The Tremont House Hotel is almost older than its mother country, Texas, and its spectral residents speak loudly about this. Galveston’s most haunted hotel and its ghostly visitors are just another finely tuned touch in a historic and elegant building.
The original Tremont Hotel was opened in 1839, the same year Galveston was founded and seven years before Texas became a state. Its lavish walls would go on to host six presidents, various war heroes, and even a Wild West superstar over nearly two hundred years and in three different locations.
When the Tremont House Hotel experienced its grand 20th-century reopening, those involved quickly realized something wasn’t right with the hotel’s new home. Apparitions were seen walking the halls, strange sounds emanated from rooms late at night, and electronics flickered on and off.
Paranormal activity continues to this day in the Tremont House Hotel. Those enticed by the hotel’s radiating exterior and golden interior quickly find they are not alone.
Take a look into Galveston’s most haunted hotel with us, and if you find yourself intrigued, take a ghost tour with US Ghost Adventures on your next visit!
The Tremont was already there when Galveston was incorporated in 1839. It has become an institution in Galveston akin to the city’s love of pirate culture and fresh sea air.
The Republic of Texas had gained its independence from Mexico three years prior, and the Tremont celebrated its opening night with a grand celebration in honor of the Battle of San Jacinto. April 19th, 1839, three years after the battle, marked the beginning of one of the finest hotels in Texas.
Twenty-two years later, on April 19th, 1861, Texan hero General Sam Houston made a moving speech from the north gallery warning his fellow Texans of the oncoming Civil War. In a shocking premonition, he predicted “fire and rivers of blood” if Texas seceded from the Union.
His prediction came true, and in that same year, the Tremont Hotel was occupied by Union troops and destroyed in a fire.
The second incarnation of the Tremont was built in 1872 and vastly overshadowed its two-story tall predecessor. The new hotel took up a half block and rose six stories in the air.
This second hotel garnered the notoriety the Tremont would later become known for. Its lavish hallways attracted a who’s who of 19th-century America, including Ulysses S. Grant and five other presidents, former Texas president Sam Houston, Wild West Star Buffalo Bill Cod, Russian prima ballerina Anna Pavlova, and many more.
The Tremont Hotel, like the rest of Galveston, was deeply affected by the disastrous storm of 1900. The brick building remained intact, however. It housed hundreds of people during the storm and became the headquarters for Clara Barton of the Red Cross during their relief efforts.
The after-effects of the storm were what crushed the hotel. The destruction caused by the storm destroyed the tourist-based economy, and by 1928, the majestic hotel could no longer stay open. It was demolished on December 11th, 1928, and nearly lost to time.
Gas and oil producers George and Cynthia Mitchell reopened the Tremont House Hotel in 1985. These preservationists had been working endlessly towards bringing back the historic hotel since 1971. Its new home was the 1879 Leon & H. Bloom building, a building with a curious past.
Leon & H. Bloom was the major dry goods importer and exporter in the middle of the 19th century in both the United States and Europe. Their Southwestern operations were headquartered in Galveston until the economic depression of the 1890s, when the entire business shuttered.
The building became the headquarters for another dry goods company until 1917 and then the Galveston Tribune from 1923-1926. For a short time, it was used as a boarding house called the Belmont Boarding House.
The spirits of the Tremont House Hotel emerged out of this fabled building, most famously a man named Lucky Man “Sam.”
On the 4th floor of the east side of the building, many guests hear a strange thumping, as if someone with one foot is attempting to walk down the halls. This is the spirit of Lucky Man Sam, a man whose ironic nickname provided him with no luck.
Sam was a salesman living in the Belmont Boarding House shortly before the building was turned into the Tremont. He won it big at the casino one night and happily but slowly, due to a limp, returned to his room.
He was followed that night and murdered in his sleep. Since the hotel opened, guests have heard his odd walking pattern around the 4th floor. Many have stated that their rooms have appeared to shake as loud knocks woke them from their sleep.
There are many other spirits roaming the Tremont alongside Lucky Man Sam. One of the most witnessed is a Confederate soldier. He marches from the lobby area, past the front desk, and towards the back office areas. The eerie clicking sound of his boots against the marble floor is often heard in the middle of an empty lobby, confusing hotel staff late at night.
He is accompanied by the spirit of a little boy the staff has named “Jimmy.” It is believed Jimmy was hit by a car in front of the building, but this hasn’t stopped his spirit from being playful.
Jimmy is often seen in the corner of the employee’s eyes and is often seen playing with glasses in the bar area. He has been known to slide glasses straight across the bar!
Meet Jimmy and the other spirits of the Tremont House Hotel on a tour with US Ghost Adventures! Read our blog for more shocking true stories of terror, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok for up-to-the-minute content!