Meade Hotel

More From Montana

A hotel manager and an accident victim still hold the fort…

Other spirits may visit as well.

Residual energy from stressful historical moments is still heard.




Our personal observances: Time: 10:00 AM – Arrived at Bannack Ghost Town

Tom and I visited Bannack State Park and the Hotel Meade last summer on a crisp August morning. I was wearing a heavy coat and hat with gloves, because it was nippy outside. The Park Ranger told us that the Hotel Meade was haunted, so I went on alone because Tom said he wanted to get some other photos and would catch up with me.

The heavy front wooden door opens inward. Upon entering the front door, one finds the lobby/reception area, with a curving, once elegant staircase which winds up to the second floor where the guest rooms were located. Looking straight ahead is the large dining room, with a side room off the wide hallway. Other rooms where food was prepared and the kitchen also are found off this main hallway.


I walked alone around the spooky downstairs, trying to imagine how grand it once was, waiting for husband Tom to join me. No one else who was living was in the building with me. I thought I’d be polite and quietly talk to whomever unseen entity was there, as I verbally admired the various rooms, as if I was visiting as a guest, talking to the host.

While studying the various dining rooms, kitchen area, etc., here and there one sees glimpses of fine flooring, wallpaper and other evidence of how beautiful this hotel was in its heyday. The main staircase in the front lobby area has lovely wood carving on the rails and had at one time fancy steps, which must have been inviting for tired travelers.

During this tour of the downstairs, I didn’t feel a presence, but then again I usually don’t. While the downstairs was cold, so was the outside and I was warmly dressed. So if there were cold spots, I didn’t notice them. After taking a look around the very quiet, still, chilly downstairs, I decided to see where my better half went, as there was something too spooky about going up to the second floor alone.

There was something about the shadowy staircase leading up to the second floor from the kitchen that made me decide not to go there just yet. I turned into the main hallway and walked through the lobby toward the large front door of the building which I had left open. I was about to be surprised.

Our story is continued under Paranormal Findings section.



This fine, solid, impressive two story brick building was well constructed in 1875, to be used as the first Beaverhead County Courthouse, because the town of Beaverhead at that time was chosen to be the County Seat. Unfortunately for the town of Bannack, the county seat was moved to Dillon in 1881, because Dillon was a growing city, becoming a “flourishing freight center.”

This building stood vacant until 1890, when the enterprising Dr. John Singleton Mead bought the building, did some remodeling and turned the place into a plush hotel.The Meade Hotel became the center of the town’s social activity, bringing a sense of civility to the community, as well as providing a place to stay for visiting people who needed a temporary home.

The hotel was host to major social events, and receptions. To accommodate the growing clientele, a large kitchen, a dining room and living quarters were added on to the back of the building. The large, main dining room was filled with tables, which seated 4 to 6 people, which could be moved and rearranged for larger parties.

Beautiful, finely made white linens and lovely china were the norm, always used for the customer’s dining experience. The hotel was open and busy in the years the mines were open, and closed the years when the mines weren’t in operation.

The Hotel Meade was very versatile in its use, as are other large hotels that were built long ago. Sometime during its long history, the building was also used as a makeshift hospital at times when needed. Epidemics like small pox and typhoid would flow through town.

The Hotel Meade closed for good in the 1940s when people left the town of Bannack; leaving no one alive behind. Luckily, Montana State Parks took over and stabilized the buildings in Bannack that they could; fixing dry-rot, putting in new glass panes in the windows, putting on new roofs, fixing stairs, etc. Preservation efforts on the sixty buildings were carried out, leaving quite a nice collection of historical buildings; stable enough to go inside and visit, but remaining as they were; not fully restored but left in stable condition.



People who loved a structure while alive, sometimes like to reside or visit there as spirits. People who were involved in the building especially like to keep an eye on the living.

Eldridge Hotel, KS (The spirit of Col. Eldridge likes to reside in the hotel that he helped to rebuild several times).

Monteleone Hotel, LA (The original owner still keeps an eye on the living in his labor of love).

Hotel Colorado, CO (The original owner still has a hand in things , even helping to pick the wallpaper for a room).

Meade Hotel, Bannack Ghost Town, MT (The spirit of Dr. John Singleton Meade, or another owner or a guest who loved this place may still be here).

Children and youth who die from accidents or illness, sometimes as spirits like to reside in their favorite structure in this world.

Shanley Hotel, NY (A young girl fell down the well and drowned there. She now plays around the Shanley Hotel).

Copper Queen Hotel, AZ (The son of a maid who worked here, drowned in the nearby swimming hole).

Meade Hotel, Bannack Ghost Town, MT (A young girl in her teens, Dorthy Dunn drowned in the dredge pond along Grasshopper creek on August 4, 1916).

When a spirit child decides to stay in this world in their favorite structure, sometimes a family member stays with them as well for a variety of reasons.

Shanley Hotel, NY (The spirit of the father of the small girl who drowned in the well also stays at the Shanley Hotel with her).

St. James Hotel, NM (The spirit of the mother of a spirit child who died of burns suffered there, also stays with him, trying to get him to go with her to the other side).

