420 East 11th Avenue
There was once a time when Denver’s Capitol Hill was known as Millionaire's Row. A place where the elites and socialites of Denver built their estates, the unsinkable Molly Brown made her home, and the Patterson Inn found its place in annals of Denver’s haunted history.
Yet, behind the glitz and the glamor lies dark forces that are beyond normal understanding, residual energy that makes the neighborhood, and the Patterson Inn, a stomping ground for ghosts, specters, and the paranormal.
When Thomas Croke built his home in 1891, the soon-to-be Patterson Inn, it would only be a mere six months before he would sell it off, suddenly and without explanation.
Many have attributed this unusual reaction to the death of his wife before its completion, or the death of his mother after, but others still have claimed that the home was cursed and that Croke had never felt comfortable living in it.
Though how much of Croke's uneasy experience is true, and how much is fiction, is unknown, there may be some truth to the area being cursed, especially considering the number of hauntings that have plagued the neighborhood.
Take for instance Cheesman Park, a popular site that was believed to have been built upon a potter’s field, where the poor and disease-ridden had been buried anonymously and in mass.
Considering that Millionaire's Row is but a stone’s throw away from this ill-fated park, it would make sense that some of the dead have staked a claim within the neighborhood’s illustrious inn—a somewhat morbid irony.
Throughout the years, the Patterson Inn has had its fair share of bizarre and disturbing paranormal incidents, many of which have been recorded.
One such story involves the sound of barking dogs coming from the second floor, despite there being no dogs anywhere on the premises. People claim that these canine spirits are that of a pair of Dobermans who were once trapped in a second-floor room, forced to jump out of the window in order to escape.
These poor, unfortunate dogs would meet their end in the fall, but would never truly leave, with reports of their presence continuing on for many years after the incident.
In the basement, other phantom noises have been heard, this time the sound of a mother and child, both crying out from the dark.
It is said that a baby had once died in the home and the mother, so distraught with her child’s death, buried it deep beneath the basement. Now, the two are forever trapped in a melancholy duet, one lamenting as the other calls out for comfort.
Not all of the ghosts of the Patterson Inn are frightening, though, as some can attest to. For example, there was once a woman, pregnant with her first child, who was staying at the Pattersonduring a period where it served as an apartment complex.
One night, as she was having difficulty positioning herself in bed, an apparition of a woman appeared before her, moving her gently, before disappearing completely.
Before she left, the ghostly woman whispered that her name was Kate, and many believe her to be the lost spirit of Kate Patterson, the wife of the man who had purchased the house from Thomas Croke. A mother herself before she died, it’s no surprise that she felt the need to look out for the new tenant.
It would seem that the woman and her family would continue to be surrounded by paranormal events during their time at the Patterson. Besides the motherly apparition, the husband’s office desk drawers would also unexpectedly open and close before his very eyes, even when locked.
It was even said that the family once brought in a priest to bless the apartment, only to find that the plaster by the fireplace had started to peel the moment he entered, sending a gust of wind flying out of it. It was, without a doubt, a foreboding sight, and caused the man of God to rethink his purification of the home.
It would seem that the building would become known for incidents just like this, especially during its time as an apartment complex. The owners then could barely keep the rooms rented, with complaints ranging from the sound of typewriters tapping away in the middle of the night to the disembodied cries of children where there should be none.
Even the current owners of the now refurbished Patterson Inn have reported their share of strange incidents, especially when renovating. Things like the spectral figures of small children, the sound of whispered voices, and even cold spots coming and going in the upper floors.
The building, it seems, has no qualms about making itself known.
As a merchant, an experimental plant breeder, and a state senator, Thomas Croke had an interesting career path before he built the Patterson Inn. So, it would seem only fitting that he would sell the home in 1893 to a man who had a similarly interesting career path.
His name was Thomas Patterson.
At the time of buying the estate, Patterson had already been a U.S. Congressman from 1877 to 1879, and would go on to serve in the U.S. Senate from 1901 to 1907. At the same time, he was in the senate, he would even become the publisher and editor of the Rocky Mountain News, a position he held until his death in 1916.
Patterson’s daughter, Margaret, would end up marrying Richard Campbell, the man who would soon become the business manager for Patterson’s paper. The couple lived with the Patterson family until 1924 when Margaret sold the home.
What followed for the property was a number of changing hands and different roles. After being sold by Margaret Patterson, the mansion would become the Joe Mann School of Orchestra, a radio station, and, in 1930, an apartment complex.
The building would continue to serve as an apartment complex all the way up until 2011, when it was bought and converted into the bed and breakfast it is today—the Patterson Inn.
The Patterson Inn has nine distinct suites, each one decorated with a special theme.
The Inn prides itself on its breakfast, which is always a new recipe, handcrafted, and served right in the Dining Room.
It is a memorable delight from a remarkable place.