Frankenstein’s house

Published 9:27 pm Thursday, September 6, 2012

You might remember the Spady House in Chuckatuck from its 11 Halloween seasons as a haunted house. More likely, your recollection is of a structure that has sat empty and decaying since 2006 in front of Kelly’s Nursery and Greenhouse on Godwin Boulevard in Chuckatuck.

Folks of a certain age in Suffolk have fond memories of heading into Chuckatuck around Halloween from 1995 to 2006 to be scared by the ghosts, goblins and other ghouls brought to undead life by Darren and Paige Barton and scores of volunteers. The house had the perfect haunted feel for the occasion, and it was a popular distraction as the weather cooled into fall.

But the haunted house finally died, and historical preservation groups were unable to convince the current owners of the early-18th-century home to devote the time, energy and financial resources that would have been necessary to restore the structure to life. Suffering from years of neglect, it was determined to be too much trouble to repair.

Email newsletter signup

But the home’s materials will live on, as Lee Duncan of the Isle of Wight Historical Society has volunteered to dismantle it and preserve those parts that can be used to repair other historical structures. The Smithfield Elks Lodge will be an early beneficiary.

It’s too early to say what, if anything, will replace the old house, which stands in the midst of deconstruction at the intersection of Godwin Boulevard and Kings Highway. And though it’s unlikely the site will ever host another haunted house, the people who visited Spady House in the fall for those 11 years will remember their fun times there for many years.

And the memory of the home will live on through its contribution to the lives of other area buildings, much as literature’s Dr. Frankenstein crafted a man from the parts of other dead men.

And that seems perfectly fitting.