Colonel Jesse Driskill’s rich history leads historians, staff and visitors to believe he loved the hotel of dreams he created and he wanted to remain with it. After the civil war, he gained and lost a fortune before choosing to move to Austin. He made the move in 1869 with his wife Nancy Elizabeth Jane Day, four daughters and two sons, and soon became a wealthy cattle baron and decided to build ‘the finest hotel south of St. Louis’ in his new hometown, claiming to want to establish a showpiece for the new Capitol. Very proud of his creation and devastated after losing it; Col. Driskill is said to lurk in the hotel of dreams with stories of him visiting you in your room while you sleep, the hint of cigar smoke lingering in his wake.
Located on sixth street, the Driskill is extravagant; the epitome of grandeur and luxury with marble floors and vast beautiful columns that make a true statement. With 189 guest rooms and over 18,000 sq. ft. of historic event and meeting space, there are endless possibilities to experience the architectural wonderland the Driskill was designed to be. The dark woodwork and history lining each and every room of this building, there is much to marvel over from the phone booths, to the historical bank complete with the vault door in place, to the grand staircase sitting adjacent to the portrait of Colonel Jesse Driskill as he watches over both guests and stars entering the marble lobby going about their business.
The hotel itself has certainly overcome some dramatic obstacles: closed on five separate occasions, been sold and resold nearly 15 times and has been almost demolished. Several owners have inherited the hotel’s debt from previous owners attempting to remodel the now 132-year-old hotel, making it difficult to hold on to the historic site despite economic turmoil and other, more sinister events that took place on the property.
The Hotel of Dreams hosted many executive events for Governors, Senators and even Presidents. Due to this rich history, there are now stories and even sightings tied to it. There are said to be 18 or more ghosts that reside or visit the hotel, here are just a few of those. The very first event of this type was just one year after The Driskill opened its doors in 1887.
The Senator’s Daughter
In a tragic turn of events, the young four-year-old girl was chasing after a ball and fell to her death. The spirit of the Senator’s daughter likes to play on the Grand Staircase as you walk into the lobby. It is said she is usually sighted by mothers and children, often felt tugging on your shirt hem to get your attention. On few occasions, she has been seen in guest photos.
Not often mentioned is Room 429, notorious for a little girl who likes to write ‘hello’ and leave footprints on the steamy mirrors while you shower.
The ‘Two Suicide Brides’ or ‘The Ghost Brides’ is one of the most told stories of The Driskill. There are countless stories about the jilted bride who had her heartbroken the night before the wedding by a groom who changed his mind. One such tale suggests a bride so distraught she shot herself in the stomach – but the one that holds the most weight is that she committed suicide in the bathtub.
Perhaps the creepiest detail about the Room 525 is that just 20 years later, to the exact day, a second bride killed herself in that very bathtub. This tragedy immediately led the staff to close off the bathroom with furniture and the staff to close the room to guests until 1999 when the hotel was renovated and the room was reopened for overnight guests.
130 years later, guests have reported lights flickering and even loud knocks at the door in the middle of the night leaving the tiny hairs on their neck and arms rise and sending them packing and down to the front desk to request a different room.
The Fourth Floor Apparition
A woman stands in the hall of the fourth floor watching you. She seems just as real as you or I. That is, until you look at her and realize there is not actually anyone there. With only glimpses of her out of the corner of your eye, it is easy to question just what you are – or are not seeing. She is often heard whispering and even weeping throughout the hallway.
Very much the librarian sort, you might find Mrs. Bridges in the lobby hushing hotel staff as they manage the legendary hotel. Having been a key staff member in earlier years, she often arranged flowers and attended to matters in the lobby. Now, staff sometimes tell stories of sightings and being hushed late at night when the guests are sleeping.
‘Walking through the door is like walking through a time portal.’ -Hotel Guest.
After a quick Google search, one will find countless stories of encounters, apparitions, light flickers, moans and groans and even knocks that give you chills at the Historic Driskill Hotel. Surely with its vast and rich history from Senators, Governors and Presidents to stories like that of Room 525 this hotel should be high up on your list of haunted locations to visit.
To book a room at The Driskill Hotel, visit https://driskillhotel.com/