Elizabethtown, Illinois is the county seat of Hardin County. It was founded around the McFarland Tavern, which is now known as the Rose Hotel or the Grand Rose Hotel. There are many places to visit in Elizabethtown like the Garden of the Gods, Cave-In-Rock State Park, Shawnee National Forest, Rim Rock Recreational Trail, The Brantley Farm, Alexander Hall Buel House, and many more.
One of the scenic views at Elizabethtown, Illinois. (Link: https://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g35944-d1529379-i20890656-Historic_Rose_Hotel-Elizabethtown_Illinois.html)
However, the Rose Hotel is what it is most known for. It draws a lot of tourists not only because of its beauty, but also because of its reportedly haunted reputation.
The History of Rose Hotel
The Rose Hotel is known as a state historic site of Illinois built in 1812. It is the oldest hotel in the state and is located on the banks of the Ohio River, overlooking such an amazing view.
A photo of the Rose Hotel and the Ohio River. (Link: https://www.pinterest.com/catronbecky/rose-hotel/)
The oldest wing of the Rose Hotel was built in 1812 by James McFarland. An east wing was later added in 1848. After the Civil War, a rear dining room and a covered porch and stairway were added. By the year 1882, a pavilion that was called the summer house was built on the edge of the front of the Rose Hotel. It is unclear when it served as a respite for the earliest European travelers in Ohio but it operated as such in the past.
A photo of a sign indicating it is the location of the Rose Hotel. (Link: https://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g35944-d1529379-i264232185-Historic_Rose_Hotel-Elizabethtown_Illinois.html)
In 1891, a widow named Sarah Rose Baker who worked at the Rose Hotel for seven years purchased the hotel from the McFarlan family. Later, ownership was transferred to her daughter Charlotte Rose Gullet when Baker died in 1939. In 1988, the state of Illinois purchased the property from the Gullet family and a restoration project was completed in the year 2000 to restore it to its former glory.
As of now, the Rose hotel is leased by the the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency to a private-sector operator, Sandy Vineyard. The Rose Hotel is now a bed and breakfast. There are six rooms available for rent at the Rose Hotel and all of them are named someone significant pertaining to the hotel’s history.
An Assistant Innkeeper’s Story
An assistant innkeeper named Becky Cook said that during the excavations as the Rose Hotel was restored and renovated, there were unmarked remains believed to belong to former slaves. The bodies were reportedly found under the porch and in the side yard. Cook said that the bodies were not disturbed and were left where they were found.
Paranormal Experts’ Stories
Bruce Cline, the director of the Little Egypt Ghost Society explored the Rose Hotel many times alongside his group. Cline shared in a statement, “We have conducted several overnight paranormal investigations and ghost hunts there and have found evidence of the paranormal every single time we have been there.
He went on to talk about a ghost named Tote, who is reportedly a resident in the Rose Hotel. Cline, however, did not elaborate on Tote and just said that he captured Tote on film.
Late author Jim Jung also talked about the Rose Hotel in his novel “Weird Egypt – The Case for Supernatural Geology.” He shared that the spirits at the Rose Hotel are specters and shades of former guests who departed this life but did not leave the hotel. He noted, “Here are the graves of James and Elizabeth McFarland, some of their children and more than a few guests who had the misfortune to die on the premises.”
The Ghosts At Rose Hotel
The most prominent spirit that allegedly haunts the Rose Hotel is that of Sarah Rose. She was reportedly spotted a couple of times walking around the second floor halls and was also seen climbing the stairway.
A photo of the stairway at the Rose Hotel. (Link: https://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g35944-d1529379-i127597290-Historic_Rose_Hotel-Elizabethtown_Illinois.html)
Many have also reported that they heard a disembodied female voice and objects moving on their own at night.
Many visitors on different websites commented on their experiences when they stayed at the Rose Hotel.
One mom shared that she and her son stayed at the Rose Hotel ten years ago. She shared, “Neither one of us could sleep because of a doll in the room and just a bad feeling. I didn’t want to look out the windows.”
Another said that she and her husband stayed there in May 2014 and said that they were the only people staying at the hotel that night. They stayed at the McFarland Suite, which is reportedly the most haunted room at the bed and breakfast. The innkeeper also did not stay at the hotel that night so it was just really her and her husband. She revealed, “Our only run-ins with ‘ghosts’ occurred that night, when a radio started blaring downstairs and my husband had to go down and turn it off, but hey, we’re not afraid of ghosts! Supposedly the ghosts are friendly anyway.”
Inside the McFarland Suite at the Rose Hotel. (Link: https://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g35944-d1529379-i124520569-Historic_Rose_Hotel-Elizabethtown_Illinois.html)
One more visitor shared her stay at the McFarland Suite on July 28, 2014. The woman said that she did not know the Rose Hotel was haunted and only read about it when they went home. She said that when she looked up Rose Hotel, she said that three pennies are found around the hotel and it is unclear who is leaving those pennies. The woman noted, “That reminded me that as I was packing up I noticed a dime on the desk behind the chair I had my suitcase on. I had put my purse on that desk the night before and there was no dime there, but when I picked it up as I was checking out, there was a dime under it. I thought about picking it up, but decided against it and grabbed my suitcase and left.”
The common area at the Rose Hotel. (Link: https://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g35944-d1529379-i124520673-Historic_Rose_Hotel-Elizabethtown_Illinois.html)
Another visitor said that when her family stayed at the Rose Hotel, they saw a big ball of shiny light outside. They went to check it out but as they got close to the ball, it faded. The visitor also saw a lady in the bathroom mirror, believed to be Sarah Rose.
Others are shared photos of orbs and supposed figures of a woman sitting on a chair.
One of the photos taken by the people who stayed at the Rose Hotel. (Link: https://www.hauntedplaces.org/item/the-grand-rose-hotel/)