Explore “Haunted” Architecture around the United States

In honor of “spooky season,” we invite you to explore eight famous hotels and homes around the United States that are allegedly haunted. Read up about how these places came to be and what made people believe that these places are haunted.

The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado

The hotel was built by Freelan Oscar Stanley. He moved to Colorado with his wife, Flora, and construction for the hotel began in 1903. Stanley wanted to build a stylish and elegant hotel that would attract many guests. Originally from the East Coast, he was influenced by the design of East Coast hotels. The hotel first opened in 1909. Guests were mesmerized by the hotel and it was a major success. Stanley fell ill and passed away in 1940. It has been said that his ghost haunts the hotel and guests have said that they have seen his spirit roaming the halls, but is not the only ghost in the hotel. The ghosts of his wife, a former housekeeper, and children have been spotted by guests. Guests have reported luggage being moved in their rooms at night, the piano being played with no one at the piano, lights flickering, and children laughing in the halls. This hotel is well-known for its connection to the famous horror movie, The Shining. Steven King stayed at the hotel in 70s and it sparked the inspiration for his novel that the movie is based on. This hotel has been renovated over the years, but the hotel is still up and running.  

The Sagamore Resort in Bolton Landing, New York

Hotel owner, Myron O. Brown, built this hotel with the help of several investors and the Wilson Brothers architecture firm. The hotel has a Queen Anne- Style of architecture. The hotel was only open for ten years before a tragic fire occurred in 1893. Robert Rheinlander was the architect hired after the fire to help reconstruct the hotel, and the hotel was reopened in 1923. Tragedy struck the hotel again when a little boy was hit by a car on the property in 1950. People have reportedly seen the ghost of the little boy on the golf course. People have also seen the ghosts of a couple fighting in the halls, the ghost of a women in white in the rooms, and the ghost of a woman seated in the dinning room. Ghosts are not the only thing the hotel has to offer. The hotel has several amenities for guests including a golf course, a spa, a fitness facility, and a pool that overlooks the lake.  

The Rosenheim Mansion in Los Angeles, California

This Los Angeles home was built in 1908 by Alfred Rosenheim. Before moving to Los Angeles, Rosenheim worked as an architect in St. Louis, Missouri where he worked on several commercial and residential projects. The home has unique woodwork and intricate designs on the walls in several of the rooms. The exterior features Italian brick work as well as stain-glass windows. This home is most famous for being the “Murder House” in season 1 of American Horror Story. The current residents have complained about how many fans of the show come by to see the house. The residents have also complained about the two ghosts that haunt the house. They have allegedly seen the ghost of a butler who used to work in the home. Former residents of the home claimed that they avoided the basement because they could feel bad energy. Instead of selling the house, the current residents have fixed it up for Halloween to do a virtual tour of the home.  

The House of the Seven Gables in Salem, Massachusetts

John Turner built this home on the Salem Harbor in 1688. This home is the traditional medieval English style of architecture. He was able to build more on to the house before he passed away in 1742. Captain Ingersoll bought the home for him and his daughter. His daughter inherited the home when he died. Nathaniel Hawthorne was the second cousin of the Captain’s daughter and he would frequently visit the home. He was so enamored by the house that he based his novel, The House of the Seven Gables, after the home. Nathaniel Hawthorne was related to John Hathorne. John Hathorne was one of the judges during the Salem Witch Trials. Even though the Salem Witch Trials took place before Nathaniel was born, the family was still cursed. Nathaniel wrote about the trials in his novel and all of the strange encounters of ghosts. This book is fiction, but many of the stories told were based on real events. The house still stands and is open to the public.  

The Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles, California

Loy Lester Smith designed this hotel in 1924 with the help of William Banks Hanner, Charles L. Dix and Robert H.Schops. They intended for this hotel to be a tourist destination and for a few years, it was a great place to stay. The Great Depression hit, and the hotel’s neighborhood was devastaed. Many people moved out of the area leaving behind several vacant buildings and shops. Skid Row, a crime ridden area, is not too far from the hotel. Notorious serial killer, Richard Ramirez, stayed in the hotel for extended periods of time while he commited most of his murders. Aside from the fact that this hotel attracts an interesting clientele, approximately 16 people have died in the hotel. Most recently, Elisa Lam checked into the hotel in 2013, and she never checked out. Her body was found in one of the water tanks on the rooftop of the hotel. Netflix released a documentary earlier this year about the hotel and all the mysterious deaths that have taken place there. American Horror Story also has a connection to the hotel. The creator of the show drew inspiration from the Cecil for the hotel featured in the show’s fifth season. The hotel has been closed for renovations, but it will open its doors again this month. 

