Tuesday, June 2, 2015

American River Inn

By Paisley Kirkpatrick
During the Gold Rush days of 1849, the American River Inn was situated in Georgetown, California. The hotel was constructed over a productive lode known as the Woodside Mine. Many pound-sized chunks of gold were found by the miners. It's been told that at one point as much as $90,000 was pulled from the earth within a two week period. Then, as if in retribution for the gold taken from its ground, the mine collapsed. Many of the hardworking men were trapped within its confines. It's believed that some are still buried under the American River Inn.
A gruff old miner haunts Room 5 at the inn. He abruptly makes his presence known on a whim, yet despite his disheveled appearance, he rarely has a frightening effect on the guests. He's of a tender nature, regardless of his hostile appearance. He loves three things -- honeymooners or happy lovers, Room 5 of the inn, and his long-dead girlfriend, for whom he is still pining.
A hearty soul, Oscar was a miner searching for fortune like thousands of others in this time of history. He was fearless in the rickety mine shafts and tapped off river channels. He had a perpetually romantic heart and foolishly gave it to a woman of the evening. As the tale goes, Oscar fell hard for a gold rush prostitute. He was well aware of her profession. In fact, that's how he met her. Many years her senior, he was smitten enough to dream of making her his wife.
When not searching for gold, he worked as a carpenter on this property so he could be near his lady love. History shows he was very jealous of her. A heckler, and former client of hers, constantly belittled her name. Words were spoken between the two men. A scuffle prevailed, and in the heated moments that followed, the aggressor shot Oscar dead on the steps of the American Hotel. His body died, but his spirit remained.
Many years later the inn was remodeled. The new owners found that Room 5 -- where Oscar's lady love lived -- was in very bad condition. The contractors who worked in the room said they were cold on a hot day. Something would brush past them, but nobody was there. Guests who stayed in that room admitted they actually had seen a ghost, but none of them were terrified of him even though he was gruff looking. He's a friendly ghost as he strolls through the rooms as if he belongs there.
A guest said that one night while they were snug in their bed, a dirty-looking miner type walked into their room, smiled at them, and left through the door. Oscar was known to always enter through the door that opens to the balcony and leaves through the door at the top of the stairs.
An interesting fact is that soon after Oscar's death a beautiful woman of the evening attired herself in her finest negligee and, with liquor in her hand, leaped to death off the balcony of the American Hotel.
The Incredible World of Gold Rush Ghosts by Nancy Bradley and Robert Reppert.

14 comments:

  1. Good morning Miss Paisley! I love the American River Inn. It's so charming. Thanks for reminding me of the story. There is so much colorful history here in gold country.

    Have a great day!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

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  2. Thanks, Patricia. I have a gazillion photos I took inside of the hotel for research on my historicals I write. The tour was a bit dangerous for me, though. I started to touch the feather bed and the docent almost slapped my hand as she burst out with "don't touch" rather loudly. I guess it takes a bit of effort to fluff the feathers when they make the beds. :)

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  3. I knew that hotel had to be haunted. Quite a sad story about the miner and his love of the prostitute. The American River Inn is so lovely. Is it still open for guests, or is it a museum only? I love reading about these haunted places. I don't know that I believe in ghosts, but I certainly love to read about them and wonder. Loved this post.

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  4. I do believe the hotel is still open, Sarah. It's been several years since I was able to go on the tour, but at that time it was a functioning hotel. There is also the Cary House Hotel in Placerville that functions as a hotel still. It was built in 1857 and I was able to explore it as well. I worked in an art gallery across the street from it. I used it as the prototype for the Chaumers Hotel in four of my books. I love old places to explore and actually did meet one of the ghosts in the hotel. He didn't want me on the elevator. :(

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  5. very cool post. I love it. Thanks for sharing the stories of the hotel!

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  6. Thanks, Jillian. I loved living in the 1849 gold rush area because there are a lot of ghosts and when you encounter one, it makes you believe. You know like curses and stuff in New Orleans. ;) I still think about that breakfast when I got cursed. :) Nice seeing you here.

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  7. What a fun piece of history. I love the ghosts stories where it's just someone who is still looking for peace and not tormenting people.

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  8. Thanks for stopping by, Paty. I loved all the ghost stories when we lived in gold country. Interesting stories surround them.

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  9. What a sad story. Thanks for sharing it, Paisley. You know so much interesting California history.

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  10. Thank you, Caroline. I love history and find it makes great plot ideas for my stories. :)

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  11. Wonderful stories. Of course, I'm the one who does not believe in ghosts, yet I read about each one with great interest. Thanks for an interesting bit of history, and of course, a fascinating tale of a ghost.

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  12. Thank you, Celia. I do believe in ghosts as I've encountered more than my share. I love hearing about the ghosts that lived near us when we lived in the gold rush country. Thank you for visiting.

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  13. Paisley, enjoyed your post very much, I remember hearing about this hotel on one of those paranormal investigative shows. But I didn't realize the hotel was built over a mine. Seems like that would be dangerous and cause the mine collapse. Hmm. Now I want to visit the American River Inn.

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  14. Hi Ashley. Both the hotels I mentioned are over a system of tunnels. I was lucky enough to enter one of the tunnels and we are talking rock - good solid volcanic rock so there shouldn't be much of a tunnel collapse. One tunnel running alongside the major tunnels in Placerville did collapse a few years back during an earthquake, but it stood for over 150 years. If you like old buildings, both of these hotels -- The Cary House and the American Inn are worth the effort. :)

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