Las Vegas New Mexico
La Castañeda Hotel
Ending life in sudden, violent ways has led to spectral restlessness and unhappiness.
Some guests have never checked out.
It is the oldest Mission Revival Style building in New Mexico.
Known as the Queen of Las Vegas, La Castañeda is a horseshoe-shaped restored hotel, with main section, a north wing and a south wing on either side which gives it this shape. It reopened in 2019 once more, after being closed since 1948.
From their website: “The hotel is roughly 30,000 sq ft, plus a 500 foot long arcade wrapping the entire east facade and courtyard. There is also a basement under the north wing for kitchen supplies, under the south wing for boilers and mechanical equipment, and a huge attic, which was uninsulated and never used.”
Every year, the hotel restores more rooms, adding to their sixteen unique guest-ready rooms, each named both after an animal, and a Fred Harvey historic site. Each has its own theme, with antique bed boards and a few pieces of furniture. They have been described as being cozy and full of the historic feel of the hotel.
There is a large social and meeting event room that once was a ballroom space.
There is currently one restaurant, Bar La Castañeda with an informal bar eating area and a dining room.
The owners restored as much as they could of the original decor and architecture, while adding modern amenities like electricity and plumbing that was up to code. Each guest room was given a bathroom, etc. Other items found were put on display. A hidden mural was discovered on a wall in the kitchen, which they put on display in the bar area.
Some of the original, sturdy furniture was refurbished and is being used in the hotel.
The city of Las Vegas began its existence as a Spanish colony in the 1830s. Built by Spanish settlers who were granted land from the Mexican Government, it resembled a traditional Spanish town, made complete with a central plaza and market.
Forty years later, the railroad began to roll by Las Vegas, bringing a surge of prosperity, a growing, rich population, and the construction of over nine hundred buildings. The Plaza Hotel was the first luxury hotel built on the north side of the central plaza, whose center was remade into a park with a gazebo a year earlier, just before the construction of the hotel and the department store beside it.
La Castañeda, the first Harvey House in New Mexico, was built just shy of 1900, because of mover and shaker Fred Harvey, an English immigrant who came up with an innovative concept: building a chain of upscale restaurants and luxury hotels along the railroad line. It proved to be a huge money maker, because of the support given to it from the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad. They agreed with Harvey that his plan was an opportunity to serve people traveling on the train, as well as for workers.
At the peak of Harvey’s success, there were eighty-four Harvey Houses from Texas to California, as people traveling by train loved these places to dine and stay.
The 1898 La Castañeda Harvey House was designed by Architect Frederick Louis Roehrig, and named after Pedro de Castañeda, a foot soldier and author who had a flair for detail and wrote down the adventures of explorer Francisco Vázquez de Coronado in the 1540s.
It started out as a 25,000 sq ft hotel with about forty guest rooms, a one hundred eight seat dining room, and a fifty one seat lunch counter.
Fred came up with the well-received idea of hiring young women to wait on customers in all of his Harvey Houses, becoming the largest local employer of young women.
Being a “Harvey Girl” became a much sought after job as room and board were provided in a nice building just across the street from the hotel/restaurants, as well as a good salary for the time. The job required girls to be single, well-mannered, and willing to follow strict rules such as a curfew, dress code, and maintain a good reputation.
La Castañeda became the place to stay for the well-to-do traveler stopping in Las Vegas, taking a lot of business away from La Plaza Hotel, the oldest luxury hotel in Las Vegas. The owners of La Plaza Hotel had to change the business plan and made themselves attractive to the tuberculosis sufferers and other pulmonary challenged patients. Later, workers who needed housing in the city, and student housing kept the hotel humming along financially. They out-lasted La Castañeda by thirty plus years.
This Harvey House was a huge success, as rich travelers kept the hotel with a substantial cash flow until the Depression made it hard to make ends meet.
La Castañeda hung on through World War 2, but finally closed in 1948, after a combination of circumstances drained downtown Las Vegas businesses. Train travel went out of favor, and the auto became the preferred way of traveling. This inspired highway hotels and suburban living, destroying the up-scale tourist business in the process.
People and events moved away from downtown Las Vegas, leaving it in an economic downturn.
This beautiful hotel was completely abandoned by the railroad, but not unused. The homeless and transients gladly moved in and stayed for the next twelve years.
In 1960, this woebegone but much loved Las Vegas treasure was bought from the railroad by a local businessman, John Lawson, who stabilized the property.
