By Jasmine Willis
ELBRIDGE— Having been named one of the most haunted places in New York this old Irish Pub rests in the sleepy village of Elbridge.
The Wayside Irish Pub got its start in 1830 as an inn built by Squire Munro to serve stagecoach passengers as they travelled west. The inn’s proprietor C. Stevens would provide accommodations for $1.50 a day. He advertised this to passengers on the Jordan and Skaneateles stagecoach lines.
Before the inn was built the land held a livery and before that it was uncharted land. The land was inhabited by the Oneida and Onondaga Tribes. When the American Revolutionary War ended it was part of the land charted to soldiers who survived the war. It didn’t take long for this community to rise from the wilderness.
The Wayside Inn had rich history in its own right followed by endless tragedy. It is no surprise it is named one of the most haunted places in New York. In 1913 a devastating fire destroyed the original building. Hotel employees and guests barely escaped with their lives by jumping out windows and sliding down the side of the building into the arms of townspeople. The building was rebuilt in 1915 by H.S. Longcoy who used the original Italianate design. While the building appeared similar to the original, it was now equipped with the finest decorations and latest technologies. It was truly an elegant resting place for travelers.
In 1941, the 'Cross Keys Inn' was sold to William Hoult and renamed the Wayside Inn. In 1960, there was another fire that damaged the building. The building closed for some time. Eventually, the inn continued as a restaurant and was sold to Frederick Weber in 1967. Weber renamed the restaurant 'Webers Wayside Inn.' This historic building has also been known as the Elbridge Inn and the Smart's Wayside Inn. Today it is the "Wayside Irish Pub."
Wayside Irish Pub Co-Owner Margo Spain gave a ghost tour of the pub to Jasmine’s Corner. Most of the activity is upstairs and in the basement. However, there is a hot spot in the bar as well.
“My husband and I have owned the pub for 11 years now. We have had a lot of paranormal experiences here. We have so many special groups wanting to come in. My husband has had a lot of unbelievable things happen to him as well,” she said. “I have had so many things happen to me here it is hard to mention them all. We have had psychics here that have come up with a lot of things without knowing anything about the history.”
Spain explained the many uses the building has had over the nearly 200 years.
“It served as a children’s hospital upstairs during the plague. It is so sad when you go into some of these rooms and hear the children. There is a pregnant woman who hung herself on the third floor. There were no suicide records kept in those days. If you go up and start talking about her story there will be things thrown at you. She gets really mad when we talk about her,” Spain said. “We have a soldier here who was walking from Syracuse to the livery to pick up his horse. He was shot in the back at the bar and he doesn’t know he is dead. We often that he pulls pony tails of girls at the bar. We have a full apparition of a girl that can be seen in the bar sometimes.”
Spain added that electronic devices like cellphones and such will go dead on top of the stairs or weird recordings will pick up activity.
“Things happen a lot of the times in the bathroom. We have a lot of negative energy in the there and in the back hallway. We had heard that unwed mothers would have their children taken away here, so we will hear babies crying. There is one room in the back where a man was killed, and there is a lot of negative energy coming from there.”
The place has so much paranormal activity that even local police officers have had experiences within the pub.
“We have so many stories of strange things happening here. We had a state trooper come in and thought he heard an intruder. We had a bachelorette party where the girls were in the bathroom and all the sinks turned on by themselves. There is a guy they call boots at the bar that got shot, and there is a lot of activity about him being murdered at the bar. When a group was investigating his story there were things that came off the rail and smashed,”
Spain said. “In the basement there is an old well in the liquor room. There is a lot of energy there. I think that is where the soldier was thrown down when he was shot. We had a priest bless the well outside but not inside.”
Spain mentioned the two fires that happened in the building at two separate eras.
“There was a big fire here in the turn of the century. The foundation, basement, and stairs remain original. The fire caused people to jump out of windows into the townspeople’s arms. They say no one died in that fire,” she said. “WE have had people who pass away and linger at the bar, because that is a familiar place for them. It will happen about three days after they have passed away. We see the lights flicker and you feel them hover over you. I have people I trust tell me they have seen many full body apparitions here.”
Spain is sensitive to this activity since she is a retired ER Nurse.
“I had my office in the basement for awhile. I remember hearing a really loud noise like an explosion above my head. I then heard a loud scream in a man’s voice shouting Help. It was coming from the bar, so I thought something really bad had happened. I went upstairs to check it out, and everyone was sitting at the bar. I asked them if they heard the loud explosion noise, and no one knew what I was talking about. A year later we had a new chef in the kitchen who heard the same thing. I think we were hearing the soldier being shot at the bar,” Spain explained.
Spain said her husband is an Irishman who has been a skeptic most of his life, but since they have owned this place, he has experienced many supernatural things.
Much of this is due to the tragedy that occurred within these tormented walls, but also to the atmosphere within the building itself. You will find an actual child tombstone above the bar. Along with Irish markers pulled from real coffins decorating the walls of the bar.
Reports of paranormal activity have been sighted in this pub going back to the 1960s. If you dare you can visit one of the most haunted places in New York and have a drink with the spirits.
Wayside Irish Pub is located at 101 West Main Street in Elbridge. They can be contacted at 315-689-0040 for tours. For more information visit https://waysideirishpub.weebly.com
Since this place promises to never disappoint this reporter had an experience of her own. There is a long recording picked up on my mother Lisa Willis’ cellphone of a ghostly occurrence. We believe it to be the soldier reaching out to us to share his story. After listening to it carefully several times we can confidently tell you that this is a legitimate haunting. When we were on the tour we were asking many questions about the soldier, and we were very compassionate about his story. I think this comes from the fact we are a very patriotic family. However, that is not all we had happen there. I saw what appeared to be a man walk out of a room on the second floor. I felt a strong need to take photos in a dark hallway, which later showed an orb following closer and closer in my direction. In the bar as we talk about the hot spot I felt ice cold fingers clasp around my arm. Whether you are a skeptic or a strong believer the fact remains that Wayside Irish Pub is a hot spot for paranormal activity.