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Goldfield Hotel: a step back into Nevada History

4 min read

Goldfield, Nevada, is one of those legendary towns that exploded during the gold boom of the early 1900s, only to be deserted almost completely in a matter of years. Millions of dollars worth of gold were produced in newborn town between 1903 and 1940, which turned into an entertainment hub: legendary boxing championships took place there, and its Northern Saloon was said to be so long that 80 bartenders were needed to serve the length of it. So, It only made sense then to build an opulent and oversized hotel to accommodate the newfound riches in town.
This was the Goldfield hotel. It was 1908, and a grand affair was taking place. Named for the booming gold rush town, the Goldfield Hotel was opening its doors. Champagne flowed down the stairs into the mahogany-trimmed lobby, and chandeliers swung from opulent gold-leaf ceilings in what was advertised as the most spectacular hotel in Nevada, ready to receive all of its newly rich patrons as they struck gold in what seemed like endless abundance. Moreover, It had 150 rooms outfitted with the best furnishings available.

Sadly, as we know now, the mines did eventually run dry of their precious payloads, and like so many other boomtowns, Goldfield became an almost deserted town full with only the ghosts of the vitality it once knew. Only 12 years after the Goldfield hotel was built, the population dwindled from 20,000 to around 1,500 residents, and a large fire shortly thereafter destroyed most of what was left of the town.
Many of these places are rumored to be haunted, and what is more attractive to ghostbusters than entire towns that seem as if the inhabitants just up and disappeared one day?
Until this day, the Goldfield Hotel stands eerily proud in the quiet town, a sturdy structure almost untouched by time. Goldfield has its share of stories, and the formerly lavish hotel is the obvious hotspot for macabre tales and wandering spirits. And It’s logical that rumors about paranormal activity have swirled around the property since the last hotel guests checked out, back in 1945.

These rumors, which range from the outrageous to the more “sober”, have turned the hotel into a popular destination for a variety of interesting ghost hunting shows.
The hotel has many stories of suicide and murder, and some of the more theatrical visitors claim that it’s a vortex, one of the seven gates to Hell itself. However, the most classic story to come out of the abandoned rooms is based on actual mining mogul George Wingfield.
Wingfield was a multi-millionaire before he turned 30, and owned several banks in the state of Nevada. By the time the hotel was opened, the young man was worth $30 million. Is said that a girl by the name of Elizabeth to have come to Wingfield with the accusation that the baby she was carrying was his. When she couldn’t be dissuaded from making this scandal public knowledge, a furious Wingfield chained the girl to a radiator in room 109, and kept her there until the baby was born. At this point, the story had two versions. Elizabeth either dies in childbirth still chained inside the room, or the man kills her, but either way, the girl dies an agonizing death, and the child is chucked down a mineshaft located under the hotel. Paranormal enthusiasts claim that the baby’s cries can be heard through the mineshaft, and that room 109 is freezing cold. Visitors are said to burst into tears for no apparent reason upon entering Elizabeth’s ornate prison, and stories of her sobs heard in the area are very popular in several ghost tale websites.

For most paranormal investigators and psychics who visit the hotel, the experiences are what you’d expect, without originality: garbled would-be voices captured on tape, darting shadows, the feeling of dread throughout the building, and similar.
In reality, it seems that the majority of the stories come from the imagination of 1978-1981 owner Shirley Porter, in an effort to boost interest in her investment as a haunted location, which was clearly at least partially successful, in a book she penned, hilariously entitled “But You Can’t Leave, Shirley“.

If ghosts aren’t your thing, in Goldfield there is also curious Library Paste’s eater grave, and the International Car Forest of the Last Church, one of those weird desert works of art one comes across while exploring the vast area. Something for everyone!

Author’s note: the hotel sits directly on US95, in the heart of the ghost town of Goldfield. Historic Images come from Web. Others terrible pics are mine. Yes I know: photos are terrible, but I’m not a photographer!

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