Exploring the history of Phoenix, Arizona, just for fun. Advertising-free, supported by my patrons on Patreon. Thank you!

Searching for the ghosts of Minnie Powers and the Cockney in downtown Phoenix


If you're a ghost hunter, you may want to look for the ghosts of Minnie Powers and William Belcher, alias "the Cockney" (because he was from London, England) in downtown Phoenix.

The article at the top of this post, which is from 1899, is the first mention of ghosts in the house where Rose R. Gregory, known as Minnie Powers, was murdered by William Belcher, who then committed suicide. This house was a house of ill-repute, that is a place of prostitution, which at the time was just outside of the city limits of Phoenix, which was 7th Street.

The sad ending of two lives in 1898, William Belcher and Minnie Powers (Rose Gregory). From the Library of Congress https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn94051692/1898-09-24/ed-1/seq-1.pdf

The exact address was 720 Railroad Avenue, which would be 720 E. Jackson Street, just east of where Chase Field is now, east of 7th Street and north of the railroad tracks, which are still there. Of course the old buildings are long since gone, but presumably ghosts don't pay attention to that, and are still doing their haunting there.

1901 Sanborn map showing the exact location. The term "female boarding" was used to indicate houses of prostitution.

The ghost story from 1899, which is a followup to the murder/suicide a year earlier, says "...The house has been unoccupied for a long time, almost ever since the double tragedy. People who pass it at night hear things. So far nobody has seen anything, but almost any night there are noises as if heavy objects were being moved about and as if people walking heavily. ...Residents of the neighborhood have satisfied themselves that nobody of flesh and blood could be in the place. The doors and windows were found to be securely fastened and no signs of inhabitants have been discovered."

If you go there, and listen for sounds late at night, tell me what you find. I'm not going anywhere near there, I'll tell you that!

1898 article about the murder of Minnie Powers and the suicide of William Belcher in Phoenix, Arizona. From the Library of Congress https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84020558/1898-09-18/ed-1/seq-4.pdf
According to the records of the Pioneers' Cemetery Association, Rose Gregory (Minnie Powers) and  William Belcher (the Cockney) were buried in the Rosedale section of the Pioneer and Military Memorial Park, at 13th Avenue and Jefferson, Phoenix, Arizona.

More information here https://modenook.com/a-true-arizona-centennial-ghost-story/

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