Eldridge Hotel

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Spirits make themselves at home in their favorite hotel.

Some try to be helpful like the good Colonel, while others crash social events.




The Eldridge Hotel is a beautiful five story, 1925 upscale hotel that still upholds “the principles of tenacity, pride and hospitality.” It is the pride of the city of Lawrence and much beloved by the people of Lawrence and Kansas as well. It has a long, proud history!

In 2005, The Eldridge Hotel was restored to its 1925 historic splendor, and they did a terrific job! Tom and I walked into their glorious lobby! It is a grand mix of historic Art Deco, Grecian pillars, marble flooring put together with a historic feel that is unmistakably unique. Above the huge fireplace, hanging in a place of honor, a large family portrait of its benefactor and town hero, Col. Shalor Eldridge, his wife and their four surviving children.

Along the first floor common areas, there are some beautiful event rooms and a ballroom as well for receptions. The Eldridge Hotel also are making good used of these lovely event spaces; renting them out for wedding receptions, social and business events.

The Eldridge Hotel’s website states that it offers “48 large, well-appointed suites; warm valet and concierge services; award-winning wine list; free wi-fi; and innovative meeting spaces in the main building. They also have an extended-stay property, Eldridge Extended, located at 201 W. 8th Street.



The city of Lawrence was a hot spot of contention and violence between the pro-slavery group and the anti-slavery group who called themselves Jayhawks. People violently disagreed about whether the Kansas territory would enter the United States as a slave state or free state. It was a cause worth fighting for, and bloodshed eventually ensued.

The first city of Lawrence’s major hotel was erected in 1855 on the very spot where The Eldridge Hotel stands now. It was the center of political activity for the anti-slavery crowd and was named the Free-State Hotel: the symbol for a Kansas free state. This of course annoyed the opposition.

Not to let this stand, Sheriff Sam Jones and his pro-slavery forces, burned the hotel to the ground a year later in 1856, but they didn’t kill anyone. Col. Shalor Eldridge and his brothers rebuilt the hotel with another floor and vowed to add a new floor to the hotel every time it was destroyed. He called it The Eldridge House.

The Eldridge House stood proudly until 1863 when a not-so-nice, murderous bunch of raiders with no redeeming values from Missouri, William C. Quantrill and his Confederate forces, came over the state boarder. These killers launched a cowardly, guerrilla-style attack on the whole town, killing, looting, probably raping, and burning major buildings, including The Eldridge House . Apparently, the remaining people of Lawrence, a hardy lot, dug in their heels, and two years later rebuilt their town and their beloved Eldridge Hotel, in 1865, funded again by the good Col. Shalor Eldridge. He gave this new, grander hotel another floor and its own motto that everyone in Lawrence adopted “From ashes to immortality.”

When Col. Shalor Eldridge died in 1899 after a lifetime of community, state and federal service. His family was living in The Eldridge Hotel; a much beloved landmark, a symbol of community survival and resistance.

By 1925, The Eldridge had become a real fixer-upper opportunity, so the city, and local business leaders got together and decided to tear it down and build a brand new, grander hotel, to be “a testimony to its former splendor.”

By the 1960s, The Eldridge Hotel once again needed a new influx of money to stop the deterioration, so it closed as a hotel in 1970, and was converted into apartments instead; the fate of many large hotels that led to the way of flop house status. Uh oh. I bet the spirit of the good Col wasn’t pleased; But not for long.

In 1985, The Eldridge Hotel began its climb back up the ladder to being a classy, high-end hotel. The movement of restoring historical buildings fever was caught by some local investors. With a two million dollar donation from the city, and the one million dollars they raised, the building was converted back into a hotel. The four floors were full of luxury suites while the lobby returned like it once was, which was a great start. The Eldridge Hotel was saved and put back into business.

In 2004, a group of University of Kansas Alumni and local investors had a boatload of money to spend and purchased the hotel with great goals in mind. A multi-million dollar renovation project did a major upgrade to the lobby and other areas in the hotel, making it once more “a high class joint” that the spirit of good Col. Eldridge would be pleased with.

Currently, in 2018, the TEN Restaurant and the Jayhawker Bar as well are getting a major restoration and renovation by enthusiastic historical preservationists who also want both the restaurant and the bar to be on the same level of quality as the rest of the hotel.


Spirits who enjoy social events have been known to invite themselves to the affairs! Apparently, a spirit who stays here isn’t shy at all! Spirits who have a strong, sentimental attachment to a building in this world, sometimes choose to visit a lot or have an extended stay.

Besides the spirit of Col. Eldridge, many spirits have attachments. Buildings that have portals between the spirit world and our world are usually pretty active.

Room 506 has in it one of the original cornerstones behind one of its walls which many believe acts as a portal between the spirit world and our world, making it easy for spirits to visit and /or stay.

