Sitting dead center in the desert town of Goldfield, Nevada, sits the Goldfield Hotel, a silent reminder of the glory days of the town. Well over a century ago in 1902, adventurous men struck it rich when an abundance of gold was discovered in mines outside of town. With the mines producing more of the precious metals than anyone could imagine, a town needed to be built that reflected the prosperity of the mines and the town of Goldfield rose out of the arid landscape of Nevada.
When news of the gold strikes reached the rest of the nation, waves of people with gold fever headed west in the hopes of making their fortunes. Practically overnight, the population of Goldfield swelled to an impressive 35,000 souls. What was once considered a wasteland was now being called the greatest city between Chicago and San Francisco. For these people, money was being made and dreams were becoming reality.
Six years after the founding of the town, the mining companies came to the conclusion that the few rooms which saloons offered were not enough for tourists. The town was now attracting wealthier visitors in search of gold and they desired a hotel that would meet their discriminating expectations. The town of Goldfield would give them what they wanted.
Noted architect, George Holesworth, was contracted by the mining companies to build the most luxurious hotel this side of the Mississippi. Holesworth put his considerable talent to work and the mining companies gave him whatever he needed with cost being no issue.
When the hotel was completed, each room had amenities that were unheard of at the time. Working telephones were installed in every room along with the miracle of electric lights. Each room had its own bathroom as well as a radiator to heat the rooms on those chilly desert nights.
Aesthetically, the hotel was beautiful to behold. The hotel had gold sconces, marble floors waxed to perfection and the lobby was adorned with a marble front desk. And the best thing of all, the rooms were filled nightly with the fabulously wealthy. Such untold success caused the owners to ask only one question, how could they possibly lose.
The answer to their question came in 1909, when they discovered to their dismay the hotel was hemorrhaging money. In order to save the hotel, which was tipping into the red, the owners brought in George Wingfield to run the hotel. With his hands in everything from politics to real estate, Wingfield was an extraordinarily powerful man. By all appearances, he was the perfect man to turn the floundering hotel around. But sometimes, appearances can be deceiving.
One of the most enduring stories surrounding the hotel was Wingfield’s inappropriate relationship with a young woman named Elizabeth. Behind closed doors, the married George Wingfield carried on an affair with Elizabeth until one day when Elizabeth found herself in an unenviable situation. The young woman discovered she was pregnant and only one person could be the father, George Wingfield.
When Elizabeth brought the news of her pregnancy to her lover, Wingfield immediately panicked. He feared that if any of this were made public, it would more than likely ruin him. At first, Wingfield did what men of means might do in this position, he tried buying Elizabeth’s silence. Elizabeth would have none of that nonsense. She wanted Wingfield to leave his wife so the two of them could establish a life together. Wingfield thought otherwise. He would do whatever it took to silence Elizabeth – even if that meant murder.
As the story goes, Wingfield allegedly lured Elizabeth to the hotel by telling her he left his wife. When the couple entered room 109, Wingfield blindsided Elizabeth and beat her unconscious. Hours later when she awoke, Elizabeth found herself covered in blood and chained to a radiator. She screamed for help and begged for mercy through bloody lips. Sadly, those screams for help were never heard. As for mercy, it was nowhere to be found.
Despite the horrific beating Elizabeth took, she gave birth to a baby girl. When Wingfield heard the crying of the infant, he flew into a violent rage. Wingfield slaughtered Elizabeth and threw the baby down a darkened elevator shaft. To this day, visitors claim to hear the mournful wails of a baby in the elevator shaft followed by a blast of icy air.
Room 109 appears to be forever affected by the ruthless act committed in it decades ago. The wispy apparition of a woman, presumably Elizabeth, is seen walking into the room. She has also been seen chained to the wall as she cries out in anguish. When she manifests, the room becomes colder than a meat locker and whoever is present feels the overwhelming sensation of desperation. The young woman who found love in the wrong man is forced to forever live with her mistake.
While the country struggled through the great depression, the Goldfield Hotel shared in the agony of America’s financial meltdown. The third floor is said to be haunted by two people who killed themselves when they discovered the hotel was going under. The female hung herself and her male counterpart threw himself out of a window. Both are frequently seen walking the halls and lurking in the shadows.
The once grand hotel in the desert of Nevada welcomed it’s last paying customer in 1945. For a period of 4 decades, several people invested in the hotel with the intention of bringing it back from the dead. But, no matter how hard they tried they could never make it work. One of the problems they faced was keeping reliable employees on the payroll. And why, you may ask. Well, they were terrified due to all the ghostly activity they encountered on a daily basis.
Those who were courageous enough to work in the hotel were eventually scared away by peculiar accidents and encounters with the ghosts. One ghost in particular simply called, “The phantom gunman” was one that unnerved a number of people. They watched in terror as he would step out of the shadows, raise his gun and squeeze off a shot before vanishing. When they realized they weren’t struck by real bullets, the witness promptly fled. Being shot by spectral bullets would be enough to scare anyone away.
In 1985, a local rancher bought the hotel in the hopes of renovating it and revitalizing the town that was quickly becoming a ghost town. The old cowboy is resolute when he says no spook will scare him away. Perhaps one day this once fabulous hotel will be brought back to life. Ghosts and all.
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