Spirits haunt hotelLegend has it the 130-year-old Hammond Hotel is haunted.
By: Laura Kruse, New Richmond News
Legend has it the 130-year-old Hammond Hotel is haunted.
Owner Don Fowell and his employees believe the legend. They’ve had experiences to back it up.
“Random things have happened that make us believe,” Fowell said.
One ghost, named John, is the spirit of a man who used to live in the upstairs of the hotel years ago.
When he was alive, John was good friends with a former owner and served as the caretaker of the building. When John didn’t report to work at his usual time one day, the owner found he had died in his sleep.
“I truly believe John has a presence here,” said Fowell. “I wouldn’t doubt that his spirit is here.”
Less is known about the second ghost, referred to as the Guest in Room 10. She was a “lady of the night” during the hotel’s early days, Fowell said. The room she is supposed have lived in still has its original red wallpaper and a red chandelier. The white “10” tile on the door is probably original too, he said.
“We’re not bothered by her,” Fowell said. Neither Fowell nor any of the current employees have seen her yet. They’ve heard she’s pretty, so they wouldn’t mind catching a glimpse, he joked.
Matt Minter, hotel chef, has had several run-ins with the building’s ghosts because he spends the majority of his time there.
Shortly after the hotel’s December 2008 ownership change, Minter said he took a nap in what used to be John’s room.
He woke up with painless red marks on his forehead.
He said he hadn’t been drinking and couldn’t remember doing anything that would have caused them.
The first person to see him after the nap immediately asked what happened to his face before even saying “hi” to him, Minter said.
“It looked like someone tried to pry open his eyes,” Fowell commented, while demonstrating with his own eyes.
John’s room caused some other troubles during the first few weeks of their ownership this year, Fowell said. Every day something -- from heavy boxes to broom handles -- was propped against the room’s door from the inside so it couldn’t easily be opened, he said.
When John realized that the new owners weren’t a threat to him, the business or the building, he has stopped causing trouble, Minter said.
Other spooky things have happened that apparently can’t be directly attributed to John.
One time Minter said he heard chains being rattled when he was alone in the building. The box containing chains had been sitting on the hotel’s long stairway for a week. Minter was familiar with them because he tripped over them often, he said.
Thinking someone else had came to work when he heard the rattling, Minter looked around the building. No other living people were in the building.
“It creeped me out,” Minter said.
Another story is that a hotel bartender and one customer were in the building when the radio station suddenly changed. They smelled cigar smoke, but neither were smoking cigars. The piano that used to sit in the dining area started playing, trying to mimic the song on the radio.
No one else had came through the door.
Fowell said he and partner Cedric Ellingson were aware of the ghost stories when they purchased the Hammond Hotel last December.
Hotel guests are welcome to check out the upstairs of the building Halloween weekend, Fowell said.
They’re not planning to call in the Ghost Busters to evict the spirits, Fowell said.
“This is their place too,” he explained. “We don’t want to mess with them.”