What would a historic hotel be without a ghost or two? Believe it or not, these amicable apparitions are part of the charm inherent in Historic Hotels of the Rockies. Ghost stories are a fun and spooky way to experience history
Rocky Mountain States (Vocus) August 18, 2010
Stay alert. There are ghosts roaming the halls, rooms, lobbies, dining parlors, basements and kitchens at some of the most historic and charming accommodations in Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, South Dakota and Montana. The Historic Hotels of the Rockies are home to a ghostly array of guests that include a murdered chambermaid, the daughter of Buffalo Bill Cody, a cigar-smoking patron and many more. Some ghosts are fleeting images, others like to shake things up a bit by playing the piano, rattling drawers or rolling dice. Not convinced? Hoteliers urge visitors to book a room and find out first hand if the tales are supernatural or just superstitious; either way guests will be intrigued by plenty of spirited fun.
“What would a historic hotel be without a ghost or two? Believe it or not, these amicable apparitions are part of the charm inherent in Historic Hotels of the Rockies. Ghost stories are a fun and spooky way to experience history,” said Jim Osterfoss, president of Historic Hotels of the Rockies.
Most visitors to Historic Hotels of the Rockies come for the ambiance and inimitable atmosphere. Rooms are decorated in the original style with antiques and fixtures, though some rooms offer something extra: Rooms 214 and 310 at the Pollard Hotel in Red Lodge, Montana have earned a bit of an eerie reputation over the years. Some believe this part of building is haunted. A woman in a yellow dress is often seen here and witnesses have reported smelling French perfume when no one is present. Room 310 is also a favorite haunt for a ghost at The Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas, New Mexico where Byron T. Mills, the former owner, has never seen fit to leave. Mr. Mills reportedly sits on the edge of the bed and also paces the floor. At the Hotel Alex Johnson in Rapid City, South Dakota it’s Rooms 803 and 804. In one room a ghostly guest likes to tickle the ivories at odd hours, while the other is inhabited by the gentle presence of a young girl named Brittany. Benign and beloved, these ghosts are as much a part of the atmosphere as the Victorian flourishes and furniture.
Located in designated historic neighborhoods and often situated near historic railways, trading posts and mining towns, member hotels have always been in the middle of all the action, which on occasion took a turn for the worse. At the Historic Plains Hotel in Cheyenne, Wyoming several ghosts are seen regularly, including one that was murdered by being pushed out a fourth floor window. Irma Cody, Buffalo Bill Cody’s daughter for whom the Irma Hotel in Cody, Wyoming is named, died of influenza in 1918 at the age of 35. She is said to appear as the Woman in White, roaming the halls on the second floor-- and some reports say she is an aggressive presence in the kitchen. At the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, a murdered chambermaid appears at night near the Devereux dining room and a young girl who died at the hotel in an accident is often seen playing on the staircase.
Innkeepers take a light-hearted view of their ghostly guests, “We are so haunted if we could get the ghosts to pay rent we'd be laughing all the way to the bank,” said Arthur Havers, owner of the Historic Elk Mountain Hotel in Wyoming. Havers has experienced some haunted happenings first hand. On his initial night at the hotel he awoke to see a woman dressed in Victorian fashion, a long dress with puffed shoulders. He thought he was dreaming, but later learned the woman is known as Mary, the stern-looking wife of the hotel’s founder, and she is often seen wandering about the property.
But not all ghosts reside inside. At the Delaware Hotel in Leadville, Colorado, the ghosts are right where one would expect to find them: the Evergreen Cemetery. Blue lights have been noted shooting in the tree tops overhead and a woman in white flies over the tombstones. Learn more about Leadville’s ghosts by taking Judge Neil Reynolds Evergreen Cemetery Ghost Walk. Tours leave the cemetery at 8:00 PM on October 30th. Reservations are required: 888-532-3845.
A stay at the Castle Marne in October is a prime location and time for paranormal explorations. The bed and breakfast has it’s own fleeting phantom, a little girl who lightly knocks on doors late at night then enters through the doors themselves, dissolving into a mist once inside. But Castle Marne’s proximity to downtown Denver makes it the ideal location to further explore the unusual. The Colorado Historical Society has an Organ Crawl of Historic Denver Organs, a Walking Tour of Curtis Park Historic District, an evening called Capitol Hill Horror Stories and an annual Halloween Cemetery Crawl planned. See http://www.coloradohistory.org for details.
If the ghosts at the Hotel Colorado weren’t spooky enough, take a lantern-led tour of Linwood Cemetery where Glenwood’s past is resurrected. Hear the haunting graveside tales of John “Doc” Holliday, Kid Curry, as well as the stories of miners, pioneers and even ladies of the evening. Tours are on weekends beginning October 15 through Halloween. Reservations are required. For tickets and details, see http://www.glenwoodhistory.com/events.htm.
Though notably ghost-free, the Nagle Warren Mansion in Cheyenne, Wyoming adds its own bone chilling twist to a season filled with frightful events. The B&B will host a murder mystery dinner, A Night To Dismember, on November 6. Guests are assigned a character prior to arrival and come to dinner dressed in costume. Once the hors d’oeuvres are served, the plot thickens throughout the four course dinner in the elegant dining room. Owner Jim Osterfoss promises that the mystery’s solution is even sweeter than the desserts.
For something truly horrific, don’t miss a trip to the New Sheridan Hotel in Telluride, Colorado. The Telluride Horror Show gets underway October 15. The three-day horror, sci-fi and fantasy film festival features film submissions that have titles like I Didn’t Come Here To Die and Someone’s Knocking At The Door. For horror fans, the festival is guaranteed to be truly ghoulish. See http://www.telluridehorrorshow.com for tickets and information.
Whether visitors are believers or not, a stay at any of the Historic Hotels of the Rockies is one that is sure to be filled with fascinating tales from the past. Since this is only a sampling of haunted hotel stories, be sure to check with the innkeeper or barkeep for even more tales of mysterious manifestations. Arthur Havers recommends bringing a bell, a book and a candle whether you're visiting him and the Elk Mountain Hotel in Wyoming-- or any of the Historic Hotels of the Rockies, just to ward off any lingering spirits that might be lurking about.
About Historic Hotels of the Rockies
An eclectic collection of 19 vintage properties, the Historic Hotels of the Rockies resurrect the glory days of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. For detailed information on each hotel, go to http://www.historic-hotels.com. For a press kit and other press releases, visit http://www.historic-hotels.com/press_room/hotel_news_mainview2.
Jim Osterfoss, President
Historic Hotels of the Rockies
jim (at) nwmbb (dot) com
Vicky Nash, Public Relations Representative
Resort Trends, Inc. – media communications for the travel & tourism industry
Vicky (at) ResortTrends (dot) com