Being the live music capital of the world, Austin, Texas is a pretty popular population for music lovers. Aside from that fact, Austin, Texas is also a great tourist destination because it’s one of the sunniest places in the United States, it’s the only city in the world that still operates Moonlight towers, many films were filmed in the city, and it has the only nude beach all over Texas.
But what makes Austin, Texas exciting to ghost hunters and paranormal fanatics? Austin, Texas is the home of the infamous Driskill Hotel.
History of the Driskill Hotel
The Driskill Hotel is recorded under the Texas Historic Landmark as well as under the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. It is located at 604 Brazos Street in Austin, Texas.
The Driskill Hotel at night. (Link: https://www.booking.com/hotel/us/the-driskill-austin-texas.html)
The architecture behind the Romanesque Revival-style building was Jasper N. Preston. The building was completed in 1886 and is the oldest operating hotel all over Austin, Texas. The man who owned the hotel is Col. Jesse Driskill. Driskill was a successful cattle magnate and he spent his fortune to build the finest hotel in the area. He was originally from Missouri and moved to Texas in 1849.
The hotel cost $400,000 when it was completed. A total of six million bricks were used to construct the Driskill Hotel and it had limestone features thus the cost of the construction.
It was indeed one of the best hotels because it had 60 rooms and each room had attached baths. Such feature was uncommon back in the day. It was also famous for the entrance especially made for the ladies. The entrance will allow women to go to their rooms without having to talk with the cattlemen at the lobby.
The Driskill Hotel was so famous at that time that then Governor Sul Ross held his inaugural ball at the hotel’s ballroom. Since then, all governors in Texas held their inaugural ball at the Driskill Hotel.
Just a year after Driskill Hotel started operating, the owner decided to shut it down because he was operating at a loss and half of his staff were offered better employment by the Beach Hotel. He was charging $2.50 to $5 per night and the competing hotels were getting all the clients because they only charged 50 cents to a dollar per night. In 1888, Driskill totally lost ownership over the hotel when he lost it to a game of poker to his brother-in-law. In 1890, Driskill died of stroke.
Since then, many new owners tried managing the hotel. In 1930, the Driskill Hotel went from a four-story hotel to a 13-story hotel after some renovations. In 1934, the Driskill Hotel was known as the place where former President Lyndon Johnson met his then-future wife Claudia Taylor. Because they loved the Driskill Hotel so much, they spent time there whenever they can. Also, during the campaign for Johnson’s congressional candidacy, the Driskill Hotel became his headquarters. He also watched the results of the 1964 Presidential Election at the Driskill Hotel presidential suite.
Lyndon Johnson at the Driskill Hotel. (Link: http://www.lbjlibrary.org/events/member-happy-hour-at-the-driskill-hotel)
In 1969, the Driskill Hotel was supposed to be demolished but the Driskill Hotel Corporation came up with $900,000 so the demolition did not push through. In 1972, the Driskilll Hotel was bought by Braniff International Hotels, Inc. The hotel was reopened on January 15, 1973.
Sometime in 1983, the Driskill Parntership Inc. was sold to Lincoln Hotel Corporation. In 1997, a grand restoration of the Driskill Hotel took place. As of 2016, the hotel is owned by the Hyatt Hotels Group.
The Driskill Hotel Today
The Driskill Hotel remains as one of the best hotels in Texas because of the suites that many people can enjoy. Driskill Hotel is known for its lavish bridal suites and two well-known restaurants. However, despite it being grand and luxurious, the Driskill Hotel is also known as one of the ghostliest places not only in the United States but all over the world.
The Ghosts At The Driskill Hotel
Many have claimed that the ghost of Driskill himself haunts the Driskill Hotel to this day and others believe it’s because he died of a heartbreak when he lost his hotel. To make it creepier, a huge portrait of Driskill is displayed at the center of the main lobby staircase. Visitors and staff said that they felt like if you stare at the portrait of Driskill, it’s as if a real person is staring at you. Also, Driskill reportedly checks in his own hotel every now and then. Whenever Driskill is at the hotel, staff said that they smell cigar and lights become fussy. Initially, they did not know where the smell was coming from or what was wrong with the lights but they later attributed it to Driskill.
The portrait of Col. Jesse Driskill. (Link: https://austinot.com/driskill-hotel-haunted)
Another ghost is said to belong to a young girl who died in 1887. She was reportedly chasing her ball then she fell down the grand staircase. This was the cause of her death. Some say that the girl’s giggles and the sound of a bouncing ball could still be heard to this day.
A photo of the lobby and the grand staircase at the Driskill Hotel. (Link: https://www.fodors.com/world/north-america/usa/texas/austin/hotels/reviews/the-driskill-hotel-30131)
The most famous of all the ghost stories at the Driskill Hotel pertain to two brides who were dubbed as “suicide brides.” Accordingly, these two brides, were on their honeymoon at the Driskill Hotel. For no known reason, the two brides, killed themselves in the bath tub. The incidents took place 20 years apart and at the same room, Room 525.
A photo of the inside of room 525 at the Driskill Hotel. (Link: https://monkeymiles.boardingarea.com/the-driskill-hotel-austin-texas-review-is-room-525-haunted/)
Another ghost belongs to a former employee of the Driskill Hotel named Mrs. Bridges. She worked at the front desk for years and many claim that they still see her walking in the lobby where the old front desk used to stand. The woman is seen wearing a Victorian-style dress and the smell of roses could be smelled whenever her ghost is around because she loved flowers so much.
Encounter With The Ghosts At The Driskill Hotel
One of the people who had a personal encounter with the ghosts at the Driskill Hotel is Scottish singer Annie Lennox. She shared back in the day that she was at the Driskill Hotel during a tour and she placed two dresses on her bed before she went to shower because she cannot decide what to wear. After showering, one of the dresses was put away.
Annie Lenox stayed at the Driskill Hotel in the past. (Link: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/annie-lennox-women-need-to-wake-up-theres-so-much-to-do-2233619.html)
Because of Lennox’s story, the lead singer of Concrete Blonde was inspired to write a song titled “Ghost of a Texas Ladies Man.”
A cover art of the song based on the ghosts at the Driskill Hotel. (Link: https://www.allmusic.com/album/ghost-of-a-texas-ladies-man-mw0000679010)