The Sagamore Hotel
Named one of the top 10 most haunted hotels in the United States by TODAY, the Sagamore Resort in Bolton Landing is known for its five-star accommodations, luxurious location on the banks of Lake George, and centennial history — but it’s got another lesser-known claim to fame… The Sagamore is haunted!
History at the Sagamore
The Sagamore first opened its doors in 1883, financed by a few prominent Lake George summer residents. It attracted the area’s wealthier clientele and was one of the most luxurious lodgings in the area. Built in a Queen-Anne style, the Victorian-era resort is protected, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The hotel was named after “the Sagamore,” a Native-American character in the James Fenimore Cooper novel ‘The Last of the Mohicans.’ Several of the islands around Lake George are also named after characters from the book.
The Sagamore had a bit of a bad luck streak, when it was damaged by fire twice in 1893 and again in 1914. It was rebuilt in early 1921 by a group of investors, including Dr. William G. Beckers, one of the hotel’s early stockholders, Adolph Ochs, the owner and publisher of the New York Times, Dr. Willy Myers, a New York surgeon, and William H. Bixby, a St. Louis industrialist, as well as a prominent architect and engineer by the name of Robert Rheinlander to oversee the reconstruction of the resort. By 1930, the Sagamore continued to thrive for decades, despite this renovation happening during The Great Depression.
Throughout its extensive history, The Sagamore had been a social center for wealthy tourists and residents of ‘Millionaire’s row,’ the line of massive mansions along Lake George’s western shore.
In 1981, the hotel’s posh reputation fell into disrepair, and it closed its stately doors in the same year. A couple of years later in 1983, nearly 100 years after it was first constructed, builder and real estate developer Norman Wolgin of Philadelphia purchased the resort and painstakingly restored it. The resort today is managed by Delray Beach, Florida-based Ocean Properties, which purchased the resort in 2008.
Now, you’re probably wondering what makes this historic Lake George centerpiece so haunted. Could it be the destruction of the fires, or perhaps just the age of the hotel that has led to the reports of ghostly encounters within its walls and on its grounds? The area surrounding The Sagamore has a long history as well – fighting among the French, British, and Native American population occurred in the region in the 1700s. A prior employee of the hotel even reportedly claimed The Sagamore was built on Native American burial grounds. Read on to find out who (or what) is haunting this Victorian treasure.
Haunted History at The Sagamore
With multiple encounters to tell, The Sagamore’s haunted history is just as expansive as the history of the resort itself. Let’s start at the main hotel lobby, where a woman in her early 20s is seen standing on the open porch. She looks down to the lake, watching the boats flow in and out. She is seen wearing a pinkish-brown dress with points of lace. Her name was Lillian, and she was said to have stayed at The Sagamore during the first era of the hotel. She was known to have visited the hotel with friends from Philadelphia to go boating in the calm waters surrounding the hotel.
Moving deeper into the bowels of the hotel, the elevator nearest the Concierge’s desk is frequented by a man by the name of Walter. He is dressed in a brown three-piece suit, and is described as slender, with a thick mustache! He is reported most in the card room, which was located where the first-floor rooms currently are.
In the kitchen, a woman in a 1930s-era gown is seen floating about, as well as the 2nd and 3rd-floor hallways. She is almost invisible to the naked eye but has been caught on numerous occasions on video and photographs.
On the 2nd and 3rd floor, a man dressed in a long black coat is witnessed walking frantically up and down the hallways. His phantom footsteps are heard day and night by living guests. He is well-known for his shiny leather shoes, he has also been sighted in the hallway by the spa.
One story is particularly frightening, however — the story of the former maid. In the mid-1930s, a maid was caught having an affair with a hotel guest and was promptly fired. She went back to the room to inform the guest that she had been fired, and while she was there explaining her situation to her beau, his wife returned. The husband had confessed the affair to his wife, and she wrestled the maid to the floor, smothering her with a pillow she angrily pulled from the bed.
The husband of this scorned woman was stunned, and he and his wife left immediately. (We’d bet he didn’t cheat again!) The maid wasn’t found until the next morning, and it was assumed that she perished from a heart attack. The maid still resides in the room, it is said that her anger has trapped her spirit there. She is said to not be able to leave the 2nd floor, but she is spotted moving up and down the hallways.
As for some guest reporting, two women stayed at the hotel and ended up calling the resort after their stay with some concerns. Their first question was if the hotel was haunted. They had both seen a man in their room watching them, as well as witnessed a spirit-child running through the end of her bed and into the bathroom. Neither of them reported feeling scared of the spirits, but they just wanted to verify their experiences.
Going to the outside of the hotel, the Sagamore’s golf course is haunted by the ghost of a young boy who was killed by a car in the 1950s while chasing golf balls. He is known to play pranks on the golfers, moving their flags, stealing their golf balls, among other things!
Today, the Sagamore is in operation as the beautiful resort it once was. Watersports, beaches, island camping, scuba diving, and coastal dining are at the top of the list of Sagamore visitors. Ghost hunting is allowed by appointment only, but asking a few questions in your own room to try and make contact is always encouraged! Just don’t be surprised if you come across a phantom guest hanging out in your suite!