by Walter Bissell
In 1906, Freelan Oscar Stanley, creator of the Stanley Steam Engine, purchased 160 acres of land from the Irish Earl Lord Dunraven near Estes Park, Colorado. Freelan and his brother Francis were the founders of the Stanley Steamer Company and had made their fortune manufacturing a steam-powered automobile that many Americans called a “horseless carriage.”
In 1907, F. O. Stanley began construction of a magnificent Georgian style, 135-room hotel designed to impress even the wealthiest of the wealthy. The Stanley Hotel located at 333 Wonderview was a grand sight with the majestic Rocky Mountains for its backdrop. The hotel opened in 1909 and played host to many famous guests including “The Unsinkable Molly Brown, John Philip Sousa, Theodore Roosevelt, the Emperor and Empress of Japan, and a variety of Hollywood personalities.” Author Steven King was a guest at the Stanley Hotel for five months where he began writing “The Shining.”
It was reported that Steven entertained special guests of his own during his stay on the hotel’s 2nd floor. He complained about a young child that kept running up and down the halls calling for his nanny. Other guests that stay in room 217 have had trouble sleeping, because of the noise of children playing in the hallway all night. When they complained to the hotel’s staff, they were told “there were no children booked in the hotel at that time.” However it is room 418 that gets the most reports of haunting activity, apparently from children’s spirits. “Tour guides tell a story of the ghost of a small child who has been seen by many of the staff in various areas of the old hotel.”
The Haunted 4th Floor
The entire 4th floor is said to be haunted. There have been many reports by guests of haunting activities in Room 401. Lord Dunraven is said to be seen standing in the corner of room 407 near the bathroom door. “At other times, a ghost has been reported to be looking out the window of Room 407, when the room is not booked.” Chambermaids report hearing footsteps and many strange noises from the room, as well as seeing impressions on the bed even though no one is lying there. Other employees report hearing footsteps and seeing apparitions throughout the building.
Other areas of the hotel are said to be haunted as well. The most notable ghost is F.O. Stanley himself who “is most often seen in the lobby and the Billiard Room, which was his favorite room when he was still alive.” He appeared in the Billiard Room to a tour group as they visited the hotel. Bartenders have also reported that they have seen F.O. stroll through the bar and then disappear near the kitchen entrance.
Flora Stanley also haunts the hotel, continuing to entertain guests with her piano playing in the ballroom. Many who have heard the music also have seen the keys moving on the piano. Those who have the courage to take a closer look say that when they approach the piano the music stops and the keys stop moving.
As of this writing, evening ghost tours of the Stanley Hotel are offered weekly for an admission fee of only $10.00. Ghost hunters are invited to “Come hear the music play.” The Stanley Hotel is a Cabaret. “Come to the Cabaret.”
For More Information Visit:
The Stanley Hotel Official Website