Stanley Hotel

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A devoted spectral employee’s duties includes the upholding of values.

Mr. Stanley keeps a close eye on the work ethics of staff.

Mrs. Stanley expresses her art at an annoying time.

The wily and inappropriate Lord Dunraven still bothers the living.

Spirits of children still act their age.




The Stanley Hotel , designed by Freelan Stanley himself, includes not only a 138 rooms, but is a 4 storied beautiful Georgian, neoclassical inn, with 16,000 square feet of event space, grounds and support buildings. Stanley’s entertainment/holiday mansion and its support structures were built for the entertainment and the comfort of the Stanleys’ friends and special guests in mind. Built in 1909, using native pine, Stanley hired 300 craftsmen to create a marvelous decor for each public space, and the artistic details on the staircases, and guest rooms. Each guest room had its own private bath, heat, phone and electricity, thanks to the power plant and dam that Stanley built. The electricity that was created, not only kept the lights on at his Stanley Inn, but also powered the homes and businesses of the people of Estes Park, for free.


The current corporation that owns it, spent millions of dollars to restore and renovate this splendid inn, much to the delight of guests and the city of Estes Park. Entering the main lobby, one enters a lovely aura of carved pine wood, tiled floors, fireplaces and an airy, relaxing atmosphere of a 1910 holiday inn. In the lobby, there is a Stanley Steamer car on display.

Along the left side of the first floor of the main inn, one finds the main dining room (now known as the MacGregor Room) with windows that offer a wonderful view. Looking back at Estes Park history, MacGregor was a rancher who legally stopped the infamous Lord Dunraven from all his wrongdoing, becoming an Estes Park hero.

The bar/cafe is found to the left of the dining room. Along the right side of the main inn, one finds Flora Stanley’s Music Room, where she entertained all her lady friends. While She loved to play her piano for the guests, such musicians as John Phillip Sousa, who was a personal friend of the Stanleys, came and played concerts for the Stanleys and their friends. Her piano still sits in its honored place. The Music Room is brilliantly white, and also has large windows to enjoy the view. Woodwork and decor is lovely.

While the women visited in the Music Room, the men gathered in their Lounge, located right next to the Music Room. Women were not allowed, probably because men wanted to have manly discussions, and perhaps use language not appropriate for the gentler sex at this time in history. The Lounge has a large fireplace, decorated with Indian symbols that eventually had to be covered up because the Indian sign for peace looks like the Nazi insignia. Loved the dark woodwork and details carved into the corner ceiling beams.

The Billiard Room is also located on this side of the inn. Women were allowed to watch their men play billiards, and could clap as well, but couldn’t play. It also is a large room, made of natural pine with a dark finish. Like the other first floor rooms, it has a tall-ceiling, lovely windows and the customary carvings and details.

The Music Room, the Lounge, the Billiard Room and MacGregor Room are rented out for a variety of events, which I’m sure helps with the expenses of the inn.

In the basement, the inn medium has an office, there is an exercise room, and the ghost tours desk. A film about the inn and the Stanley brothers is offered in the ghost tour waiting room, and there is another cafe which sells coffee and other items. In the back of the inn, there is a lovely fountain and a roomy patio area in which to sit and enjoy food and drink.

The second and third floors have suites and rooms for guests, varying in price. The fourth floor was where the children and their nannies stayed, but are rented to guests today. Haunted rooms that are located mostly on the second floor and the fourth floor, are very popular and cost more.



Francis Edgar and Freelan O. Stanley

The children of two school teachers, identical twins, Francis Edgar and Freelan O. Stanley, were encouraged at an early age to create something from basic items. During their lives, they were awarded numerous patents as a result of their creative, brilliant minds. As grown men, they made their fortune first by their invention of the airbrush and by their transforming idea of a dry photographic plate process that jump-started the Eastman Kodak Company.

Rolling in money, they retired early, but didn’t stop inventing. In 1897, the brilliant twins came out with their Stanley Steam Car, used at first for just personal use and amusement. This invention became a viable product, which later led to a self-propelled inter-urban railroad coach, powered by Stanley Steam Engines. Between 1902 and 1917, the Stanley Steam Car was the most popular vehicle in America, out-selling all the gasoline-fueled car competition and becoming the premiere steam car to possess, especially for those who had no money worries. Other people not so wealthy bought the Model T Ford, that was a lot cheaper in price.

Around 1900, Freelan Stanley hit a big bump in the road, when he became sick with the dreaded TB. As the only known chance of a cure was to eat well and spend time in fresh air, Freelan and Flora were advised to move to Denver, Colorado. By May of 1903, his doctor gave Freelan only 3 months to live. His doctor sent Freelan and his Wife Flora up to Estes Park for the summer, to spend his last months in the doctor’s cabin. Miraculously, Freelan was cured of his disease! Freelan and Flora decided to build a small mansion, not far from the Stanley Hotel site, with plans to develop and contribute to the Estes Park community. They were grateful, and had fallen in love with this beautiful area.

A few years later, Flora was yearning to entertain her friends as she once did at her former home in Denver. While Flora enjoyed their mansion, it wasn’t big enough to entertain on the scale of which she was accustomed to when they hosted parties. Freelan Stanley bought the hilly land and surrounding acres from the infamous Lord Dunraven, a slimy ex-Irishman who owned the town brothel. This glorious location offered the best view of the mountains and lake; the perfect place for their summer holiday mansion where their friends could experience the wonderful hospitality and mountain living.

Besides providing electricity and power to the town, Freelan also set up a sewer system, reintroduced elk to the region and restocked the lake with fish. He donated land for some important buildings, and his friends came to town and stimulated the economy.

