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Once the center of Houston’s first commerce district, the formerly beloved, now defunct Spaghetti Warehouse is one of the city’s most tellingly haunted locations. Two spirits, with some talks of three, wander the second floor amongst full plates of Lasagna and Chicken parmesan and happy mouths.
The once lavishly decorated and ornate dining area was flooded during Hurricane Harvey and has been closed since 2017. But the stories of floating bread baskets, rearranged furniture, and phantom sounds persist in the minds of Houstonians.
The one-time capital of Texas had bloomed from a small, nearly landlocked cluster of shacks and lean-tos into a center of commerce by the start of the 20th century. The addition of railroads in the 1850s and the shipyards in the 1870s had turned Houston into Texas’s lifeline to the East.
The discovery of oil in 1901 at Spindletop led to an economic boom that still affects the city today. The city’s first commerce district emerged out of the hustle and bustle of this modern development.
In 1894 the city was divided into four districts, with the first district lying between Buffalo Bayou and White Oak Bayou. These waters would supply the city with large amounts of produce, furs, and other goods over the next century.
Warehouses began lining up along Commerce Street, the road closest to the docks. “Produce Row” was a thriving economic hub of Houston at the turn of the 20th century. It was within this entrepreneurial atmosphere that the Desel-Boettcher Warehouse was constructed.
Two neighbors of commerce, Charles Louis Desel and Frederick A. Boettcher, constructed the large warehouse after a 1904 business merger.
It stored fur pelts and later produced them until becoming a pharmaceutical warehouse in the mid-1900s.
The restaurant opened in 1974, a new addition to a small series of chains around the state. However, this location was different. It was decorated with glamorous furnishings from around the world. The sky was nearly the limit due to the size of the building. A full-sized Houston Avenue trolley car sat in the dining area.
A staircase from a European castle led you up to the second floor, where special events took place. From the ceiling hung a chandelier that formerly sat in Penn Station. It was not easily forgotten after its closure in 2017.
Today a sports bar sits at 901 Commerce Street. The old furniture was auctioned off after the storm, and the building was repurposed in 2019. But the stories of strange sounds and moving objects on the second floor persisted.
The most commonly reported ghost at The Spaghetti Warehouse is that of a former pharmacist and his wife. While at work late one night, a poor, young pharmacist fell down an elevator shaft.
After realizing he hadn’t come home, his wife rushes to the warehouse to find him dead at the bottom of the elevator shaft, the fall had instantly broken his neck. She lives her life in agony until succumbing to a broken heart less than a year later.
Visitors to the men’s room, not far from the old elevator, see his apparition pacing back and forth. Most of his activity is exerted in the basement, where his final moments once flashed before his eyes.
One former waiter describes going down into the basement after a major flood to find all the tables and chairs neatly stacked in one corner with no sign of a break-in. Chairs often vibrate down there, according to the waiter, and an eerie presence is felt.
The Pharmacist’s Wife is even more active than her deceased husband. She ties the shoes of employees together, taps on the shoulders of unsuspecting guests, and makes a mess in the kitchen. Silverware and dishes are often found in disarray and flung across the room. One waiter reported watching a wicker basket even float down from the second floor.
The Spaghetti Factor is gone, replaced with McIntyre’s Downtown, but the spirits are surely still there. 901 Commerce Street is a major stop on any Haunted Houston tour. Take one of our guided tours to learn from the best! US Ghost Adventures provides you with a fun, interactive route and an experienced tour guide to lead the way!
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