Legend of the Lady in White
Rochester's Infamous "White Lady"
Few Rochester legends are as famous as that of the "Lady in White" or "White Lady" of Durand-Eastman Park. Who is she? Why is she haunting the park? How can I find her? These are just a few of the many questions we get each year when Halloween rolls around.
The legend of the Lady in White goes back to a time when the lakeshore was a vacation destination for travelers near and far. Large "tent cities" would be set up seemingly overnight, with guests staying to enjoy the lake and other area amenities throughout the entire summer. There were hayrides along the lakeshore, and young men would bring their best gal and try to scare her into getting close by telling her the legend of the Lady in White. Years later, a Boy Scout Camp set up in the park and the legend of the Lady in White became a popular story to tell around the campfire.
The White Lady is said to haunt the area known as the "White Lady's Castle" in Durand Eastman park. The castle-like retaining wall is actually the old Twin Lakes Pavillion, a refreshment stand built in a then-popular Spanish fort style. The wood structure that once sat atop the hill and hosted diners has since burned down, leaving the eerie staircase and castle-like wall. Though this is the most popular area for sightings of the White Lady, she has been spotted throughout the park and Irondequoit area including at the golf course, in nearby neighborhoods, and the Irondequoit Cemetery.
So who was the Lady in White? Was she a distraught mother whose daughter was murdered? Or a watchful wife waiting for her husband’s ship to return to Lake Ontario? Could she be an escaped insane asylum patient? To learn more, join us for our popular Lady in White Ghost Walk offered select Saturdays in October!