Things aren’t all they seem to be over at the old Stockyards Hotel. The hotel, located in Fort Worth’s legendary Stockyards, once home to the largest livestock market in the Southwest, is haunted by cowboys and rodeo stars of the past.
Over the decades, the hotel became plagued by various suicides, murders, and criminal activity. It was home to the infamous couple Bonnie and Clyde and the site of a gruesome murder-suicide during the 1930s. These events have tarnished the hotel with a paranormal reputation that is hard to dispose of.
While this was not what the developer, Col. T.M. Tannisch, had in mind when he constructed the iconic hotel in 1907, it has added to the already spectacular legend of the Stockyards Hotel.
The Stockyards is a national historical landmark and a popular destination for visitors. They flock to see the twice-daily cattle drive, the only one in the world, and enjoy a plethora of shopping, eating, and entertainment.
The freaks and those considered with the darker side of Fort Worth’s past come to the hotel to experience something more sinister.
This area, now a cataclysmic melange of eateries, bars, and boutique shopping, was once filled with livestock. Stinky, smelly, and lucrative livestock. It all began with the railroad, as many things in those days did. Its arrival in 1876 marked a new era for “Cowtown,” an apt nickname for a city that saw nearly 4 million cattle pass through its borders between 1866 and 1890.
The Stockyards operated as a shipping center, sending livestock off to other areas of the southwest until two wealthy investors from Boston, Greenleif Simpson and Louisville V. Niles, convinced various meat-packing companies to build their plants in Fort Worth.
The business was soon booming, opening up opportunities for new developments such as “Cowtown Coliseum.” A massive indoor coliseum that was completed in just 88 days in 1907! This became the sight of the world’s first indoor rodeo and set the stage for the Stockyards Hotel.
Col. T.M. Tannisch was a powerful man in Cowtown in the early 1900s. He was a City Alderman, vice-president of the Exchange National Bank, and part owner of the North Fort Worth Ice and Cold Storage company. He was a man who understood opportunity and jumped on the idea of building a luxurious hotel for all of Fort Worth’s visiting cowboys and rodeo stars.
Construction of the Stockyards Hotel began in 1907, short after the Cowtown Coliseum, and produced a small three-story brick building. This was demolished and turned into an 86-room hotel just six years later.
It changed names and hands through the years and was designated a historical national landmark in 1984. Now, this hotel sits at the center of Fort Worth’s vibrant entertainment district.
Hosting various famous rodeo stars, cowboys, criminals, and everyday people over many decades, its legend speaks for it. Some of their spirits remain here, trapped eternally through the external trauma and violence that led to their doom.
Over the years, various suicides, murders, and traumatic events have occurred at The Stockyard Hotel. For these reasons, it is incredibly haunted. Some even say the spirits of the
famous crime couple, Bonnie and Clyde, are still here in Room 305, their one-time home.
Poems written by Bonnie Parker hang from the walls of Room 305. Alongside them are Clyde Barrow’s Colt double action .38 pistol and the spirits of Bonnie and Clyde themselves.
The two met not far from here one fateful day and proceeded to take America by storm with one of the most impressive crime sprees to this day. The two stayed here in 1933, choosing the room as an ideal vantage point.
They were finally gunned down a year later in Gibsland, LA, but their spirits have chosen the Stockyards Hotel as their permanent resting place.
The faucets, radio, and television turn on and off independently in this bewitched room. The ghosts of Bonnie and Clyde, always in the limelight, still have a little more to say.
These two outlaws may be the most famous spirits residing in the Stockyard Hotel, but they are far from the scariest. That title belongs to a rodeo star named C.D. “Junior” Caldwell. Junior and his wife Ada both had their own fairly impressive criminal record, at times getting caught up in disputes that ended in domestic violence.
Their toxic relationship came to an abrupt end one evening. Junior, facing a hefty jail sentence, chased Ada down a hallway in a hail of bullets before turning the gun on himself.
Deciding that if he couldn’t have her, then no one could. She ironically escaped with her life. His spurs are still heard jangling down that lonesome hallway.
Two more suicides followed Junior’s death in the next decades. Because of this, the hotel is plagued by phantom activities. Strange calls from an empty lobby occur night after night at the front desk. The elevator operates in unusual ways, and apparitions of cowboys and rodeo stars appear and disappear into the night.
Fort Worth is full of spectral visions and spooky stories. The Stockyards Hotel is just one of many haunted locations dotting Cowtown, waiting for paranormal enthusiasts to discover them.
If you are looking for adventures, horror, and a hootin’ good time, trust US Ghost Adventures to show it to you. Our experienced tour guides provide the darkest history and scariest stories across the Fort Worth area.
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