Skip to content

Chestnut Square in McKinney

Texas' second largest historical district
Photographs by J. Griffis Smith.

In the October 2013 issue, writer Laura Samuel Meyn takes readers to Churchill’s Pub in McKinney, which hosts monthly Psychic Night readings and is said to be haunted. Churchill’s is a stop on the annual Legends of McKinney Ghost Walks (October 19 and 26 this year), as are several buildings at Chestnut Square, a historical village a few blocks south of the downtown square.

“The Legends of McKinney Ghost Walks started five years ago,” says Chestnut Square Executive Director Cindy Johnson. “Many people don’t realize that McKinney has a 30-block historical district; it’s Texas’ second-largest historic district, second to Galveston.”

Chestnut Square’s collection of structures include a 1916 arts-and-crafts home, an 1870 Victorian cottage, an 1900 chapel, a 1918 grocery store, an 1870s Victorian Italianate house, and the town’s oldest homes (dating to 1860 and 1854). “And when you start researching their histories, you start turning up ghost stories,” says Cindy. “And when you start researching the ghost stories, you find there are often links to historical events that have happened here.”

“During the Ghost Walks, we have storytellers dressed in period clothing, and everybody gets a booklet and a map. It’s kind of like a pub crawl for ghosts, in that it’s a self-guided, self-paced tour,” she continues.

It turns out that ghosts are such a popular draw in McKinney that Chestnut Square hosts tours of its haunted structures monthly, year round. On the 3rd Saturday of every month, The Ghostly Hauntings of Chestnut Square tour takes intrepid guests (no one younger than 12 permitted; it’s that scary!) on a lantern-lit, two-hour tour. “The ghosts at Chestnut Square have not made themselves known to me, but they have made themselves known to many other people,” says Cindy. “You can even rent paranormal equipment, though there are now smart-phone apps for that. Our guide really knows the histories of the buildings here. We’ve had grown men run out of the houses in fear.”

To learn more about Chestnut Square and its programs, call 972/562-8790.

Back to top