Klondike Bar, Restaurant and Casino
Old brothel tragedies and pain have caused spirit activity.
A rejection of a marriage proposal led to murder.
The Klondike Bar and Restaurant and Casino is a quaint, nicely renovated, yellow brick building; a handsome, two story 1887 structure with a finished basement. Top floor has two Victorian-style windows. It shares a wall on either side with two other businesses, as this row of buildings was built at the same time, as they have matching roof dentils, and other architectural similarities.
The Klondike Bar and Restaurant and Casino was recently on the real estate market, and was sold to new owners in 2013. According to the real estate listing on guardian-re.com, the 1,875 sq. ft, first floor is home to the restaurant, with seating for 40 people, and a bar and lounge area with the casino in the back of the building, seating 15 comfortably. The kitchen is modern, and up to code, with all the bells and whistles needed to serve meals all day; definitely a serious working kitchen.
The second floor is currently uninhabitable, but plans can be made to renovate this space into perhaps owner / manager living quarters or rental apartments. The new owners will decide what is to be done.
The 1,500 sq. ft. finished basement has several rooms, used as office space, storage area, walk-in cooler. and a wine cellar.
The inside of this establishment is nicely decorated, very inviting to its patrons; with modern touches but still staying true to its historical past. If you visit, be sure to see the mural celebrating the 100 year centennial of the city of Dillon.
Klondike Bar and Restaurant and Casino serves breakfast, lunch and dinner to rave reviews, offers drinks and conversation in its bar and lounge, and the opportunity to try to beat the 13 electronic gaming machines, commonly known as “one -arm bandits” in other circles.
In 1880, the Union Pacific Railroad wanted to run their rail line right through Richard Deacon’s ranch land. When Mr. Deacon refused them permission, another solution was put into action. Businessmen got together and offered Richard Deacon a deal he couldn’t refuse: $10,500 for his entire ranch land of 480 acres; Quite a chunk of change in those days.
This enterprising group of entrepreneurs formed a land company, established a village there, and gave the Union Railroad permission to build their rails. This newly formed village of Dillon, was named after Sidney Dillon; the president of the Union Pacific Railroad. The next step was to sell parcels of city land at auction, bringing in more founding citizens for the city of Dillon.
The buildings, that are now home to The Klondike Bar and Restaurant and Casino and its neighboring structures, were built in 1887, part of the new extension of the Dillon business district on Bannack St., as the town was growing and flourishing economically at this time. Besides the wealth and business that was generated from the presence of a railroad stop in Dillon, much economic growth also was instigated after the county seat was moved from the city of Bannack to Dillon, in the early 1880s.
The Fair Hotel opened up for business in this 1887 building, with lodging for guests on the second floor, and dining and drinking in its bar on the first floor. Probably, prostitutes were added as a possible amenity offered to their guests, which was common idea in those years.
Its not surprising then, that sometime in the building’s early history, the 2nd floor hotel area became a full-time brothel, which would bring in more money from love-starved railroad workers, cowboys, and other lonely citizens of Dillon. A lot of brothels in Montana and other parts of the west were given a pass by city officials who looked the other away, until the outbreak of World War 2, when the government ordered their shut-down to preserve “the morale of the troops.” Other brothels were closed or went undercover when the authorities cracked down on them.
At some point, the second floor was abandoned, for unknown reasons, probably when it stopped offering guest rooms and the establishment at the time became a full-time restaurant, bar and later also a casino. But the observer can still see on the second floor where the small prostitute cribs were located; places for paid sexual intimacy for men from many walks of life.
Throughout the years of its existence, many owners ran their commercial restaurant and bar in this historic space, making improvements, at least keeping up the first floor and basement to spur their business success. The structure has been in continuous use since 1887, being in a great location.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
The unfortunate tragedies and pain that occurred in this building because of the existence of the brothel have been the catalysts for the spirit activity experienced by staff on the first floor and basement area in this building.
The prostitution industry has a long history of causing the death of women who choose or are forced into this long-scorned, risky profession.
Some have died from diseases, from a broken heart or from an overdose of drugs; Opiates were commonly used.
Others died because of the occupational hazard of pregnancy:
Because they weren’t living a healthy life style, some pregnant prostitutes died in childbirth, along with their still-born or preemie babies. Some don’t want to accept their deaths or mourn the loss of their lives or babies.
Others died from the popular opium-based medication used for abortions. No one knew how dangerous this medication was to the human body.
A young, female prostitute is thought to have died alone in what is now the wine cellar area of the basement:
Some report that it was a self-inflicted abortion, perhaps dying from the opium-laced drug.
