The History of the Stanley Hotel

The Stanley Hotel sits grandly in the Estes Valley, a valley rich in history since the 1800s. Tourists visiting the majestic Rocky Mountains, Lake Estes and the resort town of Estes Park in Colorado often stay overnight at the Stanley Hotel.  The hotel and its surrounding structures are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Freelan Oscar Stanley was an American inventor, entrepreneur, hotelier and architect. He made his fortune in the manufacture of photographic plates, but he is best remembered as the co-founder, along with his twin brother Francis Edgar Stanley, of the Stanley Motor Carriage Company which built steam-powered automobiles until 1920. He also built and worked at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado.

Photos from Stanley Hotel Nick Groff Tour Event

Freelan Oscar Stanley, known for the Stanley Steamer among his many other companies, and his wife Flora came to the valley in 1903 from the East Coast.  He had been diagnosed with tuberculosis and given only months to live.  However, the mountain air and climate of the valley improved his health.  His summer home soon became a desire to turn the valley into a resort town which would cater to his wealthy social friends from Massachusetts.

The Stanley Hotel opened in 1909 and featured a music room where Flora played piano, a smoking lounge and a billiard room for Stanley and his male guests.  A bowling alley, concert hall, a smaller hotel once called Stanley Manor and other contributing buildings were eventually built on the large acreage.    Freeman died in 1940, a year following the death of Flora in 1939.

As the years passed, “events” happened in the hotel bar, MacGregor Dining Room, guest rooms, concert hall, billiard room and hallways.  In 1974, Stephen King, the author, and his wife were on vacation and were the sole guests at the hotel as it was closing for the winter season.  They stayed in Room 217.  His frightening experience became the background for his novel “The Shining”.

The Stanley Hotel has had 26 owners over the years, but the hauntings of the hotel only get more intriguing. Guests report seeing children giggling, running and playing on the 4th floor.  The spirits of the Stanley are actively seen and heard with Flora playing piano and Freeman in the lobby office area and playing pool in the billiard room.  

Haunted Stories Interview with Nick Groff from Stanley Hotel, March 2016

Why does Mrs. Wilson, a housekeeper, return to Room 217?
Who is the cowboy who returns to Room 428?
Why does Mr. MacGregor, a local rancher, lawyer and hero return to the Dining Room?
Who is Eddie, the “Stinky Man” who likes to play pranks on female guests? What is the vortex?  How was it created?

A visit to the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park is an adventure!  Will you experience the spirits of those who lived and worked at the Stanley Hotel?  

Is there paranormal activity?  Review the evidence from my investigation or just visit the Stanley Hotel and you decide.  “It’s about to get real.”