Simmons Memorial Library is located at Seventh Avenue in Library Park in Kenosha.

Kenosha Calendar: Is Simmons Library really haunted?

Haunted tours, ghostbusters-style investigation set for this weekend

By Laura MarranKENOSHA.COM

After two decades in journalism, Marran earned her Master’s degree in Exceptional Education from UW-Milwaukee and has served as a special education teacher with Kenosha Unified School District since 2006. A Marquette University School of Journalism alum, Marran has lived in Kenosha since 1987.

Is the Gilbert M. Simmons Library really haunted? 

Over the years staff has reported paranormal experiences at the 120-year old iconic building in Library Square downtown. Those tales and more will be part of an updated, spooky behind-the-scenes tour as well as a separate ghostbusters-style investigation set for this weekend, after hours of course. 

Haunted Simmons Library Tours are limited to 12 people, and five sessions are scheduled: Friday at 6:45, 7:15 and 7:45 p.m., and Saturday at 5:45 and 6:15 p.m. Pre-registration is required. 

“The Library is a historic and architectural treasure, however, over the 121 years of library operations, many people have observed or experienced odd, unexplained phenomena,” staff wrote in the latest edition of the library’s News from Simmons newsletter. “Most of the strange events happen after hours, when the library is closed for business, which is also when we are offering our new, updated Haunted Simmons Tours.” 

Groups will be led into the nooks and crannies of Simmons Library, 711 59th Pl., to hear stories of past mysterious moments from staff, and learn interesting historical facts about the building that could explain those noises in the night. 

The story of Simmons Library is steeped in history and sorrow. 

The library was designed by renowned Chicago architect Daniel Burnham, one of the most sought-after architects of his time. His neoclassic style lives on in the Windy City thanks to the Field Museum and Marshall Fields building and as well as New York City’s iconic Flatiron Building. 

To have such a big name design the first building in a public park in Kenosha was quite a feat, but it was worth it to the city’s mayor at the time, Zalmon G. Simmons. He donated $150,000 (nearly $5 million in today’s dollars) to the construction project under the condition that the library be named for his deceased son. The city agreed, and the Gilbert M. Simmons Library opened in May 1900. 

That history lends itself to rumors that there is a secret tomb somewhere inside the building, and that the building itself was built over a burial ground; both tales are rooted in Zalmon Simmons’ expressed desire to be buried near his son. Other legends involve a female ghost, possibly a librarian still at work among the stacks.

The tour, which is recommended for adults and families with teens 14-and-up, involves significant stair climbing and masks are required. All sessions follow the same format, please register for one time slot only.

South East Wisconsin Paranormal Investigation Team

As a companion event, Simmons will host actual ghostbusters for Spirits in the Stacks, a special investigation at the Simmons Library by the South East Wisconsin Paranormal Investigation Team on Saturday from 7:30-8:45 p.m.

The Investigation Team has been granted access to explore areas of the building known to have had paranormal activity. The public is invited to view the investigation; the in-person event is full, as is the waiting list, but registration is still open to join the live event virtually.

Top Picks

A celebration of Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead begins Saturday from 1-4 p.m. at the Kenosha Public Museum, 5500 1st Ave. Participants will learn about traditions surrounding the holiday, make ofrendas (offering or altar), play Mexican games  and create paper crafts for celebrating at home. 

The event features educational displays by Bradford High School students. Admission is free. 


Liam Nugent

Country musician Liam Nugent will perform from 6-9 p.m Friday at Lotus Sports Bar, 3216 60th St.

The Southeastern Wisconsin-based Nugent has appeared on the TV series  “Nashville,” the ESPN College Football intro with Big & Rich, and has played over 700 shows in downtown Nashville. Nugent’s repertoire includes both country hits and originals. 


Candy fiends will find what they crave across the county line as Racine hosts back-to-back events Saturday. 

The annual Candy Crawl is set for noon-3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23 (and again on Oct. 30) in downtown Racine. Kids are encouraged to dress in costume and trick or treat at 30-plus businesses. Click here for a map of participating locations. 

The Great Pumpkin Chuckin Fest Presents the Great Candy Drop at the Racine County Fairgrounds, 19805 Durand Ave., Union Grove. The candy drop is set for 4 p.m. sharp at the helicopter launching area on the grounds, with other activities available before the main event. 

This children’s event is free and is subject to change due to weather conditions. 


Day Tripper 

The Milwaukee Public Market is already a popular attraction within an hour’s drive, and this weekend presents a golden opportunity to make that short jaunt to celebrate the Market’s 16th anniversary and Harvest Festival from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. 

The event features games, music, contests, specialty beverages, and of course food, all at Riverwalk Commons, located across the street from the market at 423 N. Water St. adjacent to the Milwaukee River.

Autumn-inspired activities scheduled throughout the afternoon on the Riverwalk include apple cider pressing, pumpkin carving, pumpkin bowling, and a scavenger hunt along the Milwaukee River hosted by Schlitz Audubon. The live music lineup includes Scott’s Gypsy Jazz and Frogwater.  

Attendees 21-and-older can take part in a fan-favorite tradition of sampling Lakefront Brewery pumpkin ale tapped from the market’s giant pumpkin.

Grab a sample of Lakefront Brewery pumpkin ale from a giant pumpkin.

A number of the area’s popular food trucks will be on site, including Meat on the Street and Press Waffles to Lush Popcorn and Pedro’s. Milwaukee Public Market businesses Margarita Paradise and Brew City Brand will also participate. Draft & Vessel, a seasonal outdoor vendor at the market, will be onsite with a 1969 van that offers tapped beer and soda on one side and has a retro gaming arcade on the other.

