Monday, March 2, 2015
A Ghost Story - The Hotel Leger, Wine, Women, and Whoopie
By Paisley Kirkpatrick In 1851 newcomer George Leger left Hesse Castle, Germany and came to the hamlet of Mokelumne, California. An entrepreneur with lots of cash in his pocket, and someone who loved to have a good time, he was thought to be different from the often crass and always dirty miners. He made some shady and sane dealings in the community and ended up with enough cash to build a one-story hotel, which he named The European Hotel. It didn't take long for Leger to add a second story to be used for room and board. He converted the first floor into a general store. He still wasn't satisfied with his hotel, so he added a lavish dance floor to hold his parties in. The hotel soon became known as the most elegant place for entertaining in his part of the country. Its lavishness drew many of the elite and famous from the world of arts and politics. George had an eye for rich and beautiful women and loved to party. The best alcohol and food was always on hand. He was in his element in this world, but it didn't last. In 1879 a portion of his hotel burned. Undaunted, he rebuilt and renamed the place Hotel Leger for good luck. Women, women, women! He loved them all. Even being married didn't interfere with his conquests. His much younger bride died two years after they married. Her death didn't stop him from continuing his lifestyle as he had before and during her time in his life. He was a dashing figure of a man, standing six-foot tall, with dark hair and a moustache, in his sexual prime, and wealthy. W.H Adams, Leger's friend and the owner of the stage company that had the Wells Fargo contract between Stockton and Sacramento, had a violent temper. Adams was devastated when he learned the beautiful young woman he had his heart set on was spending her time with Leger during his absences. Adams sent a lone gunman to Leger's living quarters at the hotel. The hired man knocked on Room 7 and as the door opened he shot Leger point blank. Leger fell mortally wounded into the arms of Adams' paramour. The killer walked out of the hotel and was never seen again. It was said that Adams' sweetheart took off with someone else after Leger died. Adams was the first person up the stairs that fateful day on Leger's behalf and as his friend was laid to rest, he led the crowd in tearful lament for his lost buddy. As a befitting omen, Adams was interred next to his ex-best friend. Soon after Leger's death it is rumored his spirit began showing up at the hotel. Leger's friends in life started to feel uneasy that he was still overseeing things in death as he had in life, especially Adams because the secret of his death was Adams' alone. No one except Adams was aware of his involvement in Leger's demise until he fessed up years later. Maybe it was on his deathbed. No one knows for sure. A family with children bought the hotel years after Leger's death. A couple of days after the family moved in, the children ran from their bedroom to their father and cried, "Someone told us to be quiet." Upon investigating, the father couldn't find anyone in the room. Later that day the children went into Room 7, which had been George Leger's bedroom, and where he died. The children ran to their father again. They pointed to a man in an old tintype hanging on the wall. "That's the man who told us to be quiet." The photo was of George Leger. Their father, who always wore a cowboy hat, remarked that he often saw two cowboy hats coming up the stairs in the shadows on the wall. One was his..... Researched in "The Incredible World of Gold Rush Ghosts by Nancy Bradley and Robert Reppert."