Hotel Monte Vista
The Hotel Monte Vista located along the old Route 66 in Flagstaff, Arizona opened its doors for the first time on New Year’s Day in 1927. This hotel has the honour of being listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Hotel Monte Vista has greeted such famous guests as John Wayne, Bing Crosby and Harry Truman.
It counts as one of the few American hotels that was built totally from public taxes. In 1924 a man named V. M. Slipher headed a local fundraising campaign in order to built this hotel. At that time tourism was flourishing in Flagstaff and a new hotel was badly needed. Slipher’s efforts resulted in a city-voted ordinance and as a result of this a municipal bond was established to build the hotel. It became so popular that a phrase was coined “Meet me at the Monte V”. During its first year the hotel hosted Mary Costigan’s daily three-hour radio show broadcast in Room 105. She was the first American woman to be granted a license for radio broadcasting.
The Prohibition Era and Westerns
The Hotel Monte Vista continued through the Prohibition Era and ran a most profitable bootlegging operation. It was raided in 1931 and closed down for two years. Between the years 1935 and 1940 in the hotel lounge and the lobby guests could play on slot machines. Western movies gained popularity in the 1940s and 1950s and many of the Westerns were filmed nearby in Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon. During the filming, the hotel became host to actors and actresses like Jane Russell, Gary Cooper, Spencer Tracy, John Wayne and Bing Crosby.
The Hotel Monte Vista’s biggest claim to fame is that one scene from the classic movie “Casablanca” was filmed in one of their rooms. John Wayne was the first to have seen ghosts in the late 1950s. He described the ghost that was in his hotel room as being a friendly spirit. Now that Wayne is a spirit himself I wonder if he has returned to this hotel. Perhaps he and this friendly spirit have become great pals.
The Bank Robbery
Three men robbed a Flagstaff bank not far from the hotel and one of the robbers got shot during the escape attempt. The three men still felt that they had made a successful robbery and stopped at the Hotel Monte Vista lounge for a celebratory drink. Soon it was obvious that the wounded robber’s injury was quite serious and before he could drink up he died there in the lounge. This dead bandit is now among the hotel’s ghostly guests. A manager has heard an eerie voice saying, “Hello” or “Good morning”. Others have said that they have experienced feeling a ghostly presence in the lounge while having a drink. This could be the spirit of the dead robber but the hotel has also experienced cowboys on horseback in the lobby and sudden drunken brawls so no one is sure who the ghost might really be.
Ghosts at play
Guests have reported strange phenomena like ghosts who make noise, love to move furniture about, make sudden unexpected appearances, ring the phone in the lobby and knock things to the floor. Both the staff and guests have heard a band playing in the second-floor lobby but haven’t seen anything.
In the Zane Grey Room, number 210 guests have been awakened in the night by a ghostly bellhop who comes knocking on the door announcing room service. Personally, if he really brought food I wouldn’t mind having a midnight snack. However, when the guests open up the door the hallway is empty.
Other guests have seen a lady wandering the hallways right outside of this room. These ghostly spirits seem to have some connection with this room. The hotel avoids giving this room to people with pets because dogs become so frightened they start tearing the room apart. I know that dogs and cats can see ghosts so it is no wonder the poor animals get scared.
Apparently, the second floor is the place to stay if you would like to meet some ghosts. Down the hall in Room 220 lots of strange ghostly activity happens. The story is that in the early 1980s an eccentric long-term guest was known to hang raw meat from the chandelier. When he died in this room his body wasn’t discovered for several days. Now when guests stay here they say they can hear coughing and other noises even though the room seems empty. A maintenance man tried to set things right in the room, then turned off the light and locked the door. When he returned some five minutes later the light was on in the room, the bed linens removed and the TV was blasting.
The Gary Cooper Room
In this room guests have a feeling that someone is watching them. This room was the scene of a murder where two prostitutes were killed and then thrown out of the window. Now these ladies of the night have been seen in the lounge and the pool hall.
Here you’ll find a lady ghost who likes to sit in the rocking chair. If the chair gets relocated the next day it will be back by the window again. I’m sure this lady might have interesting stories to tell and if she could articulate I wouldn’t mind listening if I was a guest at this hotel. Just might be a book in all those stories.
The Hotel Monte Vista has the honor of being the longest publicly held commercial hotel in the history of the U.S. It was sold to a private individual in the early 60s. So if you’re traveling in the states make a stop at this hotel on N. San Francisco Street in Flagstaff, Arizona and have some fun with the playful ghosts here. You can see the reception area in the photo on top so, ring that bell and check-in.