It was 1908, and a grand affair was taking place.
Named for the booming gold rush town it was built to serve, the extravagant Goldfield Hotel was opening its doors. Champagne flowed down the stairs into the mahogany-trimmed lobby, and chandeliers swung from opulent gold-leaf ceilings in what was the most magnificent, 150-room hotel in the entire state of Nevada, ready to receive all of its newly rich patrons as they struck gold in what seemed like endless abundance.
Sadly, as we know now, the mines did eventually run dry of their precious payloads, and like so many other boomtowns, Goldfield became an empty place full of tumbleweeds, abandoned lives, and the ghosts of the vitality it once knew. Many of these places are rumored to be haunted, and what is more attractive to seekers of the supernatural than entire towns that seem as if the inhabitants just up and disappeared one day? Goldfield has its share of stories, and the formerly lavish hotel is the obvious hotspot for tales of woe and wandering spirits.
Visited by several ghost hunting shows and countless independent seekers, the hotel has many stories of suicide and murder, the kind that let the imagination shift into overdrive when it comes to ghosts. Some of the more theatrical visitors claim that it’s a vortex, one of the seven gates to Hell itself. Perhaps the most classic story to come out of the abandoned lodgings is based on actual mining mogul George Wingfield.
Wingfield was a multi-millionaire before he turned 30, and owned several banks in the state of Nevada. By the time the hotel was opened, the young man was worth $30 million. A girl by the name of Elizabeth is said to have come to Wingfield with the accusation that the baby she was carrying was his. When she couldn’t be dissuaded from making this scandal public knowledge, a furious Wingfield chained the girl to a radiator in room 109, and kept her there until the child was born. At this point, the story goes one of two directions. Elizabeth either dies in childbirth still chained inside the room, or ol’ Georgie kills her, but either way, the girl dies an agonizing death, and the child is chucked down a mineshaft located under the hotel. Paranormal enthusiasts claim that the baby’s cries can be heard wailing up through the mineshaft, and that room 109 is freezing cold. Visitors are said to burst into tears for no apparent reason upon entering Elizabeth’s ornate prison, and stories of her sobs being heard occupy several ghost tale websites and message boards.
In reality, the story’s timeline doesn’t jibe, and the majority of the stories are likely all straight from the imagination of 1980s owner Shirley Porter, fabricated in an effort to boost interest in her investment as a haunted location, which was clearly at least partially successful. These days, the legends are actually doing the building more harm than good. Now an official addition to the Nevada State Register of Historic Places, efforts to restore the hotel to its former glory are being thwarted by the constant stream of vandals, urban explorers, and ghost hunters that just can’t seem to leave the Goldfield Hotel alone. If you visit, its keepers ask that you admire the building from a distance, and contain the urge to break in and explore. The faster they’re able to make the building safe, the faster it can be opened up to the curious masses.
If ghosts aren’t your thing, Goldfield is also the location of the International Car Forest of the Last Church, one of those wacky desert art installments one comes across while exploring the vast expanse. Something for everyone!
Know Before You Go
Sits directly on US95 in the heart of the ghost town of Goldfield.