Friday, March 6, 2015

Colorado Haunted Hotels - Hotel Norwood

In this series of articles, we share the history and haunted legends associated with each of the hotels and B&Bs included in our book,  

Hotel Norwood
an amateur ghost hunting guide
to Haunted Hotels
in southwest Colorado

This week, we feature the Hotel Norwood. (If you missed -- or want to revisit -- the paranormal investigation we conducted at this hotel, you can click here, as well as watch YouTube clips from our actual investigations.)

* * *
Historical Context

Attempts in the 1870s to settle Wright Mesa east of San Miguel Canyon ran into frequent conflicts with Ute tribes, but in the 1880s, cattle operations persisted and developed on the lush grasslands of the mesa. 

San Miguel Canyon, just east of Norwood
In 1886, Henry Copp from Norwood, Missouri, filed on land and decided to name the new locality after his hometown. He built several structures, including a post office, small store, and way station. Within a short time the town began to grow and soon offered three blacksmith shops, several liveries, three pool halls, two saloons, and a bank. The first school followed in 1888 and a sawmill by 1896. 

In those days, Norwood mail arrived via packhorse. According to an account in the Norwood Star newspaper, “The mail carrier changed horses at Wright’s Spring and turned [his] two horses loose to graze. Sometimes it would take him a day or so to find his horses before he could go on with the mail.”

Entrepreneur John Davis built the Western Hotel in 1897 (now the Hotel Norwood), which also served as a boarding house. By then, area cowboys frequented the town for liquor, gambling, and prostitutes. 

A Stanley Steamer auto of the era
Local historian Howard Greagor recounts that the first automobile came to town in 1909, a Stanley Steamer. Due to the steepness of the grade out of San Miguel Canyon, the water in the automobile boiler wouldn’t stay over the fire, so he had to turn it around and drive backwards the entire distance up to the rim. 

The Hotel Norwood has operated continuously since its days as the Western Hotel, accommodating many famous guests over the century, including Butch Cassidy and Marie Curie. The facility has operated under a series of different owners through the years, calling the building the Western Hotel, the Back Narrows Inn, and most recently, The Hotel Norwood.

In 1994, owners constructed a new multi-room addition called the New Quarters, remodeled again in 2014 by current owner Logan Tease.

Legends, Stories, and Guest Experiences
Nearly every staff member we talked to had a ghost story. Most said they have always felt some sort of presence during their work at the hotel, but none of the paranormal activity has ever felt menacing to them. The night clerk said it wasn’t unusual for him to hear – or see – anomalous things during his rounds.

Even hotel owner Logan, who lives in the historical building, has heard invisible footsteps coming from empty second-floor rooms above his own quarters.

Hotel Norwood lobby
One housekeeper told us she frequently discovers disheveled bedding after she makes up and locks guestrooms on both the east and west wings of the historical building. She’d recently found a distinct impression of a handprint on the bedspread in Room One on the second-floor east wing – not an uncommon occurrence in this and other rooms in the original hotel.

We had the opportunity to chat with several boarders who’d also gotten used to poltergeist activity in their rooms. 

“It’s not scary,” one of the long-term residents told us. “It’s more just little pranks.” He said he had repeated malfunctions with his alarm clock and other electrical devices in his room. He’d also had to keep replacing his batteries – a typical reported occurrence for many locales with strong paranormal activity.

Another boarder said he woke up time and again to his blankets pulled off over the foot of the bed, insisting he was a sound and quiet sleeper. Still another resident had seen a full-bodied apparition in her room across the hall.
Rm 12 contains a clearly
defined cold spot

Hotchkiss Paranormal Investigators examined the premises in spring 2014 and reported finding considerable activity. Their EMF meter, thermal-imaging camera, and spirit box recorded, in their estimation, clear evidence of ghosts on the premises. In an interview with the Telluride News, the team said the place was definitely haunted, and they wanted to return for a follow-up visit. 

In our own interview with this team, lead investigator Hector Zeferino told us, “A ghost gave us a tour. We pointed our K2 meter at a photo of a previous owner [Laura Hills] and got an EMF spike. When we went upstairs, we asked where to go and received responses via more meter readings.” In the west wing, his team also captured male voices with a spirit box.

The thing that most intrigued Hector about the hotel was all the original antiques: “They collect information of the past and record it for us to find.”

We're still having as much fun documenting current and ongoing investigations as we did conducting the investigations for our book, WILD WEST GHOSTS.

There are puzzling experiences and encounters aplenty out there, and you just may want to pick up a copy of that book for either armchair musings or else as a guide for your own expeditions into the fascinating world of the paranormal.

You can buy the book as either an e-read or a trade paperback. Visit our Website for links.

In the meantime, happy hunting!

An don't forget you can follow along during our investigations as we live-tweet from Twitter @writeinthethick. You can check out our Facebook page for updates about dates and times.

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