The Haunted Hotel Colorado

Glenwood’s Hotel Colorado has not only been a popular resort for figures such as Teddy Roosevelt and the Chicago Mafia; it also boasts several ghosts.

The sprawling Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs was finished in 1893 for a total of $850,000. The hotel’s founder, Walter Devereux, was an early settler of Glenwood Springs and hoped to take advantage of the flock of visitors coming to see Glenwood’s hot springs and Colorado’s booming mining business. In 1974, the hotel was designated as a National Historic Landmark, and in 2018 the hotel celebrated 125 years in business. However, many claim that there are some more permanent guests as well, and these ghosts have garnered the Hotel Colorado a reputation as one of the top ten most haunted hotels in Colorado. 

The Hotel Colorado had a rotation of famous and wealthy visitors soon after its construction, and as such the grounds boasted incredible amenities. The hotel’s nickname during the height of its splendor was the “Grande Dame,” and it lived up to these expectations. The hotel possessed an indoor waterfall as well as a garden and bird sanctuary. It even had its own railroad spur so that wealthy individuals could store their private railroad cars during their stay. During a three-week hunting trip, the hotel served as a temporary residence for President Theodore Roosevelt. This is where the myth of the teddy bear was born when the staff put together a teddy bear to cheer up the president after a bad day of hunting. However, such decadence was not to last. 

After the Great Depression, the hotel was leased to the United States Navy as a medical facility and stripped bare in order to meet sanitary requirements. The basement gained a crematorium and morgue as well as a brig, as US Naval law requires a brig wherever naval men are stationed. From 1943 to 1946, the hospital served around 6,500 patients, many of whom died there. After the Navy decommissioned the hospital, the hotel passed through many owners and fell further into disrepair until it was declared a national historic landmark in 1974 and Kirk Whitely began restoration. However, in 1988, the bank foreclosed on the property. It wouldn’t be until the 1990’s that the hotel was restored to its former glory.

Today, the hotel offers a nocturnal history tour and has a page about its ghosts online. The area with the most activity has been identified as the basement, due to the naval cremation and morgue activities that happened there. Some ghosts are so distinctive that they have been given names. Bobbie is a ghost who is known for her distinct perfume and likes to appear in the dining hall. Walter is perhaps the best known of the ghosts and may actually be the third owner of the hotel, Elmer Lucas. Whatever one’s beliefs about the paranormal, the Hotel Colorado remains a staple in both the haunted and tourist history of Colorado.

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