by: Nelson Hicks Updated:
DULUTH, Ga. - There's a Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, but there's one in Duluth, too.
The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland has entertained guests for more than 40 years. The Haunted Mansion in Duluth has been Mark Hurt's home for 16 years.
When the Sweet Bottom Plantation opened a new section patterned after the New Orleans' Garden District in 1996, Hurt looked over the various designs for homes. Nothing struck a chord with him and his wife.
That's when he decided to do something a little different and build, at least on the outside, a replica of Disney's Haunted Mansion.
"It fit perfectly in the neighborhood," Hurt told Nelson's News on wsbtv.com. "And it gave us the opportunity to have a little fun with it."
Hurt found blueprints of the Disney attraction and was allowed to measure and photograph the ride before building his home.
From the outside, there's a Haunted Mansion sign that greets guests, the same sign visitors to Disneyland will pass on their way to the ride. The ironwork from Hurt's home is from the same foundry that provided it for Disneyland.
Inside the home, it's a home, not a ride. There are seven bedrooms and six bathrooms. But Hurt honored the inspiration behind his vision in the downstairs bath.
"We wanted to pay homage to the actual attraction somewhere, so I decided in the downstairs bathroom, we would do a little bit," Hurt said. "We took Ezra, one of the hitchhiking ghosts from the attraction, and put him in the mirror in there so you go in and turn on the water and the lights flicker and dim down, a little soundtrack comes on and you see the hitchhiking ghost in the mirror in front of you."
“My company is preserving the history of the work [Hurt] did instead of it being lost as just another home being sold in Atlanta,” Theme Park Connection owner Marc Pianko told the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
The newspaper noted that Billy Messina, co-owner of Netherworld Haunted House, and wife, Liz, got married there. Trick-or-treaters converge annually, where an animatronic Bengal tiger greeted them at the door.
While it might pain Hurt to leave behind this Disney creation, he's working on another one in Hawaii. The home is modeled after the Grand Californian, the pool is based on the Jungle Cruise ride and there's a barn in the back that's a replica of the barn Walt Disney had in his back yard.