted locations. Their paranormal experiences have taken them on many journeys, and they have been featured on numerous news stations and YouTube shows. Josh Hopkins also was a part of the Edinburgh Manor episode of “Ghost Adventures.” Katie graduated with her Bachelor of Arts Degree in History (specialization in Civil War History) in 2010 from the University of Northern Iowa, which ultimately lead to her interest in the paranormal. She also has been featured on “My Ghost Story” when it was on the Bio Channel.