Old Baraboo Inn

More From Wisconsin

People in risky professions sometimes run out of luck and expire.

Some spectral spirits who were in charge want to continue to supervise.



“The Lovely Red Lady”

The air conditioned Old Baraboo Inn has been described as “a historic bar and restaurant, with two separate bar areas with separate dining for private parties.” It has 3,264 sq feet on this property, which includes 18 parking spaces on this 1/4 acre lot.

The outside of the Baraboo Inn still has its 1864 Victorian charm! It is a very handsome two story building with a basement that has undergone a beautifully done renovation and restoration. Painted red, with beautiful fancy windows, it is very classy and pretty to look at for the visitor. It must have been very alluring for people coming off the train.

Inside, the main tavern space is the restaurant, with the back part of the building containing two separate areas for private dining, complete with bars. During the years when the brothel was located on the second floor, there was a hidden stairway leading up to the second floor brothel from the inside of this tavern. Today the staircase is outside, giving people who use these apartment spaces a private stairway, without having to go inside.

The Food Network may use these apartments as office space or meeting rooms; either renting them to local businesses, or perhaps they have an office here themselves.

A great feature is that the kitchen was renovated by B.C. Farr to have the “state of the art facilities.”

There is a “one of a kind red cedar bar” that came from the Baraboo bluffs. It escaped the fire that happened in the late 1980s’. It may have been water and smoke damaged, but Farr had it cleaned up and restored to its former beauty.



Established in 1864, The Baraboo Inn opened as a tavern and brothel, in the late 1880’s-1890’s, being located right across from the railway station; connecting the city of Baraboo to Mob-controlled Chicago. Uh Oh!

During Prohibition there was an established Speak-Easy here, with a full sports package of sinful delights, courtesy of the Mob. Besides offering illegal alcohol in this Speak-Easy, there was a Mob-run brothel and gaming opportunities offered as well.

The Mob had the habit of taking over the places where they brought their illegal beer and alcohol to sell. Owners went along with what the Mob wanted, as the Mob had made an “offer they couldn’t refuse.”(Quote from the classic film, The Godfather). The owner of Bobby Mackey’s in KY did refuse and was murdered. The owner of the Slippery Noodle Inn in IN, did accept and lived to tell about it.

The members of the Mob; both well-known and unknown, made this place their stomping ground. Al Capone loved this place; as one of the hideaways he loved to frequent and take a rest from his line of work.

Being a Mob-run establishment, there was the required killing area for those who broke the rules established in The Baraboo Speak-Easy; mostly carried out by a sadist who loved his job. In the case of The Baraboo Inn, the killing and torture area was down in the basement. There is an execution pole down in the basement that still has the bullet holes where victims were executed after having their legs broken and suffering other painful injuries.

Customers who couldn’t pay their gaming debts, tried to cheat, romanced the wrong waitress or showgirl, or were guilty of some other offense were the ones who suffered and died there. The Mob enforcers in general, assigned to each Speak-Easy were not known for their forgiving nature. They knew their orders, and exceptions were not made. The offenders were handed over to the executioner, if the enforcers didn’t do it themselves.

This building before the disastrous fire was also a brewery/winery which must of pleased the spirits who were attached to this structure. It sounds like a late 70s’-’80s establishment when wine bars first made an appearance, and craft breweries were beginning to become popular in Wisconsin.

This building suffered a fire in 1988, closing the establishment that was open for business here at this time. After being closed for ten years because of fire damage, a new owner B.C. Farr had a dream with energy and funds to back it up.

After Farr had bought the building in 1998, he began renovating this structure in need of TLC; beginning with the 2nd floor apartments, then proceeding to the first floor. He for a time rented these two renovated apartments while he worked on the first floor renovation and restoration.

After four years of renovating and restoring, B.C. Farr opened his new establishment,The Baraboo Inn for business in 2002; after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars renovating this 141 year old, fixer upper opportunity. He transformed the former burned-out, water damaged building into a restaurant and bar with other features that were sure to be popular for private events: two dining and bar areas for private parties.

B.C. Farr found out that he had unseen presences cheering him on. For years, Farr didn’t disclose about what he had experienced with the Baraboo Inn spirits, probably until his tenants complained about the spectral party noise heard down below on the first floor, and the behavior of the very forward spirit lady on the second floor. His employees as well may have told him of their experiences that made them afraid.

So, B.C. Farr probably invited some paranormal investigators in to do an investigation; both scientific and psychic. Farr probably didn’t realize how many spectral residents were still calling this place home or their favorite watering hole.

Farr started to promote paranormal events featuring ghost tours, speakers and psychic events.

In 2018, Farr decided to retire, so the Baraboo Inn was put back on the real estate market in much better shape than in 1988! The lucky owners are The Food Channel, who have continued in the paranormal events and probably some other new ideas as well to draw people inside, creating more funds.



When a beloved structure has been renovated and restored, spirits who are attached to this place often become active; interacting with the living.

Shaker’s Cigar Bar, WI (It wasn’t long before the owners realized that they were sharing this space with spirit people).

