Texas Haunted Hotel
The Jefferson Hotel is one of the oldest buildings in Jefferson, built in 1851 as a cotton warehouse. The hotel has led a colorful life and has been known by many names.
If you think adventure is limited to a good raft and a little whitewater, or a bike tour across Palo Duro Canyon country, or a short bungee rope at the high Devil’s Canyon bridge – you might have another think coming.
There’s a book in Jefferson in the Caddo country of Northeast Texas, kept behind a hotel desk in the main lobby, where adventure awaits the traveler daring enough to open its pages. But there’s a catch. Not just anyone can ask read this book. You must be a guest of old, historic hotel. And to get the most out of this other-worldly adventure, you must take the book back to your room to read it. And even if you make it to the last words in the book without anything significant happening, then you may be in for a long, restless night.
It could be called the Book of the Dead, for it is a book compiled by guests of the Jefferson Hotel about strange encounters of another kind; handwritten accounts of strange noises, loud footsteps in the hall beyond the door, ghostly encounters, whispers and cold spots, and all kinds of other things strange and weird. For in the haunted Jefferson Hotel, there are no rules about what and when things might happen. They just do.
Located in the misty pine and cypress swamp country of Marion County, Jefferson is located where was once the Caddo Indians built their communities of straw and grass homes. By the 1840s steamboats navigated from New Orleans up the Mississippi River to the Red River and up Cypress Creek to newly founded Jefferson, moving cotton and other commodities to market.
A trip across spooky Caddo Lake even today offers a glimpse of the wild and mysterious country that has long given birth to fables and legends and tales of the unusual and unexplained. A few locals talk of a Big Foot creature that stalks the heavily wooded area around the eerie lake. There are tales of ancient Caddo spirits that whisper through the cypress boughs of the nearby bayou.
But it is the historic Jefferson Hotel that garners the most attention as a place of supernatural wonder. For here, perhaps as much as any other place in Jefferson, there have been reports of strange happenings, of ghostly sightings and eerie noises.
According to the hotel’s Web site:
“At a time when steamboats plied the Big Cypress River from New Orleans and true Southern gentility was the order of the day a stately structure, now known as the Jefferson Hotel, was built. Once used as a warehouse to store cotton, this lovely building changed hands numerous times. At the turn of the twentieth century it was transformed into a hotel and has served as a haven for weary travelers since that time. As you walk down the hallway and peer into each room, you’ll get a sense of the comfort afforded by Southern Belles and genteel men in days gone by. Close your eyes and you’ll hear the rustle of long petticoats, the whistles of steamboats entering the port and river gamblers trying their fortune. Once known as the Crystal Palace in the roaring 20s, ragtime music rang through these halls as couples swirled around the room.”
It doesn’t take a lot of imagination with all the period furniture and décor to put yourself back into a time out of place, to travel to the past and glimpse the glory of a hustling, bustling Jefferson.
But there’s more to the old halls than the fancy décor and modern conveniences that have been added. There is more than just a brush with history, for there are tales of ghostly spirits from the old days who still frequent the halls and rooms of the Jefferson Hotel. And many of these experiences are recorded in the book behind the registration desk, the book we call the Book of the Dead.
There is the story of a couple in ROOM 5 whose young son awakened them repeatedly because a man in a long coat and high boots would not go away. At times there is a thick white cloud with a thin, long-haired blonde in the mist. She seems to be emotionally attached to a bed that was moved from ROOM 12 to ROOM 14. A ninety year old man reluctantly told his tale of wandering the hotel at one in the morning after not being able to sleep. He saw the petite blonde woman floating down the stairs smiling at him, only to disappear before she reached the bottom step. He said he never believed in ghosts until he saw her!
Camera crews from various local TV stations and radio stations have all had their own weird experiences while taping programs in the hotel – from cameras not working in certain areas of the hotel to recorders turning themselves off and on.
These tales were taken from the hotel Web site and are only a few of the recorded stories in the Book of the Dead. To read them all, or to experience your own haunted adventure, you’ll simply need to book a room and stay the night in this beautiful and accommodating historic hotel. But be warned, the historic Jefferson Hotel is a rare and wonderful place where unusual things can happen. While there seems to be no threat to the safety of the guests at any time, it can be an eye opening experience if you are one of those who are not a believer that, indeed, the truth can be stranger than fiction.
