185 miles north of Las Vegas on highway 95 is a small town Goldfield Nevada. The town was founded in 1902 & was a boom town during the mining industry. By 1906 the town had a population of 30.000. By 1908 the mining industry began to decline & the size of the town began shrinking. In the center of the town sits the Goldfield Hotel & in it`s heyday boasted a bar so big, that they had 80 bartenders. After the "showdown At OK Corral" in Tombstone Arizona, the legendary Earp brothers resided in Goldfield. Wyatt was a pit boss at Tex Rickards Saloon & his brother Virgil was a deputy sheriff until his death in 1905.
The Goldfield Hotel was built in 1908 on the lot that used to stand The Nevada Hotel, which burned down in 1905. The four story, 154 room building was first owned by J. Franklin Douglas & several investors at a cost of $360.000.
It was considered to be one of the finest hotels between Chicago & San Francisco with telephones, electricity, & steam heat. It was also the only business this side of the Mississippi with an Otis elevator. That elevator still functions to this day.
Shortly after it`s opening, the hotel was sold to mining magnet George Wingfield, owner of the Goldfield Consolidated Mines.
Though George Wingfield owned a majority interest in the Bonanza Hotel Company, his principle partner, Casey McDannell, managed and operated the hotel.
There are several legends associated with the hotel. Probably the most famous was the story of Elizabeth. As the story goes, Elizabeth was a prostitute that George Wingfield had gotten pregnant. Afraid that the publicity would destroy his reputation, George chained Elizabeth to the steam radiator in room 109. Legend has it that after she gave birth, Wingfield threw the baby down an abandoned mineshaft in the basement of the hotel & either allowed Elizabeth to die, or murdered her.
I do not believe this story, because there`s a few facts that do not support this legend.
First, George Wingfield owned the hotel from 1908 to 1923 & he stayed his distance from the hotel. It was his partner Casey McDannell that actually ran the hotel.
Second, The hotel remained open until 1946 & I cannot imagine a woman being held hostage in a room without someone knowing this & reporting it to the Sheriff`s Dept. Clearly, either an employee or a guest would have heard the cries for help & done something.
Third, The mines that were beneath the hotel were built by Newton Crumley, who bought the hotel from Wingfield in 1923 & according to legend, the mines were not constructed until about ten years later in 1933.
Further evidence to support that the Elizabeth story is a fake, would be this letter provided in 2009 by Terri Stewart.
Update, April, 2009:
"The legend of Elizabeth in the Goldfield Hotel is just that, a legend. If a story is told enough times, as time goes by, then it becomes "true." I am a direct relative of Martin Duffy, owner of the Florence Mine. During the heyday of the Goldfield Hotel, my great uncle lived in the hotel. At that time, everyone shared a restroom. My great uncle married the elevator operator, Ruth Duffy. As you know the Goldfield Hotel had a working elevator, that still works to this day. There was no Elizabeth, it was just a rumor created to inspire people. My great uncle lived in the hotel during the time of G. Wingfield, and there was no Elizabeth in the hotel. Besides, he moved to Reno shortly after buying the hotel."
Terri Stewart, April, 2009.
Goldfield suffered two major fires & a flash flood, which destroyed a good portion of the town & along with the decline in the mining business, Goldfield joined the ranks of a ghost town. By the 1920s the towns population was less than 1000. By the 1930s the hotel was not much more than a flop house for cowboys & weary tourists. In the 1940s during World War ll, mostly military personnel stayed there that were stationed at nearby Tonopah Air Base. After the war, the troops left & the Goldfield Hotel closed for good.
The hotel changed ownership several times since, with each new owner promising to remodel & re-open the hotel. Probably the only one to even come close to fulfilling that promise was San Francisco Investor Lester Shea, who purchased it in 1985. Things were really looking like Shea would fulfill those plans & even had 85% of the restoration project completed, when his company went bankrupt. In 2003 Esmarelda County auctioned the property of to Edgar "Red" Roberts of Reno, Nevada, for $360.000. Mr. Roberts is again planning to re-open the hotel & has invested one million dollars to restore the first & second Floor.
Goldfield Hotel Lobby during it`s heyday
Inside the hotel. Photo taken in 2005.
Today Goldfield is the county seat of Esmeralda County & the town has a population of only a few hundred. For years I heard stories about the Goldfield Hotel being haunted & it was even featured on the TV show "America`s Scariest Places". In 1992 I finally visited Goldfield & I lived there for a short time in 1994.
One night I took my dog for a walk through Goldfield at about 10 pm, as we passed by the hotel I got very eerie feeling that I was being watched. It was such a creepy feeling that my dog began acting crazy & the hair on my arms stood straight up. I couldn't`t help but feeling that I needed to get away from there as quickly as possible & my dog was literally playing tug of war with me to leave.
Although I do not believe the Legend of Elizabeth, There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that this hotel is haunted. All the paranormal investigations & my own personal experience is proof that this place is a hot spot for ghostly activity.
I`ve had many creepy feelings in my life, but this was one I will never forget! This was not my mind playing tricks, THIS WAS REAL! There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that the Goldfield Hotel is occupied by spirits of the past.
I highly recommend that you visit this jewel of American history if you ever get the chance.