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Funny — it’s not mentioned in the real estate listing

Great news — H.P. Lovecraft’s Shunned House (AKA 135 Benefit Street, Providence) is for sale! And for less than a million bucks!

Benefit Street is the oldest residential street in the US of A (Williamsburg is older, but is no longer residential); most of the houses along it are 18th Century. So I was surprised to read — if this article is correct — that the street was widened and a whole row of even earlier houses razed to build the current street.

Ol’ 135 really did have a creepy history from the get go. It was built over the graves of a couple Huguenots who had lived on the earlier site. A subsequent mistress of the house went mad and babbled in French — a language she didn’t know. Pesky dead Huguenots — didn’t these people see Poltergeist?

Benefit Street was a dangerous slum for most of the 20th Century. It was just pulling itself up in the late Seventies, when I moved to Providence to go to the Rhode Island School of Design. My apartment was a block from the Shunned House, up a little blind side street called Bowen Street. It was a row of three or four Depression-era houses, each with three identical flats, one above the other. If you got drunk at a party in one, it was the very devil trying to work out where you were.

The whole street is very done-up and posh now, so I’m sure #135 is very nice. Plus — learn French without studying!

Dead Pool is all set up and ready to autopost tomorrow at 6 sharp, Weasel Blog Time. Be there or…don’t be there, I guess.

May 5, 2011 — 8:00 pm
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