The Stanley Hotel was built by Freelan Oscar (F.O.) Stanley of "Stanley Steamer" fame and opened on July 4, 1909, catering to the rich and famous, including the RMS Titanic survivor "The Unsinkable" Molly Brown, John Philip Sousa, Theodore Roosevelt, the Emperor and Empress of Japan, and a variety of Hollywood personalities.

There are many ghostly stories about the place, and in fact, F.O. and Flora Stanley are said to still spend time at the hotel. A housekeep at the hotel, Elizabeth Wilson, was in Room 217 when a gas explosion occurred, propelling her through the floor and breaking both of her ankles. She recovered and lived a long life, but after her death, she is said to still be keeping house in room 217. People who stay in that room have reported unusual things, including having their bags unpacked after their arrival.

The hotel is probably most famous for Stephen King's visit when he was working on a contract for a third book. He and Tabitha rolled into Estes Park a day before the hotel was going to shut down for the winter. They were given room 217, and after spending time in the bar hearing ghost stories from the bartender, he wandered the near-empty hotel all night. By morning it is said that he had the outline for his blockbuster book "The Shining."

Many believe that the Stanley Hotel is haunted, having reported a number of cases of ghostly activity, primarily in the ballroom. Kitchen staff have reported to have heard a party going on in the ballroom, only to find it empty. People in the lobby have allegedly heard someone playing the ballroom's piano; employees investigating the music purportedly found nobody sitting at the piano. Employees believe that particular ghost is of Freelan O. Stanley's wife, Flora, who used to be a piano player. In one guest room, people claim to have seen a man standing over the bed before running into the closet. This same apparition is allegedly responsible for stealing guests' jewelry, watches, and luggage. Others reported to have seen ghosts in their rooms in the middle of the night, simply standing in their room before disappearing.

The hotel today has not only a ghost walk but a historic tour as well. And, if you book far enought in advance, you can stay in room 217 where you might even encounter the spirit of Ms. Wilson, the phantom housekeeper.

The Stanley Hotel
333 Wonderview Avenue
Estes Park, CO 80517
www.stanleyhotel.com

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