The Historic Jefferson Hotel
124 W Austin St, Jefferson, TX 75657
Phone: (901) 468-3551
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE JEFFERSON HOTEL
At a time when steamboats plied the Big Cypress River from New Orleans and true Southern gentility was the order of the day a stately structure, now known as the Jefferson Hotel, was built. Once used as a warehouse to store cotton, this lovely building changed hands numerous times. At the turn of the twentieth century it was transformed into a hotel and has served as a haven for weary travelers since that time.
As you walk down the hallways and peer into each room, you’ll get a sense of the comfort afforded Southern Belles and genteel men in days gone by. Close your eyes and you’ll hear the rustle of long petticoats, the whistles of steamboats entering port, and riverboat gamblers trying their fortune.
Once known as the Crystal Palace in the 1920’s, ragtime music
rang through these halls as couples swirled around the room.
Each room boasts its own theme and decor, all with antique furnishings.
Another addition to this lovely hotel are its local hauntings. Many a guest has regaled the hotel staff with stories of sights and sounds heard and seen in the night.
Whatever your pleasure, be our guest and settle in for a journey through time when ‘the living was easy’ and the era was golden.
More Things to Do in and around Jefferson Texas
On any given day Jefferson Texas has so much to offer visitors, it is hard to pick just one. From train rides, horse drawn carriage rides to riverboat rides in Jefferson Texas, Caddo Lake and Lake O the Pines you will find many historic things to do.
For the shopper in you we have more antique shops than any other town in the Piney Woods.
HAYWOOD HOUSE “1865” HISTORIC HOME TOUR
202 South Market
Tours Daily ($5 person) “Call to Schedule”
HOUSE OF THE SEASONS HISTORIC HOME TOUR
409 S. Alley
Daily @ 11:00 am ($10.00 per person) *By appointment*
(903) 665-8000 www.houseoftheseasons.com
SINGLETON’S VIRGINIA CROSS HISTORIC HOME TOUR
401 Soda St.
Saturdays @ 1:00 pm ($7.00 per person)
Call for additional dates & times
(903) 665-3938 or (214) 725-6232 www.virginiacross.com
EXCELSIOR HOUSE HOTEL & JAY GOULD RAILCAR TOUR
211 W. Austin
Hotel Tours: Monday-Sunday @ 2:00 pm
Jay Gould Rail-car Tours: Monday-Saturday @ 11:00 am
Sunday: After Hotel Tour
Excelsior House Tour – $8.00 Jay Gould Railcar Tour – $5.00
(903) 665-2513 Call to confirm tour times www.theexcelsiorhouse.com
JEFFERSON HISTORICAL MUSEUM
223 W. Austin
Daily @ 9:30 am – 4:30 pm
6-12 yrs – $3.00; 13-17 yrs – $4.00; 18-61 – $7.00; 62 & Over – $5.00
R.D. MOSES T & P MODEL RAILWAY
223 W. Austin (Located behind the Jefferson Historical Museum)
Monday-Thursday @ 11:00 am & 2:00 pm
Friday-Saturday @ 9:30 am – 4:30 pm
Sunday @ 12:30 pm – 4:30 pm
(903) 665-2775 www.jeffersonmuseum.com
HISTORIC JEFFERSON RAILWAY
Visit their website for details on pricing, events and times
400 E. Austin 866-398-2038, 903-665-6400, 903-742-2041
TURNING BASIN RIVERBOAT TOURS
Hours: 10:00 am, 2:00 pm & 4:00 pm *Call for Reservations
Adults: $10.00, Children under 12: $5.00
200 Bayou, Jefferson, TX
(903) 665-2222 www.jeffersonbayoutours.com
BILLY CARTER’S “GO DEVIL” ADVENTURES
Location: Johnson’s Ranch in Uncertain, TX
Call for reservations ($20.00) *By appointment*
(903) 789-3213 www.caddoguideservice.com
BIG CYPRESS TOURS of CADDO LAKE
Location: Shady Glade Marina at 449 Cypress Dr.Uncertain, Texas 75661
THE GRACEFUL GHOST PADDLE WHEEL STEAMBOAT ON CADDO LAKE
Graceful Ghost Paddle Wheel Steamboat
Open: Wednesday – Sunday; Closed: Monday & Tuesday
Hours: 10:00 am, 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm & 4:00 pm; $20.00 per person
Pontoon Boat Tours – Daily by reservation
Location: 756 Pine Island Road, Karnack, Texas 75661
Docked @ Big Pines Lodge; Ticket Booth across from Big Pines Lodge
Call for reservation & additional tours (903) 679-3020 www.gracefulghost.com