The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina

This stunning estate was built by George Washington Vanderbilt II. He hired several architects, one of them being Richard Morris Hunt, to help him build his lavish home. He also hired Fredrick Law Olmstead to help with the landscaping. Olmstead was one of the landscape architects that helped design Central Park. Hunt had designed several homes for the Vanderbilt family. Vanderbilt II wanted his home to have a French and English style of architecture. There were approximately 1,000 people helping construct the home and it was finally completed in 1895 after 6 years of construction. Vanderbilt II lived in the home with his wife, Edith, and his daughter. In 1914, Vanderbilt II fell ill and died in his home. Edith and his daughter continued to take care of the home following his death. The house was passed down through the family until the family decided to open the home to the public in the 1950s. Many visitors come to see this house as it is the biggest home in America. People have up to 5 hours to explore all 250 rooms in the house and the winery that is also on the property. Although no one is actually living in the house, there have been ghost sightings and suspicious activity on the property. People have heard water splashing coming from the empty pool, George Washington Vanderbilt II sitting in the library, and Edith whispering “George” in the hallways.  

The Driskell Hotel in Austin, Texas

Colonel Jesse Driskell hired Jasper N. Preston and Son architecture firm to help him build a luxury hotel. The hotel was opened in 1886 and it was a huge success. The Roman style architecture in the interior of the hotel attracted many people and several events were held at the hotel shortly after it opened. The hotel has had a couple of owners, who have made renovations throughout their time with the hotel. The hotel was almost closed for good in 1969 after renovations fell through, but the people of Austin raised nearly $1 million in efforts to save the hotel. The hotel attracts many guests, including ghost hunters. There have been three people that have reportedly died in the hotel. A little girl tragically died in the hotel when she fell down the grand staircase while chasing after a ball. People have heard the sound of a little girl laughing and bouncing a ball in the hallways. There were also two brides that died in the hotel. The incidents were 20 years apart, but both brides took their lives during their stay at the hotel. Aside from the hotel hosting ghosts, the hotel has also hosted several famous actors and politicians, including Sandra Bullock, Bill and Hilary Clinton, Bob Dylan, and George W. Bush. 

The Skirvin Hotel in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

The Skirvin was built in 1911 by Bill Skirvin with the help of architect, Solomon A. Layton. The hotel has an Art-Deco style interior that brings a luxurious feel to the hotel. Bill Skirvin had an affair with of the maids and she became pregnant with his child. When Skirvin found out, he would not let her leave, and as a result, she jumped out one of the windows with her child and fell to her death. There have been several NBA teams that have stayed at the hotel over the years when they play the OKC Thunder. A couple of teams have reported interesting activity in the hotel during their stay. Some of the players have said that they have heard doors slamming in the middle of the night and voices in the hallway. In 2010, The New York Knicks stayed at the hotel when they played the Thunder. The Knicks lost the game and blamed their loss on the haunted hotel. Employees have reported that they have seen objects move with no one touching them on multiple occasions. The hotel is still open and remains an important part of the city’s history.  

Interested in learning more about the hotels and homes? The links below prove more details about the history of these hotels and homes as well as why they are believed to be haunted.

Hotels

The Stanley Hotel: https://www.stanleyhotel.com/about.html https://www.abcactionnews.com/news/national/the-stanley-hotels-haunted-reputation-and-how-it-inspired-the-shining

The Sagamore Resort: https://www.lakegeorge.com/whatsnew/2016/10/sagamore-one-of-top-10-haunted-hotels/

https://www.historichotels.org/us/hotels-resorts/the-sagamore/history.php

The Cecil Hotel: https://www.townandcountrymag.com/leisure/arts-and-culture/a35526492/cecil-hotel-los-angeles-history/ 

The Driskell Hotel: https://austinot.com/driskill-hotel-haunted https://www.historichotelsthenandnow.com/driskillaustin.html

The Skirvin Hotel: https://www.tripsavvy.com/skirvin-hotel-haunted-2517216 https://www.historichotels.org/us/hotels-resorts/the-skirvin-hilton-oklahoma-city/history.php

Homes

The Rosenheim Mansion: https://www.welikela.com/we-went-to-the-murder-house-to-learn-about-its-ghosts/ 

The House of the Seven Gables: https://7gables.org/history/the-house-of-the-seven-gables/ https://ghostcitytours.com/salem/haunted-places/house-seven-gables/

The Biltmore Estate: https://www.ncfieldfamily.org/travel/attractions/biltmore-estate/7/ https://www.reference.com/history/biltmore-mansion-e0d890830ed940e