Long before a building was ever built here Mexican and Texas forces fought here in the Battle of the Alamo in 1836. Part of the battle took place on the very ground the hotel now stands. It is, of course, impossible to tell exactly what happened on this one patch of land but 600 men lost their lives in the battle.
The building was completed in 1924 and called the Medical Arts Building. It housed over 100 medical professionals as well as a 50 bed hospital, a morgue and even a crematorium. There’s even stories that people with mental illnesses stayed here which, while certainly possible, isn’t a proven fact.
In 1976 the medical staff left and the building was completely converted into offices.
In 1984 it was renovated and turned into a hotel.
In 2012 the building underwent a massive renovation when it was bought by Hilton Hotels and converted into a Doubletree Hotel which it remains today.
This hotel is considered the third most haunted hotel in America.
The hotel is open about it’s reported paranormal activity. They do not go so far as admitting a haunting – their website says the hotel is probably not haunted – but they do not deny the strange and unexplainable things people have reported. They simply think there’s a logical explanation; which there certainly could be.
Their website also states visitors are welcome to ask the staff about the history of the hotel and the unexplained things that have been reported.
The most active floors are 7, 9,14 and the basement with the 7th being by far the most haunted of all.
A “woman in white” has been seen walking through the halls of the hotel. People have also reported shadows on the walls when there was nothing visible to cast the shadow.
The elevators will move on their own and stop at random floors when no button was pushed.
On certain floors people have felt a presence when they were completely alone. A powerful feeling that they are not truly alone as if something unseen is watching them. Most disturbing is that the elevators will occasionally ignore all the pushed buttons and take guests down the basement; where the morgue used to be.
The elevators have also sealed their own doors and trapped people within them.
Numerous guests have reported hearing something that sounds like hospital carts in the hallways but when they open their room door the hallway is empty and silent.
Other people have reported seeing nurses pushing gurneys down the hall. The apparitions will first appear as solid as reality then slowly fade away to nothing.
The phones at the front desk will occasionally ring but when answered there is no one on the line. Sometimes it will show as an unknown number but sometimes it will show as a call from a completely empty elevator.
Doors will sometimes open and close on their own.
Staff have cleaned entire rooms only to return and find the bed all rumpled again.
One staff member went into a bathroom in an unoccupied room only to find the tub suddenly filled with blue water.
Not only is there no 13th floor labeled – a common occurrence in buildings with 13+ stories but the room numbers on the 14th (13th) floor end at 1407. There is no room 1408 because you add 1+4+0+8 you get 13.
The 14th floor is where the crematorium was housed when it was the Medical Arts Building. It was also used for surgeries and some guests have opened their room doors to see the hallway replaced by an obviously busy hospital scene preparing and doing surgeries in an apparent time slip event. The natural reaction would be to close the door – denial is our reaction to seeing something we can’t believe – and when the door is opened again its just the normal hallway as it should be.
The 14th floor is said to have an antiseptic smell as if one was in a hospital.
Guests on the 12th floor have seen their bathroom doors open and close on their own. They’ve also been awakened in the dead of night to hear water dripping from the bathroom faucets which turns to a torrent when they get up to investigate and then stops completely the second they enter the bathroom itself.
Apparitions of nurses are reported on the 12th floor as well.
On the 7th and most haunted floor there seems to be a ghost bride as well as other ghosts who move freely about the floor including the rooms and the hallways.
The bride is known wailing unearthly loud screams in the middle of the night waking up guests.
All the ghosts of the 7th floor seem to enjoy playing with the living. They will suddenly appear in your room – or just come right through the wall – which, rightfully so, can terrify guests. These experiences have led to guests leaving the hotel or asking for another room in the middle of the night.
Also, on the 7th floor guests have reported their phone ringing in the middle of the night with no one on the line, lights and television turning on and off on their own. There are also reports of being touched by something unseen which would be another level of creepiness if it happened while you were sleeping.
Despite a few unscheduled trips by the elevators guests are not permitted in the basement. Only staff go down there and they’ve had enough experiences that no one really wants to go down.
The morgue and embalming room were once in the basement.
Sometimes the room with filled with the smell of decaying flesh. Other staff have reported disembodied voices and bright orbs of light that flash around the basement.
William Menger emigrated to the United States from Germany in 1847 and opened a brewery in 1855 on the battlegrounds of the Alamo; now known as the Alamo Plaza.
