There are several haunted places in Kansas, but the Eldridge Hotel in the City of Lawrence is considered to be one of the most popular locations. Despite the fact that guests, employees, and other locals in Lawrence claim that the old structure that functions as the Eldridge Hotel is haunted due to its history, it is not the original structure that originally stood on the property of today’s hotel. As a matter of fact, many paranormal investigators and others that have experienced the unusual phenomenon associated with this building feel that the original structure may have a lot to do with today’s ghostly experiences. Here, you will learn why when it comes to haunted places in Kansas, that this is considered to be one of the most haunted.
The Original Hotel
The original hotel that stood in the location of today’s haunted hotel was called the “Free State Hotel”. It was officially constructed in the year 1855. Many settlers from the “Emigrant Aid Society” of New England built the hotel. These individuals held the strong opinion that the State of Kansas should be permitted into the Union of the time as a state that was free. This building was to serve as a place where individuals could lodge while their homes were being constructed in the area. During the same year, a Colonel by the name of Shalor Eldridge came to the region and purchased the building. A year later, he leased the building out and it became a hotel that was commonly viewed as being first-class.
Many individuals enjoyed staying at the hotel. For many, it was a favored location. Unfortunately, it experienced an attack on the 21st day of May in the same year it was opened as a hotel. The individual responsible for the attack was actually a Sheriff by the name of Samuel J. Jones. The individuals that were considered to be part of his posse assisted in the attack. These individuals consisted of those that held pro-slavery beliefs. They shot a cannon into the structure and a fire broke out. This was the first of the tragic events to occur. Many believe that this attack started the unusual occurrences that would make this one of the most haunted places in Kansas.
The Cruel Attack on Lawrence
In the year of 1857, the Colonel that leased out the building worked with his three brothers and rebuilt the hotel. While this was considered to be a rare occurrence, the Colonel committed to rebuilding again if the need arose. Just six short years later, the hotel was once more destroyed. This occurred when the savage William Clarke Quantrill raided the small City of Lawrence. His raid served the purpose of battling those that held opinions and beliefs other than his own. On the 21st day of August in the year of 1863, he and his posse entered Lawrence and went on a mass spree of devastating destruction. This attack is an essential component of the history of the hotel. It is significant in that it seems to be one of the reasons why the hotel is considered to be one of the most haunted places in Kansas.
It has been established that Quantrill’s group started their rampage upon Lawrence at approximately five in the morning and continued on for approximately four hours. The group looted homes and businesses – taking whatever they could get their hands on. Then, they started burning buildings to the ground. There were less than a total of three thousand individuals living in Lawrence at that time and this raid managed to cause nearly two hundred males – both adults and children – to lose their lives that day. Despite the sorrow of the raid, and the violent deaths that many of the residents experienced, Lawrence adapted a new motto – “from ashes to immortality”. It was then that they vowed to rebuild – this included the hotel as well. Ironically, no one likely suspected that they were creating the motto for one of the most haunted places in Kansas.
The Introduction and Elimination of the Eldridge Hotel
In the year of 1865, the hotel – which had been destroyed not once, but twice – was officially rebuilt and opened to the public. This time, it was blessed with a new name – the Eldridge Hotel. It was constructed using what remained from the previous hotel – a simple cornerstone. As time progressed, this hotel was considered to be the finest hotel that stood west of the Mississippi River. Unfortunately, by the time that the year 1925 arrived, the structure was in disarray and needed to be reconstructed. It had played such an intense role in the history of the city that many felt it was only appropriate to bring it back to its original splendor. However, the years took its toll on the building once more by the era of the 60s. As a result, its doors were closed on the 1st day of July in the year of 1970.
Renovations Spark Ghostly Tales
The hotel stood, barren and in disarray, for a decade and a half. In the year of 1985, many locals of the region decided that it would be appropriate to fix up the hotel and make use of it. It was at this time that renovations on the building started. Investors, along with a two million dollar donation from the City of Lawrence, started rebuilding the structure. The top four individual floors of the building were completely stripped and renovated and created an amazing forty eight suites that consisted of two rooms each. Additionally, the lobby of the building was also renovated and created in such a manner that it displayed the original elegance that it displayed in its earliest days.
As with any building with a previous life, the renovations seemed to spark ghostly tales. When these renovations started, rumor quickly got around that the hotel was one of the most haunted places in Kansas. Many that worked on the building and several that worked for the hotel have shared numerous ghost stories – especially about the fifth floor. It is believed that the heightened emotions and tragic turmoil of the structure has created a spiritual based portal in the fifth floor. The specific room associated with this portal is identified as the number “506”. In and around this room, strange experiences such as doors opening and closing on their own, electrical complications, and cold spots have been encountered.
One of the most interesting ghost tales when it comes to haunted places in Kansas is the story of the spirit that apparently haunts the elevator of the Eldridge Hotel in Lawrence. Many individuals believe that this could be a spirit of a past employee, or it could simply be a playful spirit that enjoyed spending time at the hotel as a guest during life. Regardless, this spirit seems to enjoy traveling from one floor to the next and observing the various people that visit the haunted hotel. If you enjoy experiencing cold spots, small unexplained breezes, distant voices whispering in your ears, and other unexplained phenomenon, you should visit the building that is considered to be one of the most haunted places in Kansas – the popular and historical Eldridge Hotel. Check for the lowest price, get directions, view photos, and read the reviews and traveler tips for the Eldridge Hotel.