Castle of the Rockies

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Castle of the Rockies

Castle of the Rockies

The Banff Springs Hotel, or the “Castle of the Rockies”, has its home in the Banff National Park, located in Alberta, Canada.  The hotel was built as a luxury hotel in the nineteenth century as a grand railway hotel.  Opening on June 1, 1888, guests were awed by the unparalleled views of the Rocky Mountains and the proximity of the hotel to the thermal springs.

Castle of the Rockies

(images:jordanmcrae/flickr) Banff Springs Hotel

The hotel was originally styled as a Tudor Hall or a grand Swiss Chalet.  The original 1888 construction cost over $250,000 and hosted over one hundred bedrooms around an octagonal rotunda.  1902 brought grand expansions and renovations, adding an additional two hundred rooms.  Still more construction in 1914 added an eleven story central tower, built for over two million and adding over three hundred guest rooms.  For many decades, it was the tallest building in Canada.

Unfortunately, a fire destroyed much of the original structures and buildings in 1926.  Never discouraged, contractors built two new wings in 1928.  In 1968, the Banff Springs Hotel was winterized so that it could remain open year round and host guests from all over the world, whenever their travels brought them to Alberta.  The hotel not only boasts the highest structures in Canada, some of the grandest stays, or breath taking views, the Banff Springs Hotel is also considered the most haunted structure in Alberta, Canada, making it a prime tourist hot spot.

Despite spending lavish amounts of money and hiring world renowned contractors, builders did make some mistakes on the construction of the Banff Springs Hotel.  First, the structure was placed with its back at the grand views of the Rockies, instead of allowing visitors to bask in the glory of the mountains from all angles.  Though a smaller mistake, one of the building mistakes within the hotel continues to cause quite the commotion.

Builders realized upon completing a room in the Banff Springs Hotel that they had made a mistake in placement of windows and doors.  Embarrassed of their mistake a looking to take advantage of the secluded wing homing the room, builders sealed the room off instead of finding a solution to their building dilemma.  They had faced much scrutiny already and refused to admit additional mistakes if they could help it.  The room was forgotten until the 1926 fire revealed the secret room.  Since then, it has been the source of many strange, unexplained noises and appearances of apparitions.

Castle of the Rockies

(images:davebloggs007/flickr) Banff Springs Hotel

Another haunted room in the hotel is room 873.  In that room, a father and mother were murdered, along with their young daughter.  After the police concluded their investigation of the events, they gave permission for the hotel to clean the room and attempt to go back to business as normal.  Unfortunately, the finger prints of the murdered young girl were never able to be removed from the mirror.  Each time the mirror was cleaned, the finger prints would almost immediately reappear.  The hotel had such trouble with the room that they ultimately closed it off and refused to let guests stay in 873.  Guests still report seeing the family in other areas of the hotel.

A second hotel guest also refuses to leave.  A young bride was getting married in the grand hotel.  As she rushed from her room and commenced down the grand staircase, her veil gliding softly behind her, she reached the bottom of the stairs.  Unfortunately, in her haste and excitement, she tripped over the end of her wedding dress and fell to her death on the concrete below.  Hotel guests report seeing her gracefully floating down the grand staircase or roaming the hotel, still clad in her beautiful wedding gown.

Guests are not the only ones to extend their stays past their welcome.  A bellman, Sam McCauley worked at the hotel for many years until his death in 1976.  Guests report still seeing him on the upper floors of the hotel.  Many report having the bellman appear right before him, still proudly displaying his employee name tag.  When the guests speak of their delightful conversations with the man later, they are told that Sam had not worked at the hotel for many years, since the time of his death.

Megan Borchert
Megan Borchert
Lover of all things unusual, Megan is a staff attorney for the state of South Dakota. When she's not stuffed in an office writing case synopses, you can find her at home with her army of Schnauzers, snuggled up with some strong wine and a good book.

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