The former Fairmont Hotel is now a skeleton of what was once Deadwood’s most notorious brothel. Next door once sat the infamous Nuttall & Mann’s Saloon No. 10., where Wild Bill Hickok was murdered by Jack McCall in 1876. While the spirit of Wild Bill now roams Bar and Trading Post that shares his name, it is said McCall aggressively haunts The Fairmont Hotel.
He is not alone; the 2nd and 3rd floors of the hotel are so haunted that rooms are no longer rented. The spirits are so violent and persnickety about how things are that visitors rarely stay very long.
Jealousy, rage, and depression led to the deaths of many in the Fairmont, and their spirits still thrive off of these incendiary emotions.
Trust our experienced tour guides to traverse Deadwood’s hauntingly dangerous streets on your next visit to Deadwood, South Dakota! Book a tour today!
The Fairmont Hotel was Deadwood’s most notorious brothel when it opened in 1895. The gold mining town illegally existed in the Black Hills since 1876 and gained quite a reputation. The lawless town, deep in uncharted Indian Territory, became a magnet for the most violent characters this Wild West had to offer.
One of these terrible men was Banjo Dick Brown, who shot and killed Ed Shaughnessy in 1876 over their begrudgingly shared lover, Fannie. This was the first official murder in Deadwood and occurred right where The Fairmont Hotel would later stand.
This murder was only the beginning, as a wave of violence spread across the city, especially at The Fairmont.
Wild Bill Hickok, one of the most famous gunslingers in American history, was murdered in cold blood by Jack McCall right next door just a few weeks later.
The ghost of McCall can be seen today roaming around the building, now operating as an Oyster Bar and pizza restaurant.
By the time The Fairmont Hotel opened, the ground it sat upon was stained in blood. Spiritual activity was already high here, but as Deadwood’s most notorious brothel progressed, so did its paranormal activity.
The Fairmont originally served as a simple lodging house, eventually becoming a full-on brothel, bar, and gambling house in 1903. From here on out, the trauma levels of the building increased tenfold.
The tragic story of Maggie Broadwater was the first major event to unfold at The Fairmont. Maggie, a beautiful young girl from Missouri, spent her life working in brothels around the Dakota territory.
She became a resident at The Fairmont after another young lover betrayed her and broke her heart. Finding the pressures of brothel life and a broken heart to be too much, Broadwater began to drink heavily in Deadwood. With her heart torn in two and her liver inflamed, she jumped from the third-floor window of the Fairmont.
Her ghost joins the many others that haunt this bewitched floor.
As time passed, the Fairmont changed ownership and purpose. During prohibition, it ceased to be a brothel and served as a simple lodging house once more. But its sinful ways were revived in the 1940s, and prostitution wasn’t made illegal in Deadwood until 1980! As such, the Fairmont saw some of the worst of human tragedies.
One man tried to kill various prostitutes during the hotel’s notorious early days, only accidentally shooting himself in the process. Another man fell ill on a visit to Deadwood and died in the Fairmont Hotel in the 1920s. Before his arrival, a young boy was killed here through violent means and pure neglect.
The building was turned into apartments in the 1990s, and by the early 2000s, the restaurants that currently occupy it moved in.
Odd things happened on the third floor, and often the second, during the apartment complex days. Today, the spiritual activity is so strong that they are solely used for paranormal investigations.
The three floors of The Fairmont Hotel see a barrage of paranormal activity nearly every single night. Jack McCall’s spirit dangerously strokes unsuspecting women on the first floor and is often seen by many visitors and employees.
The young boy who mysteriously passed away is seen running through the building, hiding behind slot machines and bar chairs.
Then there is Margaret Broadwater; she has been seen by more visitors to the Fairmont than anyone else. Her apparition has been captured on film walking up the staircase to the 2nd floor. One woman living at The Fairmont in 1995 saw her getting ready to jump in her third-floor apartment!
The most aggressive spirit of them all is the man who committed a rage-induced, accidental suicide. He does not like change and makes this unscrupulously known to anyone who has ever tried to renovate the third floor. His spirit is dangerous and is a major reason they keep the third floor closed.
The murder of Bill Hickok sent waves through the small gold-mining town deep in the Black Hills, waves that still resonate today. He was far from the only person to be murdered in cold blood in Deadwood, and the spirits of these outlaws and cowboys still haunt the town.
The Fairmont Hotel was once Deadwood’s most notorious brothel, today a great place to get oysters and pizza. Point being here, you never know where the spirits lurk in Deadwood!
Don’t leave it to guesswork; join our experienced tour guides for a ghost tour to discover Deadwood’s haunted history! For more information on all things ghostly, head over to our blog and be sure to follow us on social media (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok).