321 17th Street
The Silver Boom in the 1880s brought people from all walks of life out west to seek their fortunes in Colorado. Folks came and went through the town of Denver to get to the Rockies, exploding the then-little town into a booming hub. And people needed places to stay.
The Oxford Hotel was already in place in 1891, but it would only be a year later when the larger and grander Brown Palace Hotel opened its doors. But it seems that some who have checked in never checked out.
Did You Know?
There have been numerous odd and unexplainable incidents throughout the hotel.
Guests and staff have mentioned lights turning off and on their own. Some have noted what appears to be something crawling from underneath the carpets, though none have been able to identify what exactly is lurking below.
Numerous apparitions have been seen gliding from hallway to hallway in the Palace.
The Brown Palace Club has a more well-known ghost that likes to hang about the entrance. He’s described as a man in a dark suit and a cap, like the attire of an old train conductor. If you approach him, he’ll float down to the ground floor and into a corner where he’ll disappear.
When the hotel first opened, it was surrounded by shops and business, including the Rock Island Railroad ticket office. It so happened that it was located right at the corner where the apparition goes through.
It seems the conductor enjoys the clubbing scene more than his day job.
Louise Crawford Hill was a known socialite in Denver. She would host parties and card games, inviting only a select number of Denver’s wealthiest to partake. She also lived in the Brown Palace for the last fifteen or so years until she died in 1955.
Her suite was room 904, and it would seem that she never left after all.
There was a period of renovation happening at the Palace, especially in room 904. It had been stripped bare of its wallpaper, furniture, lights, and telephone. How very interesting that the hotel’s switchboard operator began to receive phone calls from 904. Every time she picked it up, she would only hear static.
It would seem Mrs. Hill did not appreciate people invading her space and tearing it apart.
The hotel's dining room, once called the San Marco Room, would have flashy big brass bands to perform for guests as they ate. One of the more well-known bands were the San Marco Strings.
One night, an employee heard music coming from the dining room. He rushed down to see a band of four men playing away. The employee informed them that they weren’t supposed to be in the dining room at this hour.
One of the men replied, “Don’t worry about us. We live here.”
A smattering of reports have mentioned the apparition of a waiter by the service elevator, the ghosts of children running around hallways, and perhaps the most disturbing and perplexing spirit of them all.
The sound of a baby crying in the boiler room.
Even in the afterlife, the Brown Palace is still as lively as ever.
The Brown Palace Hotel came at the perfect time with the rapid expansion of Denver due to the silver boom in the 1880s and the inevitable silver crash in 1893. Both situations had people in dire need of a place to call home.
The man behind the hotel was Henry Cordes Brown, who made his fortune in real estate. He commissioned the hotel in 1888 in an Italian Renaissance style with red granite and sandstone for the exterior.
The hotel interior was designed as an atrium, with the eight floors wrapping around the large, open space like massive balconies. It was one of the very first hotels to incorporate this type of architecture. Also inside the hotel sits 26 carved medallions, each representing an animal in Colorado.
At the time of its completion in 1892, the Palace was the tallest building in Denver. It housed 400 rooms, and the prices for each room ranged from $3 to $5 a night.
The hotel made headlines in 1911 when Frank Henwood shot and killed Sylvester Louis von Phul and George Copeland. Von Phul was intentional; Copeland’s was not. Henwood and von Phul were rivals, both eager to win the affection of socialite Isabel Springer. It seems Henwood was willing to kill for it.
Through the years, the hotel had seen many notable guests come and go, the likes of Molly Brown, the Beatles, John Wayne, and even presidents like Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan.
In more recent years, the hotel is probably more known for its several bee colonies that live on the roof. The bees help pollinate the city, and the honey harvested is used to create honey-based products for the hotel.
The Brown Palace Hotel has rooms available for anyone looking for a luxurious time in Denver. Booking information can be found on their respected website.
The Palace boasts its top-quality spa and six distinctive bars and restaurants. They also boast of being an extremely pet-friendly hotel. As they put it, no family member should be left behind.