Others say she simply killed herself there, knowing she was pregnant, with no way out of her situation.
Other women in this profession were murdered brutally at the hands of a nasty customer, an unforgiving pimp or a jealous suitor. The deaths of women who died in these ways happened unexpectedly and were often emotional, painful, sometimes violent.
At this location, it is said that a cowboy fell in love with one of “the girls,” working upstairs in the brothel, who may not have reciprocated his love, or perhaps had refused his marriage proposal. Perhaps, her Madame or owner of the brothel bullied her not to leave. One night, the cowboy came by and shot both the young prostitute and the man she was servicing at the time.
Sometimes when a person kills another out of rage and hurt, he or she can’t let go of these emotions in this world, and is stuck, perhaps a little scared to leave, or afraid that the evil deed will be found out.
Victims of deadly crimes also sometimes have strong feelings that they can’t let go enough to pass over and be at peace, wanting some sort of justice, or aren’t ready to leave just yet. They sometimes express their feelings to the living, or try to continue to enjoy being in this world because they felt cheated from having a full life.
There are two such victims in the building of the Klondike Bar: The prostitute and her customer were in the throws of sex, when they were killed very suddenly, without warning.
Electrical items like calculators, TVs, radios, lights and casino machines can act as trigger objects that encourage spirits to be active in this world.
This is true at The Klondike Bar and Restaurant and Casino.
Two female entities and possibly two male entities are thought to be active here; all restless souls.
The two young female prostitutes, victims of their profession, are present and unable to rest.
One or two male entities have made their presence known in overt actions; Possibly, the man being serviced at the time of his death, and/or his killer.
First Floor Activity
Entity of Female Prostitute who was killed by the cowboy. A female form, dressed in a white gown likes to float around the first floor.
One or Two male entities, with at least one of them dressed in cowboy attire. A dark, shadowy, male figure walks around the bar area. A pair of cowboy boots was clearly seen walking down the stairs that lead to the second floor.
While making pancake batter for the morning patrons, the bowl, that was full of batter, slid by itself along the counter top; twice, and was stopped by the manager both times. However, during the third time, the bowl was propelled with an unseen force down the counter top, that it escaped the hands of the manager and was smashed into the wall, perhaps suggesting that a restless spirit was blowing off steam, perhaps sharing its anger at what happened to him or her.
The Bar and Casino Area
Some entity or entities like to play with the casino machines. Sometimes the machines even print out tickets for the unseen players.
Their unseen presences can be heard and sometimes felt by the staff, who simply remind them to put money into the machines, if they want to play. It appears that one doesn’t have to have a body form to play!
Items are moved around the bar and lounge area by unseen presences.
Basement Rooms and Wine Cellar
Entity of young, female prostitute mainly stays here, who seems to be stuck in the area of her death.
The lights seem to have a mind of their own, and go on and off at will.
Staff have reported feeling the hair on the back of their neck “crawl”.
A strong, unseen presence is felt, and the feeling of being watched and escorted around the area is also reported.
An unseen presence sometimes prevents staff from entering the wine cellar, becoming possessive of this space.
Probably so, though no hard evidence has been made public yet.
There are plenty of personal experiences that have been reported throughout the years of existence of this structure which point to some spirit people in residence, perhaps stuck there, who feel comfortable enough to let the owners and their staff know that they are there as well.
A lot of paranormal experiences have been reported by owners, staff and ex-staff about the spirits who become active mostly after the restaurant and bar are closed, with the familiar people that they know and feel safe with.
I couldn’t find any hard evidence that backs up the reported experiences, because The Klondike Bar and Restaurant and Casino either hasn’t been investigated, or a private investigation was held, and nothing was made public. Perhaps, the owners didn’t want their spirits to be disturbed, as their spirit residents have their own issues to work through in this world.
However, the owners did allow Karen Stevens, a well-known Montana paranormal investigator to publish the experiences in her book, “More Haunted Montana”. It remains to be seen if the new owners would be open to any further investigations.
When they renovate the 2nd floor, paranormal activity may jump to higher levels as renovation efforts usually act as an environmental trigger, pulling spirits back into this world.
Klondike Bar, Restaurant and Casino
33 East Bannack Street
Dillon, MT 59725
The Klondike Bar and Restaurant and Casino is located in the heart of the historical business district of the city of Dillon.
- Stories listed on HauntedHouses.com, by Julie Carr, in-house writer for HauntedHouses.com
- More Haunted Montana
By Karen Stevens
- Klondike Inn page on TripAdvisor.com
- Klondike Restaurant, Bar and Casino page on Guardian Real Estate site
- Dillon Montana history page on Beaverhead County Museum.org
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr