Back when Arizona was a territory
and vigilantes ruled the dirt streets, John W. Weatherford rode
into these parts by horse and buggy with a grand vision for the
It was on the very first day of the new century
that Weatherford threw open the doors of his grand hotel, doors
that would welcome presidents and gunslingers alike to a civilized
oasis in the wild, dusty West.
Since then, this fabulous building has housed Flagstaff's
first telephone exchange company, a number of restaurants, a theater,
a radio station and a billiard hall. It has also survived fire,
harsh weather, two world wars and a planned demolition.
Flagstaff was a lumber town. Here travelers to this
highest city on 66 erected a flagpole made of a tall, thin Ponderosa.
The best thing that ever happened to Flagstaff was the arrival of
Arizona Normal School, now Northern Arizona University with roughly
20,000 students and l,000 faculty.
The university takes seriously its Colorado Plateau
location, and Gary Nabhan, the distinguished environmental writer, works
with an institute here. When you add the city and county payroll to the
university's, and throw in the tourist dollars at the hundred motels and
restaurants, you have a prosperous, if at times monochromatic, community
cut into the Northern Arizona pine forests.
This old hotel has welcomed both presidents and
gunslingers from the Wild West and continues to operate today after extensive
decided to take a walk around the hotel while his wife was showering
and getting ready for the day.
At 5:30 a.m.
the visitor walked from Room 49 where he and his wife were staying,
to the lounge.
On his way back to his room, he glanced into the ballroom where
he saw the silhouette of a young woman darting from one side of
the room to the other.
The woman was
thin, was about five feet tall and moved very quickly. She did not
seem stranded, as she did attempt to get out of the ballroom.
When he returned to his room, the visitor told his wife that he
had just seen a ghost.
staying in downtown Flagstaff’s Weatherford Hotel this past April, Stephen
Mackin of Scottsdale, a frequent northern Arizona visitor, saw the image
of what he thought was a female apparition in the Zane Grey Ballroom,
according to an e-mail he sent to the hotel staff.
Ghost sightings are certainly no stranger to the Weatherford Hotel, nor
are these supernatural accounts foreign to downtown Flagstaff.
For years, historians, authors and business owners have documented several
ghost sightings that have spooked visitors and residents in downtown Flagstaff.
In “Haunted Arizona: Ghosts of the Grand Canyon,”
author Ellen Robson, provides ghostly accounts of the Weatherford Hotel,
Café Espress and Crystal Magic.
Author Christopher O’Brien supplies stories of spirits haunting Thorpe
Park, Hotel Monte Vista and the Weatherford Hotel in his essay “Flagstaff’s
Paranormal Star Map: Investigating Flagstaff’s Haunted Past.”
According to O’Brien, the Weatherford Hotel, at
23 N. Leroux St., has served many American icons since its opening on
New Year’s Day in 1900, such as newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst,
former Pres. Theodore Roosevelt and lawman Wyatt Earp.
It is speculated that a couple on their honeymoon was murdered in Room
55 in the 1930s.
While the current owner renovated in the early 1990s, an employee who
stayed in the haunted room said they awoke in the middle of the night
to find a bride and groom sitting on the foot of the bed. Room 55 in the
three-story, 42-room hotel has since been turned into a storage closet.
On the south side of the cement floor of the hotel’s
basement is a small square of earth that peeks through.
Some think this uncemented square may have clues to the murder mystery,
according to O’Brien’s story.
“I always feel uncomfortable in the basement area,” said hotel owner Henry
Taylor. “My wife’s dog, Mona, won’t step one paw onto that section of
O’Brien’s essay also mentioned that employees sometimes notice that the
light over the pool table in the ballroom sways by itself, and often hear
the low whisper of voices that come from the empty bar.
The Weatherford's spirit in residence is more of
a feeling than an apparition. Henry Taylor says he has felt an unexplained
wall of cold air as he works in the basement. His wife tells about the
employee whose dog started howling and refused to enter the same area.
arrived at the hotel at 11:30am and after having lunch in the hotel's
restaurant, we started sweeping the building for suspect electromagnetic
discovered two unusual EM fields, one in the Zane Grey Room and
the other on the stairs leading to the second floor.
field in the Zane Grey Room registered at 4 milligauss and was clearly
moving around the room. After chasing the field around for three
minutes, it vanished and we were unable to reacquire it.
EM field on the stairs had a fluctuating reading between 4 to 6
milligauss but was only present for forty five seconds. Photographs
taken during both of these events have abnormalities in them.
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