By Scott Nishimura firstname.lastname@example.org
Hangman’s House of Horrors, a Fort Worth institution for 25 years at Forest Park Boulevard and Interstate 30, has a new owner and will have a new home starting this fall.
Allen Sturgeon, a Kennedale salvage yard and auto repair shop owner and longtime Hangman’s volunteer and donor, has purchased the haunted house from D’Ann Dagen. Sturgeon confirmed Monday he’s leased a former Federal Aviation Administration site at 4400 Blue Mound Road on the North Side from a towing company owner who now owns it.
Sturgeon said he’ll be open in one 28,000-square-foot building on the site by mid-September for the month and half-long Halloween season.
“We have a small, short amount of time to get everything going,” Sturgeon said.
Sturgeon’s takeover of the haunted house put an end to the prospect that Dagen would have to auction the assets May 10. Dagen, who had earlier announced she was retiring and looking to sell Hangman’s, cancelled the auction when Sturgeon agreed to buy it.
Dagen and Sturgeon also said Larry and Karen Anfin helped secure the deal with “generous seed money.”
Larry Anfin, former president of Coors Distributing Co. of Fort Worth, serves on the boards of A Wish With Wings and Victory Therapy Center — two of five charities that benefit from Hangman’s. And Karen Anfin volunteers with one of those two charities, the Victory Therapy Center.
The other charities that benefit are American Cancer Society, Cenikor Foundation, and SafeHaven of Tarrant County.
Larry Anfin said he and his wife are on board with Sturgeon “just helping him out.”
“More as a lender,” Anfin said in an interview. “We don’t want to own it.”
Anfin said his involvement occurred after Dagen sent him an email to say she was going to have to auction the assets.
The World War I-era site on Blue Mound has 16 buildings, and the towing company uses a small portion of the site, Sturgeon said.
Sturgeon said he has a flexible arrangement with the new landlord.
“I think we can have the whole site,” he said. “He knows we’re there to stay, and we can grow.”
For this year, the one building will give Hangman’s substantially more room than the 18,000 square feet it had on Forest Park.
“More haunt for the money,” and more freedom to set up the space to “look like a haunted place” and not a warehouse, Sturgeon said.
The new Hangman’s “will blow away the old Hangman’s,” he said.
He said he’ll also haul the popular Hangman’s 3D Maze and Zombie Experience — both in trailers — to the new site and set them up there.
Hangman’s runs more than 18,000 visitors through in a typical Halloween season, Sturgeon said.
This year’s prices will remain the same, he said: $25 for a full event pass, and $35 for a speed pass that allows visitors their own faster line.
Sturgeon said Hangman’s landlord on Forest Park wasn’t willing to offer a longterm lease, and he was worried about nearby road construction “closing in” on the business.
“About the same time, this became available,” he said of the new site.
Sturgeon declined to say what he paid for the business or is investing in it.