It is said he brought beer to San Antonio.
In 1859 he and his wife, Mary, opened the Menger Hotel. It was the first real hotel in San Antonio – which was a stop on the Chisholm Trail and used by cattle drovers to replenish their supplies – and with 50 rooms it was an instant hit with the cattle barons.
Before the hotel there were only boarding houses available for visitors to the growing city.
In the Civil War there was a large Confederate force posted in the city. When the boarding houses were quickly filled the Menger family closed the hotel to the public and used the rooms to house wounded soldiers and the dining room to feed them.
William Menger died in 1871 but Mary and his children continued to run both the hotel and the brewery.
In February of 1877 the first train arrived in San Antonio and the hotel became more successful.
In 1879 gas lighting was installed.
In 1881 John Kampman – who was the contractor who had built the hotel – bought it. He made numerous additions to the building and put in the pipes which allowed the construction of private bathrooms for every room, something highly prized as most hotels at the time did not offer it.
His son Hermann, who took over after John, built a saloon modeled after the House of Lords bar in London, England. He also added electricity, a steam elevator and the laundry.
By World War I began the hotel began to feel dated and by the time the Great Depression began it was starting to fall apart as well. By the 1940’s there were discussions about demolishing the building and replacing it with a parking lot.
Rather than be torn down the hotel was bought by William Moody Jr in 1943 who began a massive restoration - $100,000 on the kitchen alone – in 1948. He completely reconstructed the lobby, the kitchen and a number of rooms as well as modernizing both the plumbing and electrical systems.
When Moody died in 1954 ownership passed to his daughter Mary. She would make $1.5 million addition with 5 stories and 110 more guest rooms just in time for the 1968 World’s Fair.
Numerous US Presidents have stayed at the hotel from Ulysses S Grant to George HW Bush.
The hotel is currently owned by Historic Hotels Inc.
The ghost of President Theodore Roosevelt haunts to Menger Bar where he once informally began an enlistment drive for his famous ‘Rough Riders’ just before the Spanish American War.
He is said to still be interested in witty conversation with the customers today and if you’re very lucky he might choose you to talk to.
Sallie White worked as a maid in the hotel in the 1870’s. She was known as both a hard worker and a very sweet and well liked woman. Unfortunately, her husband was exactly the opposite who, in a fit of jealous rage, followed her to work and emptied an entire pistol into her at the hotel. It took her 2 days to die and the hotel paid for her funeral.
Sallie haunts the third floor of the building and is often seen as a transparent apparition in a grey maid’s uniform with her hair done up in a scarf. She is usually carrying an armload of towels, presumably for guests.
Captain Richard King – owner of the King Ranch; one of the largest in the world at the time – also haunts the hotel. Once his personal doctors told him of his death rapidly approaching, he moved to his personal suite at the hotel and spent time with his friends until his passing.
King is often seen in his old suite – now called the King Ranch Room – usually entering through the wall where a door once was before a renovation.
In the original lobby of the hotel a woman in a blue dress, wire glasses and a beret in her hair sits and knits. A staff once inquired if she needed anything to which the woman curtly said no before she disappeared.
A guest saw the apparition of a man in a buckskin shirt and pants arguing with someone who could not be seen. He said, “are you going to stay or are you going to go?” Three times before vanishing himself. Certainly, sounds like it was related to the Battle of the Alamo to me.
Heavy phantom footsteps and military boots walking with no visible in them are often seen in the hotel; which is also thought to be related the Alamo siege as well.
In the kitchen objects are witnessed moving on their own.
The apparitions of many other former guests – and members of the ‘Rough Riders” – are also seen throughout the hotel.
950 Grayson Street
San Antonio, Texas
Status: Former Residence; Heritage Property and Event Venue
Photo Courtesy of Cayla
Location was built by Edwin Holland Terrell in 1894.
But soon, tragedy struck when Edwin contracted syphilis and suffered terribly in his final days. He ended up taking his own life inside the castle but suffered for ten long days after his almost failed attempt.
Edwin’s funeral was held inside the home on the second floor. During the Second World War, a soldier came home and caught his wife with another man. In anger, he murdered that man in bed. Afterwards, he pushed his wife down the stairs, killing her instantly.
It’s been rumored that a construction worker fell to his death while the home was being built.
Overnight guests report tvs flying off the walls, wedding venue guests hear children laughing when there were no children.
Footsteps being heard, the smell of cigar smoke in the library.