When the Goldfield Inn was first opened, it was the shining jewel in the desert in one of the biggest boom towns of the gold rush near Death Valley in Nevada. The hotel was as opulent and luxurious as anyone could expect in the desert and it serviced many high ranking and rich people in the area as a stop between San Francisco and Denver on long treks through the US. With 152 rooms, every one of them featured the latest technology, including telephones in every room, electric lights, and a central heating system. The hotel was widely touted as one of the most luxurious hotels in the US.
With crystal chandeliers, a working elevator, and more private bathrooms than was standard at the time, the hotel seemed to be poised to spend a century or more servicing guests. Built in 1907-1908, the hotel stood in the heart of the newly formed boom town, Goldfield, named for the abundance of gold discovered nearby and the miners who toiled long hours to make their fortune in the hills. An author’s side note here is that one of the famous female miners in the region was the author’s own great-grandmother, Panamint Annie. With hard hours in the mountains, some who struck it rich splurged on a nice room in the Goldfield hotel to celebrate their big find on a stake of land nearby.
The joy of discovery wouldn’t last long as the Goldfield’s gold fields dried up and prospectors moved on to the next big strike of gold, away from Goldfield. By WWII the only occupants were military men and their families as they trained for war at the nearby local air base. After the 1940s, the hotel stood abandoned, a state it still finds itself in today. Numerous attempts have been made over the years to renovate the hotel and reopen it, but none have been successful thus far.
Nearly a century after it’s creation, an entrepreneur named Edgar S. “Red” Roberts purchased the hotel in 2003 at an auction. He claimed his intention was to renovate the first two floors and open it to the public, but by 2010, all construction ceased and the hotel remained abandoned. In 2017, it was reported that efforts to reopen the hotel were resumed, but no updates have been posted since that announcement.
The Goldfeild Hotel today is only accessible with permission from the key holder for tours and to learn more of the history of the hotel. Many ghost enthusiasts have made the pilgrimage to this dilapidated hotel, said to be more haunted than any other building in northwest Nevada. Ghost Adventures, Ghost Hunters, and even ghost hunting hobbyists have flocked to the hotel as a holy grail of haunted locations. Ghost Adventure members themselves have investigated the hotel no less than 5 times in the past, and call the hotel a portal to the underworld.
The hauntings began very shortly after the opening of the hotel. The spirit of a woman named Emily is commonly one being seen as a full bodied apparition, wandering the halls and crying for her lost child. Legend has it she was a mistress of George Wingfield, the original owner of the hotel. She was said to be pregnant with his child, and the reports say the cruel man chained Miss Emily to a radiator in room 109. The shell of this room still exists and Emily has been captured on EVP recording devices, sometimes crying and sometimes calling out for her lost baby. Particularly gruesome rumors say her child was disposed of in a tunnel or mine shaft near the hotel. The tragic tale is unsubstantiated, but Emily’s presence seems to add some truth to the story, at least in her passing on the premises either from childbirth or murder.
Two more ghosts with tragic histories in the hotel include two victims of suicide, a woman said to have hanged herself in the hotel and a man who climbed to the top of the four-story building and leapt to his death. The most frightening of the spirits, however, is that of a man known only as “The Stabber.” Legend says he attacks those touring the hotel with a ghostly knife, leaving small injuries on those brave enough to enter the hotel.
Today, the hotel offers tours with reservations made ahead of time, mostly for ghost enthusiasts and interested historical-minded travelers. The hotel does not have its own heat, air conditioning, or lighting so those brave enough to enter must bring their own lighting and dress for the temperature, as the desert can get bitterly cold at night and oppressively hot during the day. But if you’re in the mood to see or interact with a ghost or two, the “Scariest Place in America,” might be the perfect place for you to spend an evening. If you can avoid “the Stabber,” that is.
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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.