Now You Know: Alice Wait haunts the old City Library
â??When youâ??re in the building at night, itâ??s a creaky old building,â?? said Peg Siciliano, Archivist at the History Center of Traverse City.
The walls of the History Center of Traverse City are covered with tales of the areaâ??s legendary people.
But if these walls could talk they would share the story of one hard-working librarian who should be resting in peace.
The History Center of Traverse City used to be the City Library. Shortly after it opened in 1905, Alice Wait began her legacy as a librarian.
â??By 1915, she was the head librarian and she remained as a librarian here until her retirement in 1950,â?? Siciliano said. â??She never married, so I believe this is probably her life, her passion.â??
Siciliano said she has heard stories from librarians who used to work at the City Library. She said they believe her spirit is still in the building.
â??Iâ??ve heard stories of doors closing when no one else is in the building, and footsteps,â?? Siciliano said. â??Theyâ??re all legends but Iâ??ve heard them several times.â??
Alice likes to keep the museum staff on their toes, even today.
â??Especially when Iâ??m having a really long day and Iâ??m really tired and Iâ??m tempted to cut a corner,â?? Siciliano said. â??I sort of feel like sheâ??s there saying, â??ugh ugh, you do your best, and you do your best all of the time.â??â??
This persistent spirit may not be roaming the floors of the History Center on her own. A cemetery used to sit beside the old library. Rumor has it that the wife of the founding father of Traverse City did not like where it was.
â??Mrs. Hannah didnâ??t like having a graveyard out her front window, and so she requested the city to move those graves, and they were moved over to what is now Oak Park,â?? Siciliano said. â??They may be here too!â??
Maddie Buteyn, the Exhibit and Events Coordinator at the History Center of Traverse City said she also feels Aliceâ??s presence when she is at work.
â??A lot of times itâ??s just me by myself here,â?? Buteyn said. â??I hate going into this room (Collections Room) at night by myself, just because it makes a lot of noises.â??
Buteyn said she often makes a list of things she needs to get from the Collections Room the next day because she is afraid to go in the room at night when she is alone.
â??Iâ??ve been here for one year and my office used to be in the loft, which is now the cupula that overlooks the museum and itâ??s such a cavernous space that you would hear things,â?? Executive Director Bill Kennis said. â??Now that my office is downstairs in the basement, I hear the doors open and close and I go upstairs and often there is nobody there.â??
Siciliano doesnâ??t think Alice is there to do anybody any harm.
â??I donâ??t think sheâ??s a malevolent spirit at all, I donâ??t feel that, I just feel like so much of her life went into this place that we can still feel her presence here,â?? Siciliano said.