Distant ghosts glide by as you gaze at this beautiful heritage home in Vancouver’s West End, and you’re drawn back to a time when apartments were non-existent and homes such as this dotted the neighborhood— a time when life was simple and families were close. Built in 1893, this Queen Anne, with towers, gables, balconies, chimneys, and large bay windows, sits unassumingly. Clapboard siding gave the house its distinct character, and it was rumored that the famous architect of the time, Francis M. Rattenbury, built the home. The garden features a gazebo where ladies held afternoon teas on beautiful days. British Columbia Gustav and Mathilda Roedde moved into the home with their six children and three Saint Bernards shortly after the construction was complete. Life was grand, and Mrs. Roedde was a fine cook and baker. From family accounts, the smells of baking permeated the house. Aromas of cinnamon, spices, fresh baked bread, and apple pie were everywhere. Amid all this happiness, tragedy was also a part of the family’s story. Anna Henrietta, the first of the six children, died at the age of 5 after eating poisonous berries. After her death, Mathilda was arrested and charged with poisoning her daughter. In time, the courts found her not guilty, but that did not alleviate the heartbreak of losing Anna. Another tragedy shook the family in 1925 when another child, Anna Catherine, Photo by Jan Gregory ROEDDE HOUSE HERITAGE MUSEUM 221 222 Encyclopedia of Haunted Places was killed while on duty at St. Paul’s Hospital. On that fateful day, one of the other nurses asked Anna if she would switch shifts. Anna was agreeable, but this decision cost her. A mental patient mistook Anna for the other nurse and stabbed her to death. Christmas Day was Anna Catherine’s birthday. Every Christmas afterward was met with sadness over the loss of another beloved child. To this day, the name “Anna” is not used in the house due to the tragic deaths of the two Annas. Vancouver Paranormal had the privilege of entering the Roedde House and seeing for ourselves how the family lived. The furnishings are late-19th century, and each room is divided with a receiving room complete with piano and fireplace. From the entranceway, a beautiful staircase leads up the bedrooms, a sewing room, and then continues up to the tower. The rooms are small by today’s comparison, but warm. Going through the rooms of the house, you feel that someone is watching you and you almost “hear” the family going about their activities. Cold spots float past, and some rooms are dark and feel occupied. The staff often feel watched when they attend to their duties. The bedrooms are silent, occupied only by mannequins in ancient clothing reflected in hazy mirrors. In the hallway, the very faint smell of spices can be detected. Can it be that Mathilda is still baking something for her family to enjoy? Or perhaps the tantalizing smell of cinnamon and cloves was simply imagined by this ghost hunter.
—Kathy Zuccolo Vancouver Paranormal
ROEDDE HOUSE HERITAGE MUSEUM 1415 BARCLAY STREET VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA V6G 1J6 TEL: 1 (604) 684-7040 WEBSITE: www.roeddehouse.org
Taken from the: Encyclopedia of Haunted Places -Ghostly Locales from around the World – Compiled & Edited by Jeff Belanger – Copyright 2005 by Jeff Belanger