The Weatherford Hotel opened in 1900 when Flagstaff became a center of commerce and a halfway point between the expansive West and familiar East. The high desert town attracted all kinds of dreamers, dealers, and deputies.
In our modern times, their spirits still live on in unison with the living, haunting the hallways and hotel rooms of the glamorous hotel.
The Weatherford saw Flagstaff transition from a frontier town to a civilized city. These historic moments continue to breathe air into the legendary hotel, all while whispering tales from a time past.
Visitors to Flagstaff are continuously attracted to the Weatherford Hotel; the spirits, the fine dining, and the stories of frontiersmen like writer Zane Grey and Wyatt Earp all create an alluring mystique.
When Texan John Weatherford arrived in 1882, Flagstaff was just beginning to become a center of commerce for the Arizona Territory. Cattle herders brought their bovine bounties to and from San Diego and other Western states.
The railroad, laid down in 1885, brought new possibilities and a direct connection to the Pacific Ocean. A new type of visitor began to flock to the cool climates and adventurous landscape of Flagstaff, the tourist. The Grand Canyon, in all of its majestic beauty, struck a chord in the hearts of Americans. They were now able to witness it for themselves.
Weatherford capitalized on the opportunity, now a young deputy and Marshall of The Peace of the burgeoning town. He envisioned a large hotel fully capable of supporting and serving Flagstaff’s wealthy new visitors.
Flagstaff was in dire need of reconstruction after two disastrous fires in 1896 and again in 1897. Weatherford was granted permission from the city to build a grand hotel. Construction began in April 1899, and by January 1, 1900, the Weatherford Hotel was officially open.
For the next thirty years, The Weatherford combined modern amenities, an unrivaled dedication to luxury, and a passion for entertainment. Throughout its early history, the hotel included a theatre, a restaurant, a billiard hall, and even a local radio station!
The Flagstaff slowly fell out of favor with the construction of new hotels such as the Monte Vista. A large fire damaged the building in 1929, the same year the Monte Vista was built, and the family soon lost ownership in 1933. John Weatherford died in 1933 but left behind a monumental legacy.
Henry Taylor and Pamela “Sam” Green have owned The Weatherford Hotel since 1975 and have worked hard to restore it to its former grandeur.
In Weatherford’s early days, numerous famous guests flocked here to experience everything Flagstaff and the hotel had to offer. Former president Theodore Roosevelt, gunman Wyatt Earp, newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst, and artist Thomas Moran are a few among many.
Zane Grey, the noted writer who created the “Western” genre, is the most well-known of the group. The intrigue of his novels is accurately portrayed inside the Weatherford, and the grand ballroom is named after him. His novels, such as Riders of The Purple Sage and The Lone Star Ranger, were inspired by his time in Flagstaff and the surrounding area.
While these famous guests add a curious charm to the century-old hotel, the spirits that stay here attract a different clientele. Not all who come here know about the hauntings, of course, but they quickly find out.
The most famous tale is of the couple that haunts Room 54. Their story goes one of two ways, but both involve a honeymooning couple and end in a dark tragedy. The first tale states that the groom choked his bride to death before taking his own life with a pistol.
The second portrays an even darker story. The groom partook in a hunting trip in the middle of winter, a cold and snowy time in the high desert. The bride waited for days and truly believed her husband to be dead. She promptly hung herself out of misery.
When the groom finally returned, he found his dead wife hanging from the ceiling. His grief became too much, and he turned his hunting rifle on himself.
Whatever the truth is, this room is now so haunted that the hotel has disallowed guests from even staying in it. It operates as a storage room, and the spirits live there peacefully.
There are tales of people waking up to find them watching them in their bed. They walk across the room before slowly disappearing into thin air. Strange music plays through the air, lights flicker, and the voices of a couple bitterly arguing can be heard floating across the room.
It is so haunted that it was deemed too frightening for guests to enter and is now a storage room.
Other spirits are roaming The Weatherford Hotel, unsurprising given its long history in a frontier town. The basement commonly experiences odd cold spots and drafts. Some hotel employees claim to have met two spirits, Matilde and Alginon. One is friendly, while the other enjoys playing tricks on people.
These mysterious spirits and the cursed couple in Room 54 are only some of the hauntings waiting inside The Weatherford Hotel and other locations around Flagstaff. Join us as we take you deeper into Flagstaff’s haunted past.
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