The Public Market will be accepting donations on behalf of Milwaukee Downtown for the Downtown Milwaukee Dog Park project during this year’s festival. 

The Lineup 

FRIDAY, Oct. 22 


Chaîne de gitane (‘30s and 40s French influences), Union Park Tavern, 4520 8th Ave 

Old Wolves, 9 p.m., Old Brown Shoes with Oscar Green, 10 p.m., Fusion, 5014 7th Ave. $10. 

Jeff Ward, 7-9 p.m. Ashling on the Lough, 125 56th St. 

Fluency, 58 Below, 504 58th St. 

Chaîne de gitane


TOBERfest, 6 p.m. Public Craft Brewing Co. 628 58th St. This inaugural event features the brewery Tober drafts, homemade brat tacos, contests for the best Oktoberfest outfits (men & women’s categories) and a stein-hoisting contest. 

Scream Queens Extravaganza, Doors open 5:30 p.m., Show starts 6 p.m. The Vault, 625 57th St. Hosted by Angela Devereaux. Gallery Reading, Drag Show, Costume Contest. $20 online, $30 at the door. 

Dr. Destruction’s Haunted Manor, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Jerry Smith’s Pumpkin Farm, 7150 18th St., $10.


Dinos in the Dark, Kenosha Dinosaur Museum, 5608 10th Ave. Advance registration required for time slots:  5 p.m.  |  6 p.m.  |  7 p.m.  |  8 p.m. $5 members/$10 non-members.

Mexican Folk Art Mirrors, 4-5 p.m. Northside Library, 1500 27th Ave. Design a mirror inspired by Mexican folk art and tin-embossing techniques. Ages 9-12. Registration required. 

Friday Fun Day (for families with children), variety of games, crafts, building toys and tech, 1-3 p.m. Northside Library, 1500 27th Ave. 

Preschool Storytime, 9:30-10 a.m. and 10:30-11 a.m. Southwest Library 7979 38th Ave.

Southport Light Station Museum, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., 5117 4th Ave. Free admission for the keeper’s house tour; donations are welcome. Lighthouse climb costs $10 for ages 12-and-over / $5 children 8-11 years old. (Must be 8-or-older to climb.) Through Oct. 31. 

Metra Irish Folk Jam

SATURDAY, Oct. 23 


Chicago/Kenosha Metra Irish Folk Jam, 7 p.m. Union Park Tavern, 4520 8th Ave. 

Old Brown Shoes, 9 p.m., (doors 7 p.m.) Fusion, 5014 7th Ave. $10. 

Claudio Parrone, Jr., 7 p.m., Kenosha Creative Space, 624 57th St.

Drive with Horns, 8-11 p.m., tg’s Restaurant & Pub, 4120 7th Ave. 

Unbound w/ Tankfish and Burn the Day, 58 Below, 504 58th St. 

Triad (jazz Rock blues), 6 p.m., Kenosha Yacht Club, 5130 4th Ave. 

Sock Hop with the Original Kenosha Sh-Boom Band,  5 p.m., Moose Lodge, 3003 30th Ave. Free. 

Bella Cain 10+1 Anniversary Show, 8 p.m. Brat Stop, 12304 75th St., 21+ show, $18 


Naturally Mirrored, Hawthorn Hollow Artist in Residence Series featuring Sinclair Myhre, 2-5 p.m. Saturday, Hawthorn Hollow Nature Sanctuary and Arboretum, 880 Green Bay Rd. Free. 

Dr. Destruction


Fall Festival Halloween Party & Anime Car Show, 4-8 p.m. My Animix, 5600 75th St. Games, Prizes, Candy, Cupcakes, Drawings & Contests!  Mini Grab bags. Come in Cosplay for Prizes. Free. 

Kemper Center’s Haunted House, 7-11 p.m. (kids’ hour 6-7 p.m.), Faulkner Building, Kemper Center 6501 Third Ave. Adults $10, Kids 10 and under $5. 

Dr. Destruction’s Haunted Manor, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Jerry Smith’s Pumpkin Farm, 7150 18th St., $10.


Kenosha HarborMarket, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., 56th Street and 2nd Avenue.

Kenosha Public Market, 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 625 52nd St.

Southport Light Station Museum, 10 a.m – 4 p.m., 5117 4th Ave. Free admission for the keeper’s house tour; donations are welcome. Lighthouse climb costs $10 for ages 12 and over / $5 children 8-11 years old. (Must be 8 or older to climb.) Through Oct. 31. 

SUNDAY, Oct. 24 


Cy’s Piano Jam, 4-7 p.m. Union Park Tavern, 4520 8th Ave. 

Open Mic 4-8 p.m., Fusion, 5014 7th Ave. 

Karaoke, 58 Below, 6-10 p.m. 504 58th St. 


Oktoberfest Craft And Gift Show presented by Brat Stop and Parkway Chateau, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Free. 

Dr. Destruction’s Haunted Manor, Noon.-6 p.m., Jerry Smith’s Pumpkin Farm, 7150 18th St., $10. 

Southport Light Station Museum


Fall Fest 2021, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Italian American Society of Kenosha, 2217 52nd St. Games, crafts, candy and food including pasta and meatballs as well as kids’ fare including hot dogs and fries. The Packers game will be shown. Children encouraged to come in costume. $10 per person (2-and-under are free). Reservations encouraged, with only limited availability at the door. 

Southport Light Station Museum, noon- 4 p.m., 5117 4th Ave. Free admission for the keeper’s house tour; donations are welcome. Lighthouse climb costs $10 for ages 12 and over / $5 children 8-11 years old. (Must be 8 or older to climb.) Through Oct. 31. 

Sunday Story Time, 11 a.m.-12 p.m., Blue House Books. 5915 6th Ave. A. 

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