Red Garter Inn
While bunking down
at the Red
Garter Inn in
you will not only sleep alongside a rich history, but perhaps a ghost. The building that houses the
Red Garter has been standing for more than a century serving as a
bordello, a rooming house, a general store, and more.
Built in 1897
by August Tetzlaff, a German tailor, Tetzlaff planned to cash in on the
expected silver and copper boom anticipated at the Grand Canyon. The
building first a housed a saloon on the first floor and a brothel with a
parlor and eight cribs upstairs, where the girls were often known to hang
out of the windows calling to the working men below. A steep flight
of stairs known as the "Cowboy’s Endurance Test” led to the girls upstairs
rooms. The second floor also boasted a two-story outhouse off the
back of the building, so that brothel "guests” wouldn’t have to navigate
the steep stairs once again.
Behind the saloon, two rear rooms of the
building once housed Chinese railroad workers, who both lived and operated
a chophouse and opium den crowded into the small space. During this time,
the local sheriff was often called to the site to investigate a murder,
only to arrive to find nothing out of the ordinary.
At one point, the tales
became so frequent, that the local garbage collector was lowered into
the cesspool below the outhouses to look for bodies, only to be lifted
again, having found nothing.
Red Garter Inn, formerly the Red Garter Bed & Bakery in Williams,
Arizona, is reportedly
haunted by the ghost of Eva.
April, 2005, Kathy Weiser
The saloon was operated
for years by a man named Longino Mora, who was a notable figure as a
U.S. Cavalry Scout and his heroism in the Indian Wars. Born in
1848 in Socorro,
New Mexico, Longino also
became legendary in
Williams for having
five wives and twenty-five children over the years. When his youngest
child was born, his oldest child was sixty years old.
The saloon and bordello thrived
as miners, loggers, cowboys, and railroad workers stopped in for
a drink and often to partake of the painted ladies upstairs.
the turn of the century,
Williams had gained a
reputation as a rough and rowdy frontier town, filled with saloons,
brothels, gambling houses, and opium dens. Soon, the town
restricted the houses of vice to an area called "Saloon
Row” on Railroad Avenue.
prostitution in 1907, the law was only loosely enforced. Even
during prohibition, the saloon and brothel
continued to operate, hiding its bar and poker tables behind a
divider. Both businesses continued to operate successfully until
the mid 1940s, when a murder was committed on the stairs of the
Red Garter, leading to
a city-wide crackdown on houses of ill-repute. The crackdown
ultimately led to the closure of the saloon and brothel after more
than forty years of operation.
Over the next several decades the building
would house different types of businesses, including a rooming house
and general store. In 1979, a man by the name of John Holst
bought the building but continued to lease it out until 1994. At
that time, Holst renovated the building converting the eight cribs
into four guest rooms, each with its own bathroom, and opened the Red Garter
Bed and Bakery.
After opening, guests and
staff began to report signs of ghostly activity, including the sound of
footsteps when no one is around, doors mysteriously slamming, and strange
"clunking” noises heard throughout the building. Though one might
think that the spiritual activity could be attributed to the murder that
occurred on the stairway or the many missing people during the Chinese
opium days, the spirit is said to actually be that of a young girl, for
which no one can account for.
Guests have reported
seeing the apparition, describing her as a Hispanic girl with long dark
hair and dressed in a white nightgown. One guest who claimed to have
made contact with the spirit, said her name was Eve or Eva.
While most guests of the
historic inn report getting a good night’s sleep, others have said they
felt their beds shake or someone touching their arms.
The most unusual
phenomena is that the ghost seems to sometimes appear in photographs. One such photograph, that owner John Holst will frequently show his
guests, is a 1934 picture of the unsmiling faces of Longino Mora, his
fifth wife Clara and his 25th child, Carmina. Oddly, the
photograph also portrays a woman behind the counter standing before a
mirror who is smiling broadly. The woman is not reflected in the
mirror she stands in front of. Might this be the mysterious Eva?
Today, now called the
Red Garter Inn, it is
listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is wonderful bed
and breakfast experience that downplays the stories of Eva as "greatly
exaggerated". Still though, the legend and experiences of the past will
live on in Williams.
The Red Garter
137 Railroad Avenue
Williams, Arizona 86046
of America, updated May, 2017.
Route 66 (main
This photograph of Longino Mora and his
wife and child also displays a woman in the background, whose reflection
does not appear in the mirror. Photo courtesy