Back to Life

Chippewa Falls’ legendary (and legendarily haunted) Sheeley House reopens

Zack Katz

The Sheeley House Saloon, a Chippewa Falls landmark since the 19th century, will re-open Oct. 31.
The Sheeley House Saloon, a Chippewa Falls landmark since the 19th century,
will re-open Oct. 31.

After serving customers for well over a century, the closing of a local business with history dating back to the Civil War era felt strangely sudden. In hindsight, the Sheeley House Saloon in Chippewa Falls embodies an element of permanence suggesting that last year’s close was a setback, but certainly not the end. Appropriately, the spooky three-story brick establishment has taken on new management and is readying to rise from the dead on Halloween.  

Before owner Jim Bloms closed the joint in November 2013, the restaurant and bar served as a hub for live music and had a religious Wednesday night trivia following – essentials elements for any successful saloon, really.

The historical allure of the Sheeley House is what sets it apart from your run-of-the mill trivia experience. James and Kate Sheeley bought the property in 1905, and Kate’s 1934 death in the home is the event primarily attributed to rumors of haunting and strange activity.

As a newcomer to the saloon, manager Jessica Moran said personally she chooses not to push the ghost agenda, and instead lets word-of-mouth from locals more compelled by the story run its course. “I’m new to the business but I’ve heard a lot of stories from people who I don’t foresee having the need to exaggerate,” Moran said. “It’s one of those things that I can’t comment on until I experience something for myself.”

Moran said while the saloon portion of the house will reopen fully, the grill’s menu will  be limited to a selection of “very interesting specialty items,” including burgers, sandwiches, and appetizers. Otherwise, Moran hopes to stay true to Sheeley form as both a venue and trivia hot spot for the Chippewa Valley.

Although Halloween seems like an intuitive date for the house to open, Moran said she and her staff decided on it simply because “it’s a good party holiday.”

Oct 31 will be a soft opening for the Sheeley House (food will not be served until Nov. 4). Take the opportunity to spend Halloween raising the spirits of the freshly reopened saloon, but be sure not to wake any sleeping Sheeleys.

Sheeley House Saloon • 236 W. River St., Chippewa Falls • re-opening Friday, Oct. 31 (food service will begin Tuesday, Nov. 4) • open Tuesday-Saturday, 4pm-bar close (kitchen closes at 9pm) • (715) 726-0561