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Haunted Goldfield Hotel - Page 2


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Over the years, the hotel has changed hands numerous times, with each new owner promising to restore and reopen the old property. In 1985, the building was bought by a San Francisco investor named Lester O’Shea whose plans looked as if they might really come through. However, after a few years when his restoration project was about 85% complete, his company went bankrupt and the property reverted back to the county. In 2003, the county auctioned off the old hotel, as well as nearly ninety other parcels of historic land. A rancher from Carson City named Edgar "Red” Roberts was the only bidder and bought the hotel for $360,000.


Reportedly, Roberts has plans to finish the refurbishing of the bottom two floors, spending an estimated $1 million, to reopen the historic hotel to the public.


The restoration project would include 40 guest rooms, a casino and a café. The dying town of Goldfield is pinning its hopes on Roberts, knowing that the reopening could revitalize the town with new jobs and tourism. However, they’ve heard it so many times, they’re not holding their breath until they see it complete.



The Goldfield Hotel today

The Goldfield Hotel , April, 2005, Kathy Weiser.



As to the ghosts of the old hotel, reportedly there are several, the most famous of which is a woman named Elizabeth*.  According to the legend, Elizabeth was a prostitute that George Wingfield visited frequently. When she turned up pregnant, she claimed the child was Wingfield’s, who for a while paid her to stay away, fearful of how the scandal might affect his business affairs. However, when she could no longer hide the pregnancy, Wingfield was said to have lured her into room 109 of the hotel, where he chained her to a radiator. Supplied with food and water, she was left there until her child could be born. Reportedly she cried out over and over for mercy, only to be met with silence. Some say that Elizabeth died in childbirth, but others contend that Wingfield murdered her after the child was born. Her baby was then thrown into an old mining shaft. Afterwards, rumors abounded that Elizabeth continued to visit Wingfield and the sound of a crying child could sometimes be heard coming from the depths of the hotel. 

This legend; however, has a few problems that don't "mesh" with the history of the old building. The legend actually asserts that Elizabeth  died sometime in the 1930's, at which time Wingfield no longer owned the hotel. It also alleges that the baby was thrown into one of the mining shafts beneath the hotel, which were built by Newton Crumley some two years after he purchased the property from Wingfield in 1923.

Is the legend confusing Wingfield and Crumley, or did it occur years earlier? Of this, we will never know.

In any event, the legend persists and when the apparition of Elizabeth has been sighted, she has been described as having long flowing hair, wearing a white gown, and looking terribly sad as she paces the hallways, calling out to her child. Others have reported her being sighted in Room 109, which is often described as being intensely cold, and on one occasion a ghostly figure appeared in a photograph of the room. However, most people report that while their cameras function normally everywhere else in the hotel, they refuse to work in room 109.


Goldfield Hotel Lobby

The original Goldfield Hotel lobby. Photo courtesy

Nevada Department of Cultural Affairs

Inside the Goldfield Hotel today

Inside the Goldfield Hotel today, April, 2005, Kathy Weiser.


Two more ghosts who reportedly committed suicide in third floor rooms of the hotel have been sighted by more than a dozen people. While their identities are unknown, one is said to be a woman who hanged herself, while the other is said to be a man who jumped to his death from the hotel.

In what was once the main dining room, called the Gold Room, a malevolent spirit, familiarly named "The Stabber,” is said to randomly attack those who cross the threshold with a large kitchen knife. Though the Stabber has never harmed anyone, he is said to have frightened many before immediately disappearing after the "attack.”

Near the lobby staircase, linger three small spirits including two children and a midget that are said to be pranksters, sneaking up behind people and tapping their backs before giggling and dancing away.

Finally, George Wingfield himself is said to haunt his old hotel, making his presence known by his cigar smoke. Others have reported finding fresh cigar ashes in his first floor room. His presence has also been sensed near the giant lobby staircase. This legend too, has some problems with the history of the old hotel, as Wingfield was not known to frequent the hotel, as it was managed by his partner, Casey McDannell, and Wingfield's interest was only as an investor. Additionally, Wingfield died in Reno, Nevada in 1959. Why would his spirit continue to linger at the Goldfield Hotel?    

Many psychics who have visited the old hotel claim that it is a gateway into another world. In the fall of 2001 the Goldfield Hotel was featured on Fox Family TV’s World’s Scariest Places. More recently, it was featured on the Sci-Fi Channel's, Scariest Places on Earth, in 2008.




© Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated July, 2015.



* Reader Update, April, 2009:  The legend of Elizabeth in the Goldfield Hotel is just that, a legend. If a story is told enough times, as time goes by, then it becomes "true." I am a direct relative of Martin Duffy, owner of the Florence Mine. During the heyday of the Goldfield Hotel, my great uncle lived in the hotel. At that time, everyone shared a restroom. My great uncle married the elevator operator, Ruth Duffy. As you know the Goldfield Hotel had a working elevator, that still works to this day. There was no Elizabeth, it was just a rumor created to inspire people. My great uncle lived in the hotel during the time of G. Wingfield, and there was no Elizabeth in the hotel. Besides, he moved to Reno shortly after buying the hotel. -- Terri Stewart, April, 2009.


* Reader Input, April, 2011:  My great-grandfather on my mother's side of the family wallpapered and painted the interior of the Goldfield Hotel. He stayed in the hotel while he did his work, while his family remained in Bishop, CA. When the hotel was completed, Pres. Teddy Roosevelt came to the opening festivities, which supposedly included a waterfall of Champaign down the hotel stairs. My great-grandfather met with and shook the president's hand during these ceremonies, and he also purchased a German made "Teddy Bear" as a gift for my grandmother. That stuffed bear is in the possession of my mother now. - Ernest Tufft, April, 2011




*** Note: Legends of America is in no way affiliated with the Goldfield Hotel nor has any contact information for the present owner. Additionally, please do not contact us with questions about a  Goldfield Hotel Spitoon that you own. All we can tell you about these, is that they must have been manufactured and sold in great quantities, because we get this question probably more than any other.


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