500 Sinclair Lewis Avenue, Sauk Centre, MN

(320) 351-9100

Status: Historical Hotel



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By <a href="//" title="User:McGhiever">McGhiever</a> - <span class="int-own-work" lang="en">Own work</span>, CC BY-SA 4.0Link


This hotel was built on the site of the city’s first hotel which had burned down. It was built in 1901 by Ralph and Christena Palmer and it was the first building in town to have electricity. The Palmers lived on site with their children while running the hotel.

In 1916 the second owners of the hotel added a rear addition adding another 20 rooms to the 24 existing ones.

It wasn’t until 1993 that the hotel was remodeled into 19 rooms with each room getting it’s own bathroom. Previous to that all guests shared a common bathroom in the hall.

A young Sinclair Lewis – America’s first writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature – worked as a desk clerk here for 2 summers. The hotel was used as the inspiration for his Minniemashie Hotel in his novel Main Street.


Paranormal Activity

This location has been visited by a number of celebrity paranormal experts as well as paranormal teams and is considered not just one of the most haunted places in the State but in all of North America.

This location is very aware of it’s hauntings and very open reports of paranormal activity. There’s even a page on their website where guests can leave their experiences.

There was a reported large loss of life when the Sauk Centre Hotel burned down – the Palmer House Hotel was built on the exact site of the fire – and most believe this is source of the paranormal activity and haunting.

Many reports say the original hotel was nothing more than a brothel and the fire was set deliberately to “clean the town up”.

That being said, there are also many who believe there was no loss of life in the fire and the only recorded death on site is a little boy who died of the flu.

However, there are other reports of a man killing himself in one of the upstairs rooms and another who hung himself in the bar area by jumping off a pool table.

The reports of paranormal activity started around the 1950’s.

Many people have reported a strong dark energy that they believe is sourced in the basement. Strange unexplained noises have been heard in the basement.

Disembodied voices have been heard and recorded throughout the building.

Phantom footsteps have been heard on the staircases even when there are no guests or employees in the hotel.

The ghost of Sinclair Lewis has been seen in the hotel.

The apparition of a little boy playing with a ball in the hallways is frequently seen. He had also been seen sitting on the third floor staircase.

People have reported being pushed on the back of the knees on this staircase; some people have actually fallen due to this. This activity is believed to the boy who died from the flu.

The apparitions of a tall man in a top hat and a woman in a wedding dress have been reported.

The downstairs toilets will flush on their own.

In the dining room the silverware is reported as moving on it’s own.

Glasses have been thrown by an unseen entity in the bar area. Glasses have also been thrown in the storage area of the kitchen.

There is one report of a man coming into the bar and ordering a drink telling the bartender to bring it up to his room. One problem; there were no living guests in the hotel that night.

There are reports of knocks on room doors but no one is ever there.

Room 11 is reported as always being unnaturally cold like air conditioning is on all the time. A dark presence has also been felt in this room.

In Room 17 the furniture has been reported as moving around the room when guests leave the room.

People staying below Room 18 have reported the sounds of someone walking around above their heads when no one was in Room 18. The sounds of someone sitting on the bed and taking off their shoes has also been reported.

Other Reported Activity: shadow figures; objects moving on their own; electrical disturbances; touches, tugs and pulls from unseen entities; time slips; unexplained noises from whispers to loud bangs; doors slamming on their own; light anomalies and feelings of not being alone and being watched.