Haunted Monte Vista Hotel
Located along old
Route 66 in
Arizona is the Hotel Monte Vista. Opening on New Yearís Day, 1927, this historic hotel,
listed on the National Register of Historic Places has been fully restored
to its former glory and continues to serve the traveling public today. Along with playing host to numerous famous figures over the years, such as
John Wayne, Bing Crosby, and Harry Truman, it also apparently is home to a
number of unearthly figures.
This old hotel is one of the very few American
hotels built entirely from public taxes, when, in 1924, a man by the name
of V.M. Slipher spearheaded a local fundraising campaign to build the
In 1924, tourism was a burgeoning business
in Flagstaff, where lodging was too scarce to keep visitors in town
to spend their hard earned dollars. Slipherís efforts resulted in a
city-voted ordinance which established a municipal bond to build the
After its opening, the hotel was popular
not only among the tourists but also a favorite of the locals who
quickly coined the phrase, "Meet me at the Monte V.Ē In its
first year, the hotel hosted Mary Costiganís daily three-hour radio
show from room 105. Costigan was the first American woman to be
granted a radio broadcasting license.
during the prohibition era, this didnít stop the Hotel Monte Vista Lounge from
ignoring the law and running a profitable bootlegging operation out of
most popular speakeasy. However, in 1931, the place was raided
by local officials and shut down, only to resume business two years
later when prohibition finally came to an end. For five years
between 1935 and 1940, the hotel lounge and lobby also offered its
many guests a wide range of slot machines to choose from, the only
ones ever in Flagstaff.
the 1940ís and 1950ís, Western movies became the choice of the
American public and more than one hundred movies were filmed in nearby
Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon. During these filmings, the Hotel Monte Vista hosted such
famous guests as Jane Russell, Gary Cooper, Spencer Tracy, John Wayne
and Bing Crosby. In one of the rooms of the hotel a scene from
Casablanca was filmed. In fact, it was John Wayne, who reported
seeing one of the hotelís first ghosts in the late 1950ís.
Describing the spirit as friendly, this benevolent
evidently made a brief appearance in the movie starís room.
In the 1970ís three men
robbed a Flagstaff bank near the
hotel, where one of the men was shot during their escape from the
bank. Lying low and celebrating their successful robbery, the
trio stopped in at the Monte Vista Lounge for a drink. However,
the wounded manís gunshot injury was obviously more serious than any
of them anticipated because before he could even finish his first
drink, he died right there in the lounge.
Today, staff and
guests feel as if this dead bandit is one of the many
that haunt the building. One manager reported that he would hear an
eerie voice that said "Hello" or "Good Morning" when he opened the bar
each day. Others have told stories of feeling a ghostly presence
while enjoying a drink in the cocktail lounge. Though this might be
the ghost of the the gunman, the hotel has such a past of shootings,
cowboys on horseback in the lobby, and drunken brawls that they aren't
All types of other strange phenomena are reported at the
hotel by spirits who make noise, move furniture around, make sudden
appearances, ring the lobby telephone, and knock things down. Both employees
and guests have heard band music coming from the second-floor lobby, when
there is no band playing.
Reportedly, the staff has become so accustomed to the odd
occurrences that it has become a joke to them.
In Room 210, called the Zane Grey room, many guests have
been awakened in the night by a
bellboy, who knocks on the door with the statement that room service has
arrived. However, when the guests open the door, they see nothing
but an empty hallway, not even a glimpse of someone escaping down the long
corridor. Others have reported seeing the image of a woman who
wanders the halls outside this room. Supposedly, the
hotel avoids putting guests with pets in this room because
dogs go crazy with fear and tear up the room.
This floor is evidently a hub of ghostly
activity, as just down the hall in Room 220, all types of strange activity
is reported. Evidently in the early 1980ís this room played host to
an eccentric long-term boarder who was known to hang raw meat from the
chandelier. Sometime later he died in this room and his body was not
discovered for several days. Today, guests often complain of
hearing coughing and other noises from the otherwise empty room. At
one time, after a maintenance man had made several repairs to the room, he
turned off the light and locked the door. However, returning just
five minutes later, the light was back on, the bed linens stripped, and the television broadcasting at full blast.
In the Gary Cooper Room many guests have
reported being unnerved by the sure feeling that someone was watching
them. Reportedly, two prostitutes were murdered in this room when
they were thrown out the window. The two
painted ladies have also been reportedly sighted in the pool hall and
In yet another room, number 305, the ghost of a
female apparition is often reported as sitting in the rocking chair. Further, if the cleaning staff moves the chair, the next day it will
always reappear next to the window.
The Hotel Monte Vista is the longest
publicly held commercial hotel in the history of America, finally selling
to a private individual in the early 1960's. Located at 100 N. San
Francisco Street, the old hotel with its tales of scandal and ghost
stories continues to entertain.
100 N. San Francisco St.
928-779-6971 or 800-545-3068
of America, updated May, 2017.
Flagstaff Vintage Photographs
the Hotel Weatherford
Museum Club's Unearthly Guests
Sign above the
Hotel Monte Vista
April, 2005, Kathy Weiser