Author: Brittany Hartman
The Hotel celebrates its birthday on July 4th, representative of its summer opening in 1909. Photo by Brittany Hartman.
The Stanley Hotel, a tourist hotspot for its beauty and paranormal activity â€” also the hotel from Stephen Kingâ€™s “The Shining”Â â€” was built in Estes Park, Colo., for Freelan Oscar Stanley and his wife Flora in 1907. When it was opened two years later, however, it was not intended to be a hotel for the general public.
Freelan Oscar Stanley, more commonly known as FO, was diagnosed with tuberculosis at the age of 53, and consequently, he and his wife moved from Kingsfield, Maine, to Denver because the high altitude was supposed to be helpful. Seeing as Denver was a highly industrial town in the early 1900â€™s, the couple decided to spend their summers in Estes Park, where they had a spacious house that still exists half a mile up the road from the hotel grounds.
In Maine, the Stanley family was host to many members of high society. Wanting to continue to share their company, they built what is now the Stanley Hotel to house all of their guests. The hotel was top-of-the-line when it was built and was the first hotel west of the Mississippi to be fully powered by electricity.
Jesse Freitas, the Guest Services Manager at the hotel, and a tour guide known as “Scary Mary,” along with the whole hotel staff are extremely knowledgeable about the history of the hotel and its haunts.
Reports of paranormal activity within the hotel have been around since the 1940s. The hauntings are referred to as residual and intelligent, as detailed in sounds of children laughing, the sounds of furniture moving on hardwood floor on the fourth floor, which is really fully carpeted, the sounds of balls rolling and objects being moved and images of people who are not actually there.
According to Scary Mary,Â “the most difficult question is ‘How many ghosts are there?’ Really, how many stars are in the sky?” To her, “energy is energy,” there will always be abnormal occurrences, and new abnormalities will continue to pop up.
Also according to the staff, in September of 1974 during his stay at the hotel, Stephen King got the inspiration for his book “The Shining.” In 1997, the ballroom and the lobby on the main floor were renovated for his movie rendition, and the rooms have remained darker in tone to go with the theme of the novel and movie.
The Saturday before Halloween, the hotel puts on their famous Shining Ball, a costume party themed around the movie, although guests may dress up however they wish. This year, the ball will be held on on Saturday, Oct. 27 at 8:00 p.m. Guests must be 21 years of age or older.
The Stanley Hotel hosts a wide variety of tours, ranging from simple historical tours, to their late-night Ghost Hunts â€” all are sure to be a thrill.