In 1882, a Nevada City, California businessman named George Gehrig hired workers to begin construction on a large granite building. Chinese immigrants and Italian stonemasons were hired to help with building, including the construction of tunnels that ran underneath the facility.
Several decades later, the building was the site of Stonehouse Brewery, which lasted from 1850 through 1899. It is the most historic brewery in Nevada City.
While the brewery didn’t last, the building remained in use as a restaurant, bowling alley, and dance hall. Still known as the site of the Stonehouse Brewery, today the building is listed in the national register of historic places.
But history is not all that surrounds this beautiful building. Many Nevada City residents believe that a few of the Chinese immigrants hired to build the facility were killed by accident during construction. Now, their souls haunt the building—the underground tunnels in particular.
When Robert came to scope out the building as a potential place for his daughter’s wedding reception a few years ago, he had no idea about the local rumors.
“I struck up a conversation with one of the bartenders there, and told him what my potential plan was. He welcomed me to explore the building, get a feel for it, and see if it would be a suitable place for the reception. I remember it was very beautiful inside, with its beautiful stone walls and wooden architectural features.
“Aesthetically it seemed right but I wasn’t sure if it was big enough,” Robert said with a small frown.
“I remember walking deeper into the building and discovering that there was an underground tunnel built underneath.”
A Seemingly Friendly Conversation…
“I wasn’t sure if it meant strictly for staff or not, but they had a bunch of candles lit and nicely arranged along the passage, so I assumed it was meant to be seen by guests,” he shrugged.
“I walked down the stone steps and examined the white pillar candles and the flowers they had on display. Suddenly there was a large gust of wind as if someone slammed a door, and all of the candles blew out. Seconds later someone approached though I couldn’t see who it was in the darkness.
“’Oh, I’m so sorry, that was my fault,’ a woman said not two feet away. ’That’s okay, I have my cell phone here somewhere,’ I replied, fumbling in the dark for my bag.
“’Don’t worry about finding that, I have matches here somewhere,’ the woman answered—but she didn’t seem to be in any hurry to find them.
“She casually asked me why I was visiting and so I told her about my daughter’s impending wedding.
“’Oh, that’s wonderful!’ the woman exclaimed.
‘We don’t get enough visitors these days, especially not us down here.’
“The way she said it threw me off guard so I asked if she was one of the staff members. She seemed to hesitate in the dark before answering, ‘I’m a staff member from a long, long time ago—long before your time.’ I laughed at that and shook my head, ‘Well that’s not likely, seeing as you sound much younger than me.”
“That’s when she rattled a box of matches, and struck one against the box, softly illuminating the space. I looked at her strange eyes, old fashioned clothes and opaque dress in sudden fear.
“That’s the thing…” she said with a kind smile.
‘The dead do not age.’
“Her words confirmed what I knew in my heart to be true, and I bolted out of there. My daughter did get married about a year later—far away from Nevada City, I might add.”
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