Whaley House, CA (The spirits of Mr. and Mrs. Whaley have moved back inside of their house to be with their spirit toddler who died and their grieving spirit daughter who killed herself over a failed marriage).

Meade Hotel, Bannack Ghost Town, MT (The spirit of the mother of Dorthy Dunn probably is the female spirit who stays with the spirit of Dorthy at the Meade Hotel).



Like many old hotels, spirits from its past still love this structure and are the cause of the paranormal activity experienced by the living.

Auditory Activity

Sounds of crying children have been heard.

These could be impressions, perhaps left over from the days when this building was used as a hospital.

Or maybe the entities of children who died here in the hospital are still in residence.

If they are psychic impressions, perhaps they are left over from the days of the Native American attack scare, when some children were put in the hotel safes.

Tactile Activity

Unexplained cold spots are felt inside.

Perhaps Dorthy has company; other entities who can’t quite leave the place because they loved it so when they were alive.

Is Dr. John Singleton Meade still around to keep an eye on the living who visit his hotel? Or perhaps a frequent guest or another owner of this hotel is still there?

Another spirit could’ve been following me around on the first floor and was responsible for the surprise I experienced.

Spirit of Dorothy Dunn

She first appeared to her best friend, who was with her on that fateful day when they decided to go swimming, and witnessed the drowning of Dorthy.

Today, the spirit of Dorthy Dunn is seen mostly by children, wearing a blue dress, and has tried to talk to them.
Dorthy has also been seen looking out one of the second story windows, in one of the guest rooms or perhaps the large front room with the balcony, which overlooks the street.

She was the daughter of the hotel manager at the time, and probably had access to this large suite.

Spirit of an older woman

One older woman also haunts the second floor as well. She has been seen looking out a second floor windows by visitors.

She may be the manager; mother of Dorthy Dunn, staying here because the spirit of her daughter is here.


Paranormal investigations have been done here and caught some hard evidence.  Park Rangers told us that the Meade Hotel was haunted, probably because they were shown the evidence or had experiences themselves.

Greg Burchfield, Hotel Meade, Bannack, Montana, February 2005.

In the evening, brave Greg Burchfield went to the second floor alone with his recording equipment, via the front staircase.

On the second floor, near the staircase and in front of the large front room which is locked, he felt a presence and a cold spot.

With his EVP equipment running, He asked, “Are you a little chicken?”

One can hear the accented voice of the teenage entity answer him.

Personal experiences have been reported by many visitors, like Tom and myself, the staff and restoration crew.

Below is the continuing story of our visit to Meade Hotel.

I turned into the main hallway and walked through the lobby toward the large front door of the building which I had left open. When I was about fifty yards from the door in the main lobby, the heavy wooden door suddenly was pushed hard from the inside with a hard slam. I jumped and let out a yelp of surprise!

There was no wind outside, and the only explanation was that an unseen presence wanted to let me know that I wasn’t as alone as I thought on the first floor, and wanted to see me jump for chuckles! As I have limited psychic ability, entities who had wanted to say hi to me in past adventures, got my attention through physical means.

Or, perhaps this entity wasn’t pleased that I didn’t come up to the second floor for a visit, or maybe upset that I left the door open in the first place! I apologized verbally for leaving the door open, and made a hasty exit. I did go back to this hotel with husband Tom to have a living escort this time as we explored the hotel together, the second floor as well, about 30 minutes later. Tom took some pictures with his digital camera which capture the atmosphere of this building on both floors.

Musings about The Second Floor

YIKES! I’m glad I waited for Tom. And this was 10:45 in the morning!
Though we didn’t see anything physical in the guest rooms, the atmosphere in the upstairs rooms and hallway was definitely different and a bit unnerving, especially near the large front room.

On the second floor, the largest room, probably used for important people, is located in the very front of the building, and has a large balcony, giving an excellent view. This room was locked.

Paranormal investigator, Greg Burchfield, reports on his web-site that the doors are locked because of “supernatural events” which have happened in this room. Spirits are still calling the hotel home and don’t appreciate visits from the living! They have claimed this space.



A Big Yes Indeed is in order.

While all the stabilized buildings have reinforced structures, glass in the windows, new roofs, and are in good shape physically, what remains of the original decor inside is the same as when the building was abandoned, making it an era of time preserved.  Sprits are attached  to the Meade Hotel, being the grandest building in Bannack, and used for many things. Chances are, spirits feel at home here, no matter how they died. They find peace in the Meade Hotel.



Bannack State Park
4200 Bannack Road
Dillon, MT 59725
(406) 834-3413

Mailing Address:
The Bannack Association, P.O. Box 1426, Dillon, Montana 59725

The Meade Hotel is located in the Bannack State Park.

Bannack State Park is in the Bitterroot Range in the southwestern tip of Montana, about 25 miles southwest of Dillon, about 24 miles off main I-15 highway. The town itself is near the Grasshopper creek.



    Compiled by Linda E. Anderson
    For Bannack State Park
  • Haunted Places
    by William Dennis Hauk

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

Haunts in Montana