Located in the heart of the 13 colonies, this historic hotel and the location it sits has seen centuries of American history, both within its walls and out. Famous visitors rested their heads at the luxurious resort, and the locals claim several of them never left their beloved Equinox Hotel. From presidents to first ladies, let’s explore the haunted history of this resort in Vermont that Mary Todd Lincoln loved so much, she may still be there in spirit form.
Built in 1769, what would eventually become the location of the Equinox was once known as Marsh’s Tavern, where important discussions about the Revolutionary War and tactics would be discussed alongside a round of ale. The raising of the Green Mountain militia occurred at the tavern, and when the owner declared his loyalty to Britain, those same revolutionaries would take over the tavern and declare it for the newly formed United States. William Marsh would flee to Canada after this expropriation.
Much later in the history of the Equinox, it became a hot spot for Presidential family vacations, owing to the hot and uncomfortable summers in Washington D.C. One of the first visitors was the First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln with her sons. They spent two summers in the Equinox in 1863 and 1864. President Abraham Lincoln was planning on accompanying them to the hotel the next summer, and a special suite would be built specifically for their upcoming visit, but the President’s assassination in April of 1865 stopped those plans abruptly. Their son Robert Todd Lincoln, had happy memories of his time at the resort and loved the area so much, he constructed Hildene just down the road. Today, it is known as the Lincoln Family Home.
More famous names visited the hotel in the years after, including President William Howard Taft, Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, Benjamin Harrison, and Vice President James S. Sherman. Roosevelt even gave a speech on the front lawn during his stay at the Equinox. The beautiful location and hospitality was well-known in many upper-class circles, with those spending the summer there weighing themselves after such giant proportions of food were served. If they’d gained weight, it’s said the hotel would help them slim back down and gain their vitality back before their departure from the resort. Later in its life, a Golf Club would be added, something Robert Todd Lincoln greatly enjoyed during his stays in the area.
The history of the Equinox is steeped with haunting tales about the historic location, including the most riveting of them all; Mary Todd Lincoln and one of her sons being spotted in the home decades after her passing. Though Mary did not die at the resort, it’s hard for employees to deny the appearance of the famous woman, considering a portrait of her and her sons sits prominently in the foyer of the hotel. Those working at the hotel have reported her full-bodied apparition on several occasions, owing her appearance to the enjoyment she and her family had at the resort before the tragic death of her husband.
At least two employees reported seeing Mrs. Lincoln with a small child strolling through the hallways while they performed routine maintenance on the third floor. She only appeared for a moment before disappearing around a corner, with no one found in that section of the hotel when it was searched. Many guests have also reported their experiences with the paranormal, including the sound of whispers in empty parts of the hotel, cold spots, and items missing from their rooms, only to be found in conspicuous places afterward. Others have even reported seeing full-apparitions of 19th century guests and the occasional 18ths century revolutionaries. Several paranormal investigators have made visits to the hotel and resort, looking for the reason for the strange haunting appearances of Mrs. Lincoln, but to no avail.
Steeped in history and famous guests, the Equinox is still a popular location for vacations, offering dozens of activities, excellent food and comfortable accommodations. Those staying may still feel the chill of the paranormal, or come face-to-face with a former First Lady, who enjoyed her stay so much she may have decided to stay in the afterlife, reliving those happy summers before her world came crashing down with the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. If you decide to stay, keep an eye and ear out for the famous ghosts and whispers in the halls.
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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.