If you make a visit to the Historic Amador Hotel in Las Cruces, New Mexico, make sure to bring a purple toy with you as an offering to the resident ghost. The building has experienced paranormal activity almost its entire existence, but the two story adobe building carries a lot of the history of the town itself. Let’s explore the haunting history of the Amador Hotel. 

The Amador Hotel was built by a prominent businessman and community member in the 1870s. In 1883, owner Martín Amador transformed the building into a county courthouse for the quickly growing community of Las Cruces. It also served as the local post office during this time, delivering and receiving messages from home as new settlers moved to the desert of New Mexico. During this time, several of its rooms were fitted with iron bars to serve as jail cells. One pervasive rumor says that Billy the Kid was incarcerated in one of those rooms for a short time, but the hotel staff and owners dispute this as having no concrete evidence. 

Located downtown, its location made it a perfect site for community events and get-togethers, and after its tenure as a courthouse, that’s exactly what it became. When a new courthouse was completed, the Amador was transformed into a community center and recreation hall. Dances and live music were common, and a stage was erected for children’s puppet shows and other activities. Dozens of happy patrons roller skated on the hardwood floors of the spacious building, and it was said to be the best place for entertainment on that side of the Rio Grande. 

When the Amadors passed away in the early 1900s, stewardship of the building passed to their youngest daughter, Corina. Corina worked tirelessly to turn the two story building into a lavish hotel, importing fine furniture and art to create an oasis in the desert. Quickly it gained a reputation for being the finest hotel in the region. Like many western hotels, it played host to President Theodore Roosevelt during his travels across the country. Scientists working on the secretive Manhattan Project even frequented the bar on the first floor, enjoying the hot sun and cold drinks served to any patron in Las Cruces. 

For a brief time in the 1970s, after the sale from the Amador family, the building was again given new life as a local bank, the iron barred doors being replaced with bank vaults to keep the wealth of the county safe from would-be thieves. Shortly after, in 1983, it was sold to Doña Ana County to be public administrative offices. As the building slowly crumbled due to erosion and time, it was eventually abandoned completely in 2006. 

In 2007, however, efforts began to save the historic adobe building, with the attention of Doña Ana County Historical Society. A foundation was formed in its name and work on a revitalization project quickly began, with the goal of restoring the Amador to its original and most-loved form as a hotel. Life began flowing back into the hotel after its opening, serving again as a community hub for weddings, dances, and other events and keeping the southwestern charm of its newly revitalized exterior. Most touching of all, community members who had purchased the fine furniture after its closing as a hotel in the 1970s began donating the pieces back to the hotel, finally bringing them home where they belonged. 

The Amador Hotel is a popular destination for ghost hunters and tourists alike, as a prominent stop on the local ghost tour. Owing to its long and unique history, more than a few specters are said to be seen within the walls. Even famous ghost hunters like the crew from Ghost Adventures have ventured into the building and caught compelling evidence of the haunted status of the oldest hotel in Las Cruces. One frightening tale harkens back to its days as a courthouse, when a woman named Mary was discovered on the streets near the building. She was arrested and placed in one of the jail cells. Legend says she screamed in the middle of the night from her cell and was discovered the next morning to have passed, a look of terror still carved on her face. 

Many believe Mary is still a presence in the haunted building, with cell doors slamming and mysterious cold spots throughout the Amator being reported. Shadow people are reported commonly by visitors and staff alike, but the most famous ghost is that of a little girl known as Annie. Annie is said to be a mischievous spirit who likes to play pranks on unsuspecting people, including slamming doors and whispering in ears. One guest has even claimed to receive scratches on his leg, as if from a little girl trying to get his attention. Ghost hunters relay that Annie seems to ask for purple toys often, so compassionate ghost hunters always bring one with them as a gift for the ghostly little girl. 

Work still continues to breathe life back into the Amador Hotel, with ongoing efforts of renovation and the eventual goal to be opening it once again to the public for dances, events, and lodging. If you contact them, however, you can set up private ghost tours and investigations into the haunted history of the adobe building with a fascinating history in Las Cruces. 

If you’re interested in donating to help rennovation efforts and get the Amador back to its former glory, you can find more information at the foundation’s website.

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