The Haunted Hotel Colorado
Nestled in the great Rocky Mountains in a town called Glenwood Springs lies the Haunted Hotel Colorado. It is noted as one of the top 10 most haunted places in Aspen, Colorado.
This historic hotel was built by silver baron Walter Devereux in 1893 and has catered to many guests and celebrities for over a century. Many believe that although guests checked out on an earthly level, their spirits still linger in the old hotel from the basement to the bell towers.
The west was booming when Devereux built the ‘Grand Dame,’ as it was fondly called at the time. The anticipation of a fortune being built on gold and silver mining was enticing for thousands of adventurous-spirited people who moved west to create a new way of life. Devereux capitalized on the dreams and desires of others and made a magnificent luxurious accommodation to cater to their every wants and needs.
The building itself was modeled after the 16th Century Villa de Medici in Italy. It was the first hotel with electricity flaunting a fountain that sprayed 180 feet in the air and included a spa and swimming pool. You can imagine what splendor this was for guests and why they may desire to hang around in the afterlife at a hot spot such as this! These amenities lured the rich and famous into engaging in the nearby hot springs that Glenwood Springs is known for.
Well-known Guests and possibly Ghosts?
In Hotel Colorado’s early days, the hotel hosted prominent guests such as Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, William Taft, and the famous “unsinkable” Molly Brown. In the 1920s, the hotel became the recreation spot for several Chicago gangsters, including Diamond Jack Alterie, the Verain Brothers, and the notable Al Capone.
The hotel to this day contains the original hydraulic lift made to transport supplies from the ground level to the basement. There is speculation that while a guest there, Al Capone used the lift for an escape route when authorities raided the hotel on several occasions searching for him.
Now today, 131 of the original rooms are available to guests. However, hotel guests and staff are said to not be the only occupants of the historic hotel. Hotel Colorado is also the home of several spirits that inhabit the building.
Naval History of the Haunted Hotel Colorado
In 1943 the United States Navy leased the building for use as a hospital. It was named the US Convalescent Hospital serving patients until the end of the war. When it was decommissioned in 1946, well over 6,500 patients had passed through its doors. Many wonder how many patients may still linger in the halls and the basement, which was also said to be used as a morgue.
An oddity in naval law requires that any location that sailors are stationed in must have a prison which is known as a brig. Hotel Colorado was no exception to the rule. Interestingly, according to Bill Knight, the Executive Director of Glenwood Springs Historical Society, the hotel was not used as only a hospital. A room in the basement holds eight prisoner cells measuring only five feet by seven feet. Although there is no longer any sign of the brig, it is claimed by some residents of Glenwood Springs that the bars were still in place as late as 1974.
Another area of the basement served as the morgue when the hotel was being used as a Naval Hospital. Many hotel staff members have stated occurrences, including locked doors that open and lights that turn off and on in that area. There is no pinpoint as to which spirit or spirits occupy the basement. However, it is speculated that it may have been one of the many hang-out places of Walter Devereux himself. Perhaps Mr. Devereux still dwells within the walls of his beloved hotel.
The Chambermaid Ghost
Many report the shrilling screams of a woman throughout the hotel. It is believed that she was a Chambermaid named when the hotel was being used as a hospital. The young woman was caught up in a lover’s triangle and was murdered in guest room 454 by one of her jealous lovers. It is believed that a heartbroken patient threw a water pitcher at her because of the attention she received from a handsome miner from Aspen. The room that she died in is no longer rented to guests because of the extreme paranormal activity. Now it is only a storage room. However, the young woman’s spirit still resides and is an eerie reminder of the tragedy that happened to her there. Many guests have smelled perfume in the Devereux dining room that is believed to be the Chambermaid. A very distinctive smell of ‘Gardenia’ said to be made only during the 1930s and 1940s.
The Third Floor Hauntings
The third floor of the hotel is said to have reports of significant paranormal activity. Many guests and staff members report apparitions, strange smells, sounds, lights turning on and off, televisions changing channels, and knocks on doors with no one there. High activity centered around room 325 when the hotel was investigated in 2006 by a local paranormal group CCPI. The group used Cell Sensor EMF meters, IR (Infra-Red) Thermal Scanners, digital cameras, and night vision camcorders. The most success was found on the third and fifth floors between midnight and one a.m., although the most activity has been reported between two and four a.m. Read the complete investigation account here.
The Fifth Floor Phenomena
The fifth floor has unusual phenomena, particularly room 551, with an unmarked door across from it that leads to the attic. When in 1982 the hotel was under renovation, new wallpaper was being put up on the walls of room 551. The following day workers found the wallpaper that had been applied rolled neatly on the floor. The wallpaper was then replaced and again located on the floor the next day. After two or three tries, they placed several samples of wallpaper on the bed. The following day they found all but one of the wallpaper samples again on the floor. They applied the sample wallpaper left on the bed, and it remains on the walls to this day. Apparently, the wallpaper initially picked out for the room wasn’t to the liking of someone in the spirit world!
Guests and psychics have claimed that a male spirit inhabits that area, possibly the spirit of one of the workers who helped build the hotel in 1893.
The Little Girl Ghost
The story has it that a little girl fell from a balcony while chasing after a ball. Guests say that they have seen a little girl in Victorian clothing playing catch with their children in the hotel.
n 1987 a guest called the front desk to ask if someone had given a room key to a little girl. She awoke to find a young girl standing at the foot of the bed. This guest returned to the hotel for years, always requesting the same room where she claims to have interacted with the little girl.
The Bell Towers Ghost
The hotel turned the two bell towers into luxury suites dedicating room 661 to one of the most famous women in the history of Colorado, Molly Brown. There is reported spirit activity in this room as well as the other bell tower, room 662. However, room 661 has the most activity.
In 1993 a couple was staying in room 661, and the husband took ill. His wife opened the windows for him to get fresh air and left the room. A woman came into the room and closed the windows, and said he would catch a draft. This continued for the next three days of their visit.
Over the years, several accounts from male guests staying in the room waking up to the apparition of a woman in a floral dress standing over the bed.
The Devereux Dining Room
During the summer of 1992, a night auditor states that he passed through the dining room several times one night during the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. Early in the morning hours, there suddenly appeared a lit candle on one of the tables. It stayed lit until 6 a.m. when the staff arrived. They insisted that all candles had been removed from all of the tables the evening before when they closed. The candles themselves burned only six hours, so how could they have remained burning all night? This situation happened several times throughout the summer of that year.
Another instance on that same morning, a cook arrived for his shift at 6 a.m. He could hear the sound of dishes being stacked, but when he walked into the dining room, the sound stopped. When he went back into the kitchen, the sound started up again! After this happened several times, a mysterious white, misty cloud appeared in the kitchen. It moved into the dining room and passed through a waitress as it swiftly sped from the room. Several Devereux staff members witnessed the phenomena leaving them astounded.
Whether you are looking for paranormal experiences or simply want a luxurious stay at one of Colorado’s finest hotels, the Hotel Colorado will genuinely deliver a hauntingly good time!