lodging

Shanley Hotel in Napanoch, New York

Built in 1895 and rumored to have been a brothel and speakeasy during Prohibition, the Shanley Hotel on Main Street in Napanoch, New York has gained a reputation for the unusual. Napanoch is a hamlet in Ulster County along Rondout Creek, which straddles the Catskill Mountains and the Hudson River Valley. James and Beatrice Shanley bought the hotel in 1906 and welcomed many prominent guests, including Thomas Edison and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Tragedy followed, however. All three Shanley children died as infants, as well as the hotel barber’s daughter and Beatrice’s sister, who died of influenza. James Shanley died in 1937. Sal Nicosia owned the hotel from 2005 to 2016, and his son Sal, Jr., has picked up the mantel. Since appearing on shows like Ghost Lab and Ghost Hunters, the Shanley Hotel has capitalized on the paranormal tourism market, offering special rates for paranormal investigations and marketing itself as a “haunted hotel.”

The hotel doesn’t have a website and appeared to be closed when I visited.

Further reading:

Fairmont Château Laurier’s Invisible Guests

Fairmont Château Laurier in Ottawa, Ontario, is Canada’s most lavish and elegant hotel and sits just up Wellington Street from Canadian Parliament. The granite and white Italian marble building was designed in French Renaissance and neo-Gothic style and built in 1912 for $2 million at the behest of railroad baron Charles Melville Hays. Some say he never left.

Hays was born in 1856 in Rock Island, Illinois and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. Like many railroad tycoons, he began working at a railroad company as a young man and climbed up the ranks through hard work and dedication. He eventually became General Manager and later President of the Grand Trunk Railway of Canada. Hays dreamed of building a continental railroad across Canada with luxurious hotels for passengers along the way.

Tragically, just twelve days before the Château Laurier opened, Hays drowned when the RMS Titanic sank in the Atlantic Ocean on April 14, 1912. Since its completion, royalty, heads of state, politicians, and celebrities have all the graced the Château. Three movies: Captains of the Clouds (1942), Little Gloria: Happy at Last (1982), and H2O (2004), were filmed there.

Despite its romantic appearance, several deaths have allegedly occurred in and around the hotel, including suicide by jumping from the upper floors. Many strange stories center on the former Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) radio studio on the seventh floor, which occupied that space for 80 years. Former CBC Chairman Patrick Watson reported several unnerving incidents in his nearby suite. The ghost of an unnamed child has also been reported.

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Prince George Hotel and Tir Nan Og Pub

The Prince George Hotel, a downtown Kingston, Ontario landmark, began its life as an elegant residence. Since then, it has anchored Kingston’s historic Market Square and been part of the city’s rich history and folklore. It was originally a family home owned by Lawrence Herchmer, built between 1817 and 1820 adjacent to Kingston’s City Hall on Ontario Street.

Lawrence’s widow, Elizabeth, moved into the home upon its completion in 1820. In 1840, their son, Charles Herchmer, took over as owner and rented it to his son-in-law, John Macpherson. In 1846, merchant William Henry Alexander leased the building and converted it into commercial shops and warehouses. Two saloons, one owned by James Elder and the other by William Alexander, opened on the ground floor.

A fire damaged the businesses in 1848. Shortly after, William Alexander began constructing a new building on the property, designed by William Coverdale. According to the Ontario Heritage Foundation, in 1892 the two buildings were unified with the addition of a full width verandah and balcony and a Second Empire style mansard roof, creating the distinct facade we see today. The Prince George Hotel opened in 1918.

Ghostly activity in the hotel centered on the third floor, particularly Room 304. According to Glen Shackleton, proprietor of Canada’s original haunted tours, staff reported electrical disturbances and doors opening or closing on their own. Guests spotted the shadowy specter of a woman and an adolescent girl. In Room 304, one elderly couple complained that the second bed in the room was floating three feet in the air!

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