You don’t have to visit Yellowstone to see a geyser, especially in a proud town like Soda Springs, Idaho. History on every corner and a geyser that goes off every hour on the hour, the town seems like a perfect place to take a weekend trip. If you’re looking for accommodations, however, you can’t get much better than a haunted hotel and museum, can you? Today we look into the haunting of the Enders Hotel and Museum in Soda Springs.
Ground broke on the high class commercial building, when two brothers, William & Theodore Enders, began construction on what would become the Enders Hotel in 1917. The cost was originally $75,000 for the construction, both designed and built by local Soda Springs architects and construction workers. Today, that sum would equal around 1.7 million dollars spent on the hotel. Originally, the bottom floor was filled with shops for the bustling city, with ballrooms on the second floor for social gatherings and events. The third floor was run as the Enders Hotel. Today the third floor is still used for hospitality with the Bed and Breakfast operating in the building sporting 30 rooms for guests.
If you look out the window, you might even catch a glimpse of the famous geyser, discovered when a drill bit attempted to drill near the hotel for a potential resort. Today the geyser is set by the town, making it the only captive geyser in the country.
The building that is now a museum and Bed and Breakfast went through several ownership changes after the Enders brothers, including a few of their relatives. By the 1990s, the building had fallen into disrepair and a woman named Louise O. Collard purchased the building with the intent to keep it alive through a potential renovation. She opened a coffee shop and cafe on the ground floor to keep the lights on as she worked to preserve the rest of the towering building. It was Louise who would submit the paperwork to get the building National Historic Landmark status. After that, a historical society purchased the building and began a 1.2 million dollar renovation.
Today, the top floor still houses guests, the second floor is primarily filled by the museum as a tribute to the frontier of Idaho, and the first floor contains a restaurant. A well-loved building with an entire town enjoying its turn of the century design and facade. You can even request accommodations that overlook the Geyser Park.
Like the regularity of the geyser, haunted activities began very early in the history of the hotel. Previous owners are said to appear on staircases between the floors of the hotel. You might set something down in the second floor and find it elsewhere with no natural way it could have been moved.
In the basement, however, another spirit is said to dwell, with photographs in the basement turning up apparitions of indiscernible gender, but a definite aire of the spooky. If you stay on the second or third floors, you may get more of a spirited stay than you intended. One former guest reported, “I saw a shape whisk past me with the consistency of cobwebs.” Some of the manifestations are out of love for the building, with former employees and owners choosing to spend their afterlife in a place they loved so well in life. Other apparitions are said to be that of folks who met their untimely demise in the building.
Guests have reported seeing the spirits of men who fell down the stairs to their death, one man who may have been shot on the premises, and the ghostly figure of a beautiful woman, said to be a sex worker who was murdered on the 3rd floor.
One amusing report from a guest said that they heard splashing in the bathtub of their room, but when they turned on the lights of the bathroom to investigate, the sounds of water splashing would cease immediately. A bath-loving roommate ghost might not be the worst of the apparitions to appear.
If you like ghosts and geysers, the imposing building of the Enders Hotel and Museum might be the perfect getaway for you.
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Born in Death Valley and raised on the prairie, Deborah is a Wyoming-based paranormal researcher and a senior at the University of Wyoming, studying Communication. Her interests lie in folklore, history, rhetorical analysis and research. With an obvious love for ghost stories, frequently those interests combine with her work on Ghostlandia.