Brumder Mansion Basement Theatre, WI (When a 1920s’ reconstructed bar was assembled in the basement, spirits who worked there during Prohibition became very active).

Geiser Grand Hotel, OR (Spirit people here became very active during renovation and restoration of this once dilapidated building; being so overjoyed that someone was making the structure new again).

Baraboo Inn, WI (B .C. Farr was the hero of the spirit people who loved this place when he spent a boatload of money to get this building operational again).

Unfortunately, Mob-controlled Speak-Easies were places of not only enjoying forbidden drink, playing a game of chance and sexual relief, but also were also places of pain and death for a variety of reasons.

Brumder Mansion, WI (In the killing room in the side storage area, a prostitute was murdered for telling the cops, a card cheater was shot, and the members of Sam Picks’ crew were shot because they knew too much by the mob soldiers from Chicago when they came to close down the Brumder Speak-Easy).

Comedy Store, CA (The basement of this club was their killing and torture center. Offenders suffered and died here).

O’Henry’s Roadhouse Building, Il (A prostitute was beaten to death by her mobster boss in the basement).

Baraboo Inn, Il (In the basement, people who broke the rules were tortured and shot here).

Cruel People who torture and murder others sometimes must stay in the place where they did their heinous crimes.

Comedy Store, CA (The spirit of the torturer and killer of so many is still there, threatening and scaring the living for chuckles).

Shanghai Tunnels, OR (The men, known as crimps who kidnapped people, held them in horrible conditions; selling the men to ships and the women to brothels are condemned to stay here).

Baraboo Inn, WI (The basement is the eternal cell for a very nasty spirit responsible for all the misery and death that happened in the basement; He is grounded here).

Sometimes people who die in their favorite place that was their life’s work, have the tendency to stay or visit a lot.

Bair Drug and Hardware Museum, Washington (Spirit of Warren L. Bair supervises the staff in good humor).

Eldridge Hotel, KS (The spirit of Col. Shalor Eldridge still loves his hotel and tries to help and perhaps directs staff with pleasant helpfulness).

Hotel Colorado, CO (The spirit of Walter Devereux, the first owner, still is front and center; even correcting decor mistakes).

Baraboo Inn, WI (Apparently, one of the two owners who died in the bar still dearly loves this structure; the place of his beloved business).

Customers who frequented their favorite watering hole, or maybe even died in this structure, sometimes chose to stay or visit there as a spirit; enjoying their memories.

St. James Hotel, NM (A spirit of a cowboy still sits at the bar wanting a drink).

Wabasha Street Caves, MN (Three gangsters who were shot inside still enjoy themselves, crashing events held there).

Cigars and Stripes Hammer Hed Lounge, IL (A variety of spirit people still enjoy their favorite watering hole).

Baraboo Inn, WI (This tavern and restaurant has a variety of spirit people patrons/employees from all the eras that it was open. Cowboys, gangsters, brothel customers;(“happy fellas”), Al Capone, former murdered prostitutes, and customers who died here throughout the years).

Spirits of former owners or managers sometimes can’t help but take a hands-on management position in the living’s business. It seems that perhaps the current owner is getting some help from an entity who likes to evaluate his employees, and people in general.

Bullock Hotel, South Dakota (A strict former owner, Captain/Sheriff Seth Bullock, has been known to let employees know his displeasure when he has issues with their work ethics).

Hearthstone House Museum, WI(A former owner, Mr. Priest, keeps a close eye on staff, much like he did with his employees at his businesses).

Speed Museum, KY (The spirit of Mrs. Speed still keeps her hand in keeping an eye on the staff, “helping” and pointing out areas of improvement).

Baraboo Inn, WI (Spirit of a former owner has taken over the job of judging how well staff are doing their jobs playing a rather mean practical joke on employees who are deemed unsatisfactory).

Being employed as a prostitute has always been a dangerous line of work. Many were killed by a murderous client or from the punishment suffered for some perceived wrong done from the brothel manager.

Slippery Noodle Inn, IN (Spirit of a prostitute still hangs around the second floor where she died).

Miss Molly’s B and B, TX (A prostitute was murdered by a knife by probably a client).

Club 13 Bar, MT (Several prostitutes were murdered here).

Baraboo Inn, WI (Three prostitutes died in this building).



The full paranormal sports package exists here due to the number of spirit people still in the building.

General Activity

Lights which were turned off when they were finished working for the day, were found blazing away the next morning.

Objects were found in different places than where they were left the night before.

When the apartments were rented out, before the first floor was renovated, they reported to the owner hearing loud honky-tonk type/old time piano music and sounds of people having a great time in the bar below them.

Doors will open and close without the benefit of human hands or natural breezes.

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

Kitchen Fun!

Dishes, cups and utensils have the habit of flying off their storage racks.

For chuckles, pieces of tupperware are playfully thrown like frisbees across the kitchen area.

Brooms like to float across the kitchen by themselves.