He in turn sold it for 85,000 dollars in 1973 to a couple who saw its possibilities, Don and Marie Elnd.
They renovated it into apartments and a bar, to raise funds to repair and maintain it, with the dream of restoring it at a later date. They were never able to do so, but they sold it in 2014 for 700,000 dollars to die-hard preservationists Allen Affeldt and his wife, Tina Mion, who were more than able to accomplish a full restoration. In their hands, this historic hotel will hopefully again become an economic anchor for tourist growth, much to the joy of Las Vegas town residents.
Allen and Tina also fell in love with the Plaza Hotel, and bought it as well. Both properties are now in good hands, under the same umbrella of ownership by enthusiastic history lovers.
They’ve also purchased another railroad Harvey House, La Posada, which they have also restored. From La Castañeda, guests can buy train tickets to go and experience La Posada as the two properties are now connected by rail so it can be a museum-like, hands-on experience. An Amtrak line runs twice a day through the Las Vegas train station.
It took three years to get the tax credits from the government to start the detailed, restoration of La Castañeda. Meanwhile, Allen and Tina also created a non-profit organization, the Winslow Arts Trust (WAT), “through which they can preserve the art and historic artifacts and buildings of America’s cultural heritage for future generations.”
Work began in earnest in 2018, using fifty local artisans, a talented crew. It opened once again in April of 2019 offering seven finished rooms for guests. The number of restored rooms more than doubled in 2022, which is not bad!
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
When buildings are saved from their ruined condition, and restored and renovated, spirits who are attracted to them for a variety of reasons are drawn back into this world to reside, and even become interactive with the living.
Hartford Twain House Museum, CT (After this wreck of a building was historically restored into the Mark Twain family forever home, guess who moved back inside to reside and enjoy?)
Geiser Grand Hotel, OR (Once a habitat for wildlife and birds, this woebegone property was bought by preservationists who restored it, much to the enthusiastic joy of the resident spirits, who even appeared to workmen to encourage them).
Monmouth Plantation Bed and Breakfast, MS (The spirit of a rather distrustful General John Quitman became very active when Lani and Ron Riches began to work with dedication to transform Monmouth Plantation from its sorry state of deterioration into a highly rated bed and breakfast. The good general approved and became their supporter, accepting the living as his personal guests).
La Castañeda, NM (As new owners started to restore it, some spirits were not shy about connecting and becoming active to the point that the owners called in Ghost Adventures to meet and greet the spirits).
People who loved their jobs while alive, will sometimes chose to continue as spirits, doing the best they can without physical bodies.
Lake Hotel, WY (The spirit of a male porter is still on the job, appearing as a solid person, who continues to carry bags and serve guests).
Brewery Arts Center, NV (The spirit of a dedicated Masonic maintenance officer continues to fulfill his former duties).
Albany State Capitol, NY (The spirit of a guard still continues in his duties, despite dying of smoke inhalation in a fire after getting everyone out of the building).
La Castañeda, NM (There is at least one spirit still working in a job that it loved in life).
Being murdered, especially by someone who you thought loved you, can be upsetting and deadly for all involved, including the killer.
Old Faithful Hotel, WY (A bride who was beheaded by her narcissistic husband still mourns as she walks around the hotel, holding her head in her hands. The spirit of her husband is stuck there as well, trying to find her to perhaps apologize).
Broadview Hotel, Kansas (When a man caught his wife with another guest of the hotel, he shot her, and then threw himself over the ledge, killing himself. He still stays in the hotel, making his presence known in playful ways, perhaps afraid to pass over).
Plains Hotel, WY (A romantic honeymoon was ruined when the groom showed his true character when he left his new wife and went down to the bar to find another sex partner, a prostitute who took him back to her room. It became deadly for all when his new wife shot him and his prostitute. Afterwards, she shot herself in her grief and disappointment. They all express their feelings to staff and paranormal investigators).
La Castañeda, NM (The wife of a past male employee was murdered by him. He then felt remorse and killed himself as well. They are doomed to relive their ends, while trying to work through their pain).
Suicidal people sometimes like to kill themselves in beautiful places.
Hotel Boulderado, CO (Several people have killed themselves here, hoping to escape difficult circumstances or emotional pain).
Hotel del Coronado, CA (A “beautiful stranger” who was suffering from terminal stomach cancer either shot herself (the hotel’s theory), or more likely had a friend shoot her, because of the way the bullet entered her body. Or, she could’ve been murdered over a family inheritance).(Story on hauntedhouses.com)
Hassayampa Inn, AZ (A honeymoon was ruined when the new husband ditched his new wife. She became distraught and hung herself after three days of waiting for him to come back).
