Campus legend says that the old Rossborough Inn is haunted. In fact, there have been numerous sightings of ghostly figures over many years.
Larry Donnelly had an office in the Rossborough back in 1981 while it was being renovated. The now retired dining services manager was in his office early one morning when a gust of wind blew through an open window. He looked out the door to see what he says was the smiling face of a woman that could be the ghost of "Miss Betty." She is thought to have been the manager of the Rossborough during the Civil War.
Stephen Oetken served three tours of duty for Dining Services in the Rossborough. He says that while he's never seen a ghost, "You just never feel as if you are alone in that place." He has some great stories: "I had office space with one of the corner windows in the third floor. It was one of those half moon windows you can see up on the building. Well, the alarm was tripped, campus police called us and we had to go over to see what the problem was. We couldn't find anything, until I opened my office door. The window was open. Not cracked. Open. The police said that a squirrel might have done it. But the window latches from the INSIDE."
And then there's the case of the mysterious vase: "There is a bathroom upstairs that was being used as a storage space, just full of clutter. Well, someone cleaned out the bathroom of quite a bit of junk and then locked up and left for the evening. This person was the first one in that morning and she called me in a panic. I went over, and sitting on the ledge in the bathroom was a vase, with one flower bud carefully placed inside. It wasn't there the night before. I knew what every piece looked like in that Inn, and I can tell you that I have never seen that vase before."
Student Deborah Koch investigated the Rossborough Inn in November, 1976 for a Maryland Folklore Archives assignment. Jean Gloff was the manager of the Faculty Club back then. She told Koch that there had "been a few experiences" including one just a few weeks earlier. "One of the boys went downstairs to lock up a door, he was leaving. And on his way to the basement, there is a door to the basement and the doorknob turned and the door opened, and he expected to see me on the other side and no one was there."
Gloff also told a story about a "boy (a student) who lived here as a kind of caretaker" a number of years earlier. "We have a bathroom in the south wing and he was taking a bath and he got out and there was a face on the mirror... in the steam. And that kind of spooked him, he was there by himself." And then there were the lights. "They go on and off" by themselves, Gloff reported. "Especially when you're here by yourself."
A story in the Diamondback student newspaper back in October, 2002, reported a specialist in the paranormal claimed to see two "good natured" spirits sitting on stools in the adjacent Carriage House restaurant on the first floor.
The Rossborough Inn was built between 1804 and 1812 by
John Ross - a landowner and tavern keeper. The land and inn passed through various hands until it became part of the Calvert family holdings. In 1858, Charles Benedict Calvert (left) and his brother George Henry sold 420 acres of their Riversdale plantation, including the Rossborough Inn, to the
Maryland Agricultural College. The Rossborough has served various
functions for the university over the years. Today it houses University Publications and continues to be used for alumni and faculty events.
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