Freelan and Flora Stanley’s friends and special guests, like Teddy Roosevelt & Molly Brown, began this adventure in Denver, where they got on the Stanley Steamer vehicle, which motored them up the hill. Along the way, guests would be startled by exciting incidents; such as a man dressed in a bear suit, who pretended to attack the driver. On cue, the driver draws out a blank pistol and shoots at the bear, scaring him away. Walt Disney might have borrowed this idea when he created the Jungle Cruise ride at Disneyland.

Freelan and Flora Stanley truly enjoyed hosting their friends at The Stanley and did so for many years. Their guests had a great summer holiday, enjoying not only the company of the Stanleys, but also the location and the amenities offered them.


Mrs. Smith

Was a loyal employee of Freelan, and worked as a chambermaid from the very beginning, when The Stanley opened. In 1911, one of her duties was to light the gas line in room 217, when the electricity wasn’t working. Room 217 was a special suite reserved for important guests, like Teddy Roosevelt. One day, someone had tested the gas, but had forgotten to turn it off. So, when Mrs. Smith lit the gas, it exploded, taking out not only room 217, but the rooms on the three upper floors above this room. Luckily, Mrs. Smith was thrown through the floor to the main floor and survived with injuries. While she was in the hospital, Mr. Freelan Stanley visited her, paid for all her hospital care, offered her a promotion as head chambermaid, without the duty of lighting the gas line and paid for the college educations of her three children. Needless to say, Mrs. Smith was a loyal employee for many years, until she died.


Lord Dunraven

Had a nice Irish accent, but was a narcissist at heart. Needless to say, he had some bad habits and wasn’t to be trusted. He stole items and property anyway he could. He saw Estes Park as his private hunting spot. He hunted the elk and everything else to extinction, fished using dynamite, and used various forms of fraud to try to get control of all the land.

For his Brothel business, he was always on the lookout for young women to come work for him, so he pestered all the ladies in town, with the hopes of causing trouble between married couples. Lord Dunraven looked at his land sale to Freelan as an opportunity to gain advantages for his own businesses. It is theorized by some that Lord Dunraven used to approach the nannies in their fourth floor break-room at The Stanley, with an offer to come and work for him in his brothel, as some of the nannies might have needed a second job.

His illegal efforts were stopped by a rancher by the name of MacGregor, who also happened to be a lawyer. When the law became interested in his misadventures, Lord Dunraven had to leave town, abandoning all his cherished spoils and his businesses.


The Stanley Inn

When Freelan Stanley died in 1940, The Stanley Hotel was sold, as they had no heirs. The hotel had trouble making a profit to sustain itself throughout the years. While Freelan and Flora could afford the 30,000 to 50,000 dollar price tag; (that was the consequence of being generous hosts for their guests), being a for-profit inn has been challenging, to say the least. The Stanley Hotel had 26 owners before its current corporate owners bought it as a fixer-upper opportunity, bringing it up to the standard where it attracts tourists, making the hotel a profitable property.



When old buildings are restored, the entities who had loved the place in their lifetimes, sometimes become active spirits.

Past owners often come back to supervise the living, making sure that they provide service and hospitality to the standards they had insisted upon while alive. They don’t quite trust the living with the responsibility of running the home or business.

Dedicated employees sometimes don’t let the fact that they are dead stop them from continuing to do their duties.

Unfortunately, death doesn’t give notorious folks with bad character any redeeming characteristics. Often when these type of people die, they still continue the quest, or tempted to gain what they lusted for when alive: Riches, revenge, lustful desires.



The Entity of Flo Stanley

During the wee morning hours, she likes to play her piano, much to the annoyance of the people in rooms located over The Music Room.

Pictures have been taken of her on the main staircase, that can be seen on the slide show in the basement.

Her apparition has been seen gazing out the windows of The Music Room, waiting for her guests.

The Entity of Freelan Stanley

His apparition has been seen walking through the main lobby.

At closing time in the main floor bar, his apparition has been seen, leaning against the wall with his arms folded, as he watches the staff do their duties.

The Entity of Mrs. Smith

Her apparition has been seen, walking through room 217 into the wall, where the connecting door to the adjoining room used to be.

She has been known to hang up clothes, put away suitcases for the guests and straighten up the room.

She also has her moral values to uphold. On several occasions, unmarried couples have felt a cold presence come between them in the bed, to prevent premarital activities.

The Entities of Children

The sound of children running and playing in the hallways of the fourth floor have been reported. The sounds of children whispering in the closets of the rooms on the fourth floor have been heard also.

One entity of a little boy will try to wake up sleeping children on the fourth floor, because he wants to play.

Another entity of a little boy goes to great lengths to be noticed by the living in the 4 floor rooms: He turns on the TV really loud, and fools with the lights, among other things.

An entity of a little girl likes to peek at the people from the central staircase.

The Entity of Lord Dunraven

He still hangs around room 401, the Nanny’s old break-room. He has stolen guests jewelry, that is usually found later and likes to stay in the closet. When unsuspecting females go into the closet, he has been known to breathe down their necks, touch their shoulder or waist, etc.



Not only are there many personal experiences reported, but there is hard evidence backing up these hauntings/supervisions. Such groups as GHOST HUNTERS have experienced and recorded paranormal activity.




333 Wonderview Avenue
Estes Park, Colorado 80517

The stately, magnificent Stanley Hotel can be found on the hill just above the town of Estes Park. Its prime location has a lovely view of the lake and of the mountains. It is only 6 miles from Rocky Mountain National Park, and an hour’s drive from Denver.


  • HAUNTED PLACES: The National Directory
    By Dennis William Hauck
    Penguin Books, 2002
  • The Stanley Hotel Ghost Tour

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