During the depression, the historic hotel suffered along with everyone
else and was temporarily closed for a time.
During the 1948
presidential election, Harry S. Truman sought refuge at the hotel when it
appeared that he was losing his re-election bid. However, in the wee
hours of the morning, he was awakened by his aides informing him that he
had, in fact, won the election and was whisked away to Kansas City, where
he was photographed holding a copy of the Chicago Tribune
proclaiming Dewey the winner.
In 1966, the hotel suffered another economic
downtown following the U.S. Government ruling that mineral water
treatments would no longer be covered by insurance. However, the Elms has
endured its many challenges and fully restored to its original grandeur it continues to host hundreds of guests every year.
Throughout the years, the Elms has
hosted a number of famous guests including President Harry Truman and Al
Capone, mentioned above, and others such as oil magnate Harry Sinclair,
artist Thomas Hart Benton, and TV personality Dave Garroway.
The Elms is a
significant landmark in Excelsior Springs, and is currently listed in the
National Register of Historic Places. Located south of the
intersection of Elms
Boulevard and Regent Avenue, the Elms Hotel
complex is surrounded by lushly planted acreage, with walking trails
shaded by mature trees and flanked by stone walls in some areas. A
tennis court and ruins of a stone garage are southwest of the hotel and
are reached by a pedestrian bridge. The Fishing River runs along the
eastern edge of the property. The old pump house now houses a gift
features 152 guest rooms and suites, more than 11,000 square feet of
meeting space, including the 3,900-square-foot
Ballroom, a 42-seat amphitheater, a stone carriage house and a 20-person
boardroom. Amenities include two restaurants, two lounges, a
10,000-square-foot spa, an indoor European swim track, an indoor banked
jogging track, a fitness room, an outdoor pool, a challenge course, a
walking trail, and a professional volleyball court.
The Elms, like
many historic hotels, is also said to play host to a couple of unearthly
guests. The lap pool in the basement is said to be haunted by a man
traced back to the hotel’s "speakeasy” days. During prohibition, the
gangsters used to store their liquor and hold their all-night gambling
parties in these blocked off rooms. The spirit is said to be that of
man killed by the mob during one of these illegal drinking events.
Reportedly, on the third
floor the hotel, staff and guests alike, have often seen a maid wearing a
1920s style uniform. Seemingly, she is extremely benevolent and only
there to watch today’s housekeeping staff to ensure that they are doing
their work correctly.
Another spirit is said to
be that of a woman who walks through the hotel looking for her child. Distressed, she has been known to pull people’s hair or throw things
across the room.
Both guests and staff report the feeling of an
unearthly presence in several areas throughout the old hotel, as well as
unexplained noises and the occasional glimpse at one of the three spirits.
is 30 minutes north of Kansas City in Excelsior Springs' historic business
Elms Resort & Spa
401 Regent St
or (800) THE-ELMS
of America, updated January 2009.