Ghost of Mabel Milligan 2- Flagstaff Az. CVB 2017

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Grand Gallery

Artists- Margaret Dewar and R.E. Wall

 best milligan house mural

Flagstaff has its share of haunted buildings, but none quite as unique as the Milligan House. Mabel Milligan was a schoolteacher who passed away unexpectedly in 1923 from diabetes. She died upstairs and some believe she never quite left it.

See “Story of a Ghost” article.

Stepping up the creaky stairways in this two story Victorian house, one comes to a landing and a window. 

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When you get to the mid stairs landing, three framed pictures greet the viewer. We thought it would be fun to paint a couple framed pictures of chickadee’s wintering in a juniper tree. One of the two frames depicts an empty nest. In order to make the mural more interesting, we took the bird out of the empty nest and depicted her flying through an open window towards the frame with a twig in her beak.

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 Many of Mabel Milligan’s personal possessions were burned in a fire; therefore we have no existing pictures of her. A third larger picture frame contains a portrait of Mabel Milligan’s sister-in-law.

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Once upon a time, the Milligan House was decorated with Victorian wallpaper, but time and multiple remodels tore it all away. In order to give the stairway a realistic period look, we simply stenciled Victorian designs from wall to wall. A Mural Mice logo can be found in the center of a stencil at the top of the stairs.

Red Curtains

Looking up, Red drapes wrap around the space giving it a regal appearance. They are similar to red curtains found in theaters, with one exception, they have gold tassels and fringe throughout.

Window to 1916

The main feature of the stairway is an open window with a view facing East on a deep winter night. Looking through the window, we arrive at an interesting moment in history. The Majestic Theater was constructed in 1911. When it first opened its doors, John Weatherford, owner of the Weatherford Hotel, used it to show Flagstaff’s first movies. On New Years Eve 1915, one of the largest snowstorms in Flagstaff history crippled the Majestic Theater. Five feet of snow fell upon the town over night and the theater collapsed under the weight of the snow. In 1917, Mr. Weatherford rebuilt the theater and renamed it the Orpheum. It is certain that the snow-crushed theater was viewable from the second story of the Milligan House.

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Dark Sky City

Looking up, a celestial view on a moonlit night await you. A dark, star-filled night sky is often thought of as important to astronomers and researchers. In 2001, the City of Flagstaff became the World’s First “International Dark Sky City.” We wanted to blow the roof on the building, so we simply painted the grandeur of the night sky and hung a chandelier from the center of deep space on the ceiling.

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A work in progress

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In early 2016, Mural Mice artists met with the CVB director and Creative Team to discuss the complexities of a mural in the midst of a narrow winding stairway. The Mural Mice have taken on many challenges in the past, but this canvas seemed to be a bit awkward because ladders would have to rest on the inclined stairway. That is until R Star took charge of the foundational problems. A custom platform and shelf were fabricated to level the stairs for the extension ladders to stand on. The platform allowed the CVB staff to pass down the stairs and past the construction with relative ease.

Stairs maggie dewar 2017

Maggie Painting Space r.e.wall2017


Ghost experiences-

We like to think that Mabel’s ghost loved the mural addition to her home. After all, the mural was meant to honor her spirit. Sure, she may have tossed our $2000 lap top computer down the stairs. Maybe she even pushed self controlled Maggie Dewar over the edge when an unexpected force threw her paint tray off the ladder. This doesn’t necessarily mean that she is an angry or evil ghost. Towards the end of the project, we found a surprise. An unexplained pot of hot coffee was brewing in the kitchen during a late night session and just when we needed it most.   

Wall Paper