PHOTO BY RALPH PALUMBO Irvine Katie Wheeler Library


Sightings of a phantom “lady wearing blue” were reported decades ago at the El Toro Memorial Park Cemetery and at Black Star Canyon. But this legend is most linked to the site of the famous Irvine Ranch House, where Kathryn Helena Irvine, the daughter of James Irvine II, died of complications from childbirth at a young age in 1920. Eventually, the house burned down in 1965. Her spirit wandered the premises for 30 years, wearing a blue dress, or so the legend goes. Recently, the Irvine Ranch House was rebuilt into the Irvine Katie Wheeler Library. “I have not heard or seen anything. Not yet,” says Kelly Anderson, children’s librarian. “But we all know about the Blue Lady. Most likely, it is Kathryn Irvine, since her death was so tragic to the Irvine family. Even her father is said to have lost his hair afterwards in agony that she died in his house instead of the nearest hospital, where she might have been saved.”

With the library now open, it is plausible that our Blue Lady is simply waiting for the right time to make her appearance. The surrounding fenced-in fields and century-old uninhabited houses make perfect hideouts for our elegant spirit. Perhaps one rainy day, when it’s most quiet at the library, she will return home.

Irvine Katie Wheeler Library is located at 13109 Old Myford Rd., Irvine. For more information, call (714) 669-8753

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