A Judgmental Spirit

Perhaps this is the entity of one of the past owners or managers. This spirit person seems to dislike some of the employees; perhaps critical of their job performance.

He or She has a mean sense of humor. This spirit person lets the living know if they are liked by using the basement walk-in cooler.

An unseen presence will wait for the disliked human to walk into the cooler, and then will shut the door and turn the light off.

If the human is liked, sometimes the door will open by itself.

Spirit of Prostitute, Mary

This female spirit likes both the front restaurant & main tavern and the back private dining and drinking areas.

Mary bled to death here sometime in the early 1900s, but she makes the best of it.

Guests have spotted this entity going about her business in the restaurant and bars.

For chuckles, she likes to dance to the juke box, and inspects the area behind the bar.

According to regular patron Charlotte, the juke box selection of “If the House Is a-Rockin,” by Stevie Ray Vaughan, is Mary’s favorite tune.

Spirit of Al Capone

The private Back Tavern area, made into two private dining and drinking rooms was the former favorite protected bar area frequented by the Mob, Al Capone and his cronies. Apparently they still like to visit, even if their space was divided into two rooms.

The spirit of Al Capone has several places that he visits; including Alcatraz.  In all the places he visits, he is sociable and affable, and cooperates with ghost hunters, paranormal classes, and paranormal events; answering questions in EVPs.

Spirits of Drunk Cowboys

These male spirits frequent the main tavern.

Many voice recordings have been recorded of male spirits with “rugged and determined personalities.”

These spirits occasionally must make an appearance, and perhaps move items around or play frisbee in the kitchen.

Second floor: Spirit of a Female Spirit

She haunts the upstairs area. She is perhaps one of the three prostitutes who died here.

In one of the two apartments on the second floor of the building, a female entity likes to
be in charge; and gives off these vibes to the living.

This probably makes herself feel better after probably being murdered by a client.

She teases the living and has made herself known to both female and male residents when these apartments were rented out to the public as housing; appearing as an apparition and vocally haunting the living as well.

In one instance she would call a young male resident’s name during the night, scratching on his door, causing him to finally leave.

Still Partying and Getting Action

A good time is still being had by all: the sounds of honky-tonk music, and the revelry of disembodied voices that comes from the floor below had been a deterrent for renters to stay in the second floor apartments. Perhaps, that is why Farr had stopped renting them as residential housing.

Apparently, spectral fans of the brothel are still getting satisfied because the sounds of sexual pleasure have all been noticed.

Nasty, Negative Spirit in Basement

The basement is secured from visitors for a very good reason. There is “an overwhelming darkness there” caused by a big, black form of an evil presence; probably the Mob psychopath who did the torturing and killing.

Staff and owners have long dreaded having to go down to the basement to face the “almost suffocating gloom.”

The air is thick; heavy with really negative emotional energy.

A medium reported this vile presence while pressing her hands to the ground;reporting decades of pain, suffering and death in awful ways.


The eye-witness evidence is very strong, coming from the owner, employees, patrons, apartment residents and people using this second floor space now.

Employees have quit and residents who lived in the apartments over the restaurant and bar have left because of the paranormal experiences they have witnessed.

The restaurant does have a photo of one of the entities who make the Old Baraboo Inn their after-life home, which can be found hanging behind the bar.

Boatloads of paranormal investigations, psychic investigations, paranormal classes and events have caught both hard and psychic evidence that clearly proves of the many spirits who call this tavern their home. The spirits are willing to do their part!

Sauk County Paranormal, Paranormal MD: Mary Marshall, and Old Baraboo Research Society are three of the research groups who have caught hard evidence that backs up what people have been experiencing for years.

In 2019, James Schilling, the lead investigator for Tri-County Paranormal, said he was convinced there were at least ten “active spirits” in the building. The spirits were very sociable with Tri-County Paranormal.



Yes Indeed!

The new owners of the Baraboo Inn, The Food Network enthusiastically have embraced the spirits and have scheduled paranormal events that put the spirits to work, who still yearn to be a part of this world of the living.

They may be using the second floor as office space. It will be interesting to see if the female spirit will make daytime office calls.

Winter and Summer Ghost Camp, plus events like Mary Marshall’s “The Science of Ghosts” are profitable and very popular because of the friendliness and willingness of Al Capone and a list of others to participate; especially with intelligent EVPs.



135 Walnut Street
Baraboo, WI 53913
(608) 356-2528

In the city of Baraboo, the Old Baraboo Inn can be found across the street from the Old Train Depot. It sits on Walnut Street, between Lynn Street on the south and Waters Street on the north; right before it changes to Ash Street.



    • Haunted Wisconsin – Real Haunts
    • hauntedjourneys.com
    • loopnet.com
    • lacrossetribune.com
    • wiscnews.com
    • “Investigators checking out reputed haunting”
      by Scott De Laruelle/Lee Newspapers
    • “The Ghost Of The Old Baraboo Inn”
      by Doug Erickson for the Wisconsin State Journal
      Posted in freerepublic.com

Our Photos are copyrighted by Tom Carr

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