Milwaukee’s Little Girl Blue
Ghostly footsteps walking the halls, doors that lock mysteriously, and lights that turn themselves on and off are all common occurrences in a stately manor overlooking the glistening waters of Lake Michigan. According to some, this Italian Renaissance-style villa is home to the apparition of a little girl in blue. Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum, located on 2220 N. Terrace Avenue, was built in 1923 for Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd R. Smith. Mr. Smith was the grandson of the founder of the A.O. Smith Corporation. It was deeded to Milwaukee County in 1966. In the years since, the staff at the Villa has reported lots of strange activity.In February of 2009, Villa staff was on hand during a private party. It was the birthday party for a grandchild of the Smiths, the original owners of the home. During the party, one Villa employee learned that the Smith children once shared an imaginary friend. The family members described this phantom playmate as a blond girl in a powder blue dress. They also claimed that this little girl blue wasn’t always confined to the imagination. Several Smith family members reported seeing her in the Villa over the years.
Later in the evening an older woman, who was one of the party guests, reported to the staff member that she was concerned about a little girl who was left alone upstairs. He dutifully went upstairs to investigate, but found no one. An hour or so later, when another party guest inquired about a little girl in a blue dress he had seen running down the hall downstairs, the staff member thought maybe someone was trying to play a trick on him. This was a cocktail party after all. It would be very unlikely that any children were present and the Villa employee had seen no children at all that night. Yet that was all about to change.
He entered the kitchen and glanced out the window, which looks on part of the downstairs hallway. Just then he saw a little girl in a light blue dress dash down the corridor, her long blond locks trailing behind her. He raced out of the kitchen to confront her in hallway. He was startled to find nothing there, but a mass of cold air in an area that was usually exceptionally hot. The realization that he may just have seen a ghost chilled him to the bone.If you’d like to explore the museum and grounds for yourself, you are welcome to visit Wednesday through Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Villa Terrace features fine and decorative arts dating from the 15th to the 18th centuries, wrought-iron masterpieces by Cyril Colnik, modern visiting exhibits, and a formal garden. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for seniors, students, and those in military service. Members and children (12 and under) are free. For membership details, visit http://www.villaterracemuseum.org/membership.html.