When a building is allowed to become a real fixer-upper opportunity, but eventually is brought back to snuff, the spirit or spirits who most care for the place can’t quite trust the living to keep it that way and stick around to keep a friendly eye on things; respectfully try to lead, help and encourage.

While alive, Col. Shalor Eldridge was a brave and courageous leader for the people of Lawrence, spending his own money to rebuild the town’s pillar to freedom, The Free State Hotel, making it grander each time it was burned down. To help the people who had lost everything as well as family members in the 1863 slaughter, Eldridge added an inspirational motto to rally their resolve! His spirit acts the same with the living!

Restoration of a fixer upper opportunity property can also be an environmental paranormal trigger. It draws back into this world entities who loved the original building in its better days; letting the living know that they are there too, while enjoying their own memories of this special place. Owners, Employees and guests of a hotel in spirit form fall under this category. The unseen spirit of a former guest or former employee, is having fun with the electricity! Many past guests now spirits love to come for a stay for free – an advantage of being a spirit.


Shadow Person

This shadow person likes to hang out at one end of the bar downstairs, watching people, enjoying this space.

Female Spirit

In the big ballroom room and other spaces used for events, this spirit will appear as a normal person for a minute as she walks across the floor in front of other living people.

Perhaps it’s more polite to show yourself as being there too, even if you have invited yourself to the festivities.

Spirit of Col. Shalor Eldridge

His likeness has been clearly seen by staff and guests alike; keeping a friendly eye on the living. (Shows hospitality)

He tries to help by opening sealed bottles of water in guest rooms in the middle of the night; in case the guest in question gets thirsty, and turning on air conditioners, in case the room is too hot. (Security detail) If a guest’s bag looks suspicious, he has been known to shake it. He probably also keeps an eye on visiting spirits.

For fun, he likes to leave breath marks on recently cleaned mirrors, perhaps to test the housekeeping staff to see if they check their rooms. The candles in the main lobby are sometimes lit without help from the living. His favorite chair is down in a basement storage room, but his spirit has been seen sitting on it anyway, not being a fussy sort. His favorite room is 506. (When guests rent this room, they are in for some spectral company.)

People who rent his room can feel his friendly presence keeping them company. Cold spots and disembodied voices have also been heard, suggesting that his family members may visit him there as well. Small handprints are found on the mirrors in this room. Perhaps his young children who died too early come to see him! The lights have a mind of their own; flickering on and off, as electricity is a fascinating toy to spirits who didn’t have it while they were alive.

Unknown Spirits and Apparitions

Found on the 5th Floor (who may travel to other floors as well)

Living people staying on the 5th floor and perhaps other floors as well have had the unique experience of having their covers slowly being pulled off them by a playful spirit.

Staff have been startled to see a group of female spirits playing poker in one of the empty rooms.

There is also a spirit fascinated with the elevator, and loves to go to the fifth floor, even if a living guest doesn’t want to go there.


A Big Yes Indeed is in order.

Col Shalor Eldridge’s Spirit is the kind leader he always was, and is honored by the hotel with his family picture that hangs above the fireplace. Nothing mean or negative stays here, probably because the good Col Eldridge is a protective presence.

Apparently, many spirits come and visit and may even check in so to speak. They range from Eldridge’s family members to spectral guests, to former employees who loved their jobs here.

At least one paranormal investigator has caught some hard evidence and had personal experiences as well. Now that the word is out, much more will be caught. Staff, guests and visitors have all had a boatload of experiences that they have witnessed.



701 Massachusetts Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
(800) 527-0909

Dining Reservations: (785) 749-5011

The Eldridge Hotel is located in the downtown section of the city of Lawrence, Kansas, on the corner of 7th and Massachusetts; not far from the river.



  • “A Room With a “Boo” at Lawrence Eldridge Hotel” by Ashley Thompson for National Geographic
    Published: October 31, 2008
    Retrieved: September 4, 2018
  • Biography of Shalor Winchell Eldridge, Col.
    Updated: October 25, 2011
    Retrieved: September 4, 2018
  • inwanderlust.weebly.com Haunted States: Kansas
    Posted: October 6, 2015
    Retrieved: September 4, 2018
  • YouTube video: “The Haunted Eldridge Hotel” Kameron Mack
    Published: October 26, 2011
    Retrieved: September 4, 2018
  • YouTube video: “Lawrence’s Eldridge Hotel reports paranormal activity” KMBC 9
    Published: October 31, 2012
    Retrieved: September 4, 2018
  • YouTube video: “The Haunted Eldridge Hotel | Interview” University Daily Kansan
    Published: April 8, 2015
    Retrieved: September 4, 2018
  • “Hunting for Hauntings in NE Kansas” by Tricia Sweany
    For Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library
    Published: October 4, 2011
    Retrieved: September 4, 2018

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

Haunts in Kansas