La Grande, Oregon is a city in Union County. It was initially called Brownsville but they had to change the name because there is another city in Linn County that has the same name. This city is known as the only one that has state liberal arts university east of the Cascade Mountains. It is also known as The Hub City as it hosts many festivals related to film, arts, and orchestra.
Wallowa Lake in La Grande, Oregon. (Link: https://stateparks.oregon.gov/index.cfm?do=park.profile&parkId=20
If you will visit La Grande, there are also a lot of places to go to. Some of them include many lakes like Wallowa and Morgan. There is also the Potter’s House, Craig’s Antique, Hilgard Junction State Park, and many more. Another reason to visit La Grande is the Hot Lake Hotel, which appeals to paranormal experiences seekers. It is said to be extremely haunted by ghosts from the past.
History Of Hot Lake Hotel
The Hot Lake Hotel, which is also known as Hot Lake Resort, was originally built in 1864. It got its name from the hot spring lakes in the area. It was initially put up to serve people as a luxury resort for people and families traveling and passing by the area.
An old photo of Hot Lake Hotel. (Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_Lake_Hotel)
In 1917, a man named Dr. Phy purchased the Hot Lake Hotel. He used the third floor as a hospital complete with a surgery ward and recovery rooms. It was then renamed as the Hot Lake Sanatorium, a medical facility for those suffering from long-term illnesses. Hot Lake Sanatorium was then advertised their space as an area with mineral water and the medicinal attributes of the hot springs surrounding it, which is good for those who have long-term illnesses.
Hot Lake Hotel when it was a Sanatorium. (Link: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hot_Lake_Sanitarium_near_La_Grande_Oregon_1940.jpg)
However, in 1934, a fire burned the Hot Lake Hotel down. The remaining buildings of the hotel were then used for many other purposes. It was once a retirement home, an asylum, a nurse’s training school, and more. During World War II, it was when it became a pilot school and a nurse training center. It became a nursing home and an asylum until the year 1975 until it closed down.
Some of the beds at the Hot Lake Hotel when it was a sanatorium. (Link: https://inthedarkair.wordpress.com/2020/04/06/haunt-the-house-the-hot-lake-hotel/)
It was officially abandoned in 1991. It was abandoned for 15 years after that and that was when various ghost stories and hauntings started to circulate about the Hot Lake Hotel.
Today, it operates as a bed and breakfast, a museum, and a spa.
Hot Lake Hotel as seen today. (Link: https://hauntedhotlake.wordpress.com/)
The Ghosts At The Hot Lake Hotel
Many stories claim that the ghosts that haunt the Hot Lake Hotel include that of a former gardener who committed suicide, former vacationers, residents who lived there when it was used as an asylum, and many more. Some also saw apparitions walking around the grounds, hearing strange voices, whispers, and footsteps.
More on the former gardener, he is said to linger in the shadows. It is unclear what is the cause of his death but paranormal experts are saying that he either hanged himself in the grand ballroom or jumped to his death from the upper floors of the building.
Another story that’s going around pertains to a piano that was formerly owned by the wife of Robert E. Lee, who was an American Confederate general best known as a commander of the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. That piano reportedly plays on its own and is on the third floor of the Hot Lake Hotel.
The ghost of a boy running around is also spotted at the Hot Lake Hotel. Many claims they’ve seen the boy running across the top floor of the hotel. He often laughs and just runs around the corridors. Some said that they saw his left side looking normal but his entire right side looks severely burned. It is believed that he died in the 1934 fire that damaged the Hot Lake Hotel.
The ghost of an old woman could also be seen at the Hot Lake Hotel. She does not bother anyone and is usually seen going up the staircase of the second floor. She reportedly often mutters to herself as she slowly makes her way up to the second floor. It is not clear who this woman was.
The ghosts of the former asylum are also spotted staring out from the upper level windows of the Hot Lake Hotel. They could also be heard whispering things that no one could understand.
Caretaker Richard Owens and the owner of the Hot Lake Hotel now, Donna Pattee, also shared spooky stories of their own. They claimed that they heard screaming and crying that came from the surgery room when the Hot Lake Hotel was used as a hospital. They’ve also reportedly seen rocking chairs moving on their own without any wind to make it move.
The operating room at the Hot Lake Hotel. (Link: https://www.sporcle.com/blog/2013/07/ghosts-of-the-west/)
Alleged Personal Experience
One website called Haunted Hot Lake relays the story of a couple of high school girls who went to the Hot Lake Hotel when it was still abandoned. Accordingly, they went down the halls of the third floor and kicked each of the doors open. When one of the girls reached the door closes to the top of the stairs, the door was slammed to her face. Because they knew no one was there, they were all stunned. They later found that all the doors they kicked open were slamming shut one by one. They felt from the scene and left. They were initially convinced that it was just their imagination so they went back again. Accordingly, before they could even reach the front door, they heard a sound that was like a thousand windows opening all at once. They then did not go inside the Hot Lake Hotel anymore.
Hot Lake Hotel at night. (Link: https://thatoregonlife.com/2016/06/hot-lake-hotel-oregon-haunted/)