La Castañeda, NM (This hotel has a history of people from all walks of life committing suicide).
Guests who in life enjoyed themselves at a favorite hotel, inn or restaurant, sometimes come back to stay for free in the afterlife.
Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, CA (Spirits of movie stars and others who enjoyed staying here in life apparently still do).
The Inn At Cape May, NJ (Spirits are still vacationing here for free!)
Hotel Macomber, NJ (A spirit who was a long time summer guest while alive, still likes to vacation four times a summer at her favorite place).
La Castañeda, NM (Spirits of guests who were enthusiastic patrons are happy to have their favorite place restored and have decided to move back inside. A former tenant or transient may have died here and has never moved out. A train traveler died suddenly before he could make it to his destination).
Not much is known about the spirits who stay here. While six distinct spirits have made contact with the living, only one was bold enough to state its name.
Spirit of Tom Murphy – Who is he?
The only thing known about him is his name, and what he looks like. He has shoulder-length gray hair, is tall, and holds no grudges against anyone.
While alive, he could’ve had been a member of the so-called one lung club, or perhaps one of the transients who stayed here.
He may be a very recent apartment tenant. The former owner said that a gentleman liked to look out the window. He sort of meets the physical description of this spirit.
The Spirit of Tom stays on the upper floors, and is not a shy soul.
He may be in Room 302, because a white orb was seen there.
He has made personal appearances in front of staff, guests and paranormal investigators.
He has manners and is cordial to the living. When asked to knock two times by Zack Bagans, he complied.
He is willing to share the space with guests.
Lady in White
Probably a former guest, as she floats around in a white dress without fear throughout the common areas of the hotel.
A picture of her was snapped as she happily floated up the central staircase.
A white mist which may have been her has been seen in one of the guest rooms upstairs.
Marital Disharmony Continues
The spirit of the murdered wife can’t forget her violent end, and communicated with Zac Bagans in the lobby/ballroom area.
She is still very mad, though she doesn’t take it out on the living.
She wants to be heard, and will communicate through EVPs.
She calls her murderer, Demon. Perhaps she thinks her husband was possessed.
She relives her ghastly end, and the living are frightened by her screams.
The spirit of her murderer is stuck in the same area where she stays, forever tormented for what he did.
Bar Activity – first floor
The spirit of a former bartender waited on Zac of Ghost Adventures. Zac asked what his name was. The spirit asked him if he wanted another, via EVP.
Zac Bagans then saw a white mist move behind the bar, perhaps the spirit of the bartender.
Just after this EVP, Zac heard a gun shot, perhaps the shooting of the wife.
This spectral bartender may also wait on the ill-fated spirit of the train passenger who never made it to his destination, San Diego.He communicated this with the Ghost Adventure lads.
When not drinking, he shows his distress in the basement, giving off a thick energy.
Shadow People and Strange Orbs
These unknown entities wander around the floors and the common areas, giving staff thrills that they didn’t at first expect.
The Ghost Adventure’s camera caught two darting shadow people going down the hallway by the lobby.
Orbs that have been deemed not to be dust or insects zoom around the hotel and frequent areas of connection.
There is a fleeing orb connected to the gun shot heard by the bar that the camera caught.
People have felt that they were not alone, as they sensed the strong presences of unseen spirits, which can be unnerving if one isn’t used to this sort of paranormal occurrence.
When Zac Bagans of Ghost Adventures walked down the second floor hallway, he shared on camera,”I feel a lot of spirit people,” as he felt different emotions. He could see in his mind people standing at the doors of the rooms, staring at him.
Some people have felt cold spots in various places where spirits have been noticed.
Personal experiences of the living abound throughout the hotel.
Hard evidence was captured and shared by the Ghost Adventures crew, in Season 11, Episode 5.
They have documented well their experiences and gathered a lot of hard evidence, most of which was shared above.
Yes Indeed! Most of the spirits who reside here are happy and content to spend their afterlives here. Others need help to let go of their pain and go to the other side where they can find peace, love and light.
4506, 541 Railroad Ave
Las Vegas, New Mexico 87701
- Castañeda Hotel website: https://castanedahotel.org
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3W0V8DYkQm8 The Plaza Hotel | Haunted Hot
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLQVqpUH-ZU RV’ing to the Haunted Las Vegas Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas …