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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Convention at The Monte V



Strategically established along Route 66 (I-40) between the majestic Grand Canyon and the multihued badlands of the Painted Desert, Flagstaff Arizona continually attracts the interest and respite of both tourists and businesses, present and past while offering more than a few noteworthy attractions of its own.  

For instance the Lowell Observatory (Anyone remember Pluto?) for the best star-gazing seat in the world’s first international dark-sky city, or camping in North America’s largest ponderosa pine forest. Graciously provided are some of the coziest B&Bs and finest hotels, as well as state-of-the-art facilities for trade shows and conventions such as the (on-going) one at the Hotel Monte Vista. You might even say there’s a relatively modern-day ghost convention in progress.

Courtesy of NAU
Opening New Years’ Day of 1927, it was instantly popular and locals coined the phrase “Meet me at the Monte V”. The very first year in operation the hotel hosted a daily three-hour radio program by Mary Costigan in room 105, and in addition to the usual assortment of ordinary gunslingers, gamblers and drunken brawls, went on to host such celebrities as John Wayne, Bing Cosby and Harry Truman. 

Incidentally, John Wayne was one of the first guests (1950) to report a benevolent ‘presence’ in his room. Back then staff members wouldn’t have suspected the ghost of the hapless young gunman who’d been shot while robbing a nearby bank (1970’s) and stopped by the Monte V for a celebratory sip before succumbing to his injury there on the floor of the Lounge. Now many years later, staff members generally believe it is the gunman’s voice that greets “Hello” when the bar opens each day. 

Since no one has ever been on the line, it’s difficult to say who might ring the Lobby phone at odd hours of the day. But staff will readily tell you that guests of the Zane Grey room have been awakened in the night to the sound of knocking at the door and someone announcing “Room Service” only to find the hallway empty.  In fact the staff is reluctant to allow pets in this room because dogs tend to go nuts with fear and tear the place to shreds. 

Band music can often be heard in the second floor lobby, without benefit of a band and a long-term boarder in room 220 (1980’s) seems to have extended his stay and refuses to leave clean sheets on the bed, though he no longer hangs raw meat from his chandelier.  (Gads!)

Of course there are the usual suspects, such as the woman in a rocker near a third floor window who will drag the rocker back to the window if it is moved away and the two painted ladies (not to be confused with butterflies—ha!) who are fond of giving guests of the Gary Cooper room the heebie-jeebies. 

The Hotel Monte Vista is on the National Registry of Historic Places and is the longest publicly held commercial hotel in the history of America.

Until now I hadn’t considered the idea of ghosts from my own lifetime—Hey, don’t I know you?—seems like it might be scarier than never having known the time or place—or ghost. What do you think?

14 comments:

  1. I see Sawdust in your sidebar. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! If you want to do a promo post on my blog, email me and we can set something up. :)

    The Hotel Monte Vista sounds like a neat historical person. I want to be there when a ghost calls. lol

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  2. Thanks, Chrys :-) Bless your heart, I will email you!
    Ha! I can picture myself scrambling for the phone, too - just in case...;-) But I'd stay clear of room 220 - no matter what he ordered!

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  3. I think it would definitely be a stronger experience to "know" the ghost from their lifetime.
    Life & Faith in Caneyhead

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    1. Oh, absolutely! It might even diminish some of the mystique; knowing what might be bugging that troubled soul ;-)

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  4. Hi, dear Diedre! Please forgive me for not subscribing sooner. I am here now and glad that I came.

    Exactly one year ago Mrs Shady and I were visiting Flagstaff, Arizona, in the middle of a cross country vacation trip to California. We flew from our Florida home to El Paso, stayed there a couple of days and saw Carlsbad Caverns, then continued our journey, heading "North By Northwest" past the VLA Radio Astronomy Observatory. Next we entered Arizona, drove by Winslow, the town made famous in the Eagles song "Take It Easy," and finally reached our next destination, Flagstaff. We fell in love with the town, learned that it boasts not four but five seasons of weather, drove around the community and along Route 66. I regret that we did not stay at the historic (and apparently haunted) Hotel Monte Vista. I would love to stay at a hotel believed inhabited by ghosts. However, I think I'd rather not have known them in life.

    To finish my story, we stayed in Flagstaff a couple of days, visited the Grand Canyon, and continued on past Phoenix and through the desert over to San Diego to visit family. On the return trip we drove through the desert to Tuscon and stayed there a couple of days before flying back to Florida.

    We hope to get out to Arizona again someday because we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves both in the mountains and in the deserts.

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    1. Well, hello there Shady! I've never been to Carlsbad but it's on my list! Our trip was much like yours as we left a campsite near Morman lake and followed 66 (as much as possible) just for kicks (ha!) through Flagstaff, Meteor Crater, Winslow, Painted desert and Petrified Forest before bumping down for one last quiet week in the pines. Final destination was Tucson, where we were born, braised and raised! Incidentally, if you enjoyed the caverns you may enjoy Kartchner Caverns, just outside of Tucson! We'll show ya around:-)

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    2. Thanks, Diedre! We'll keep Kartchner Caverns in mind and you be sure to see Carlsbad if you get the chance. It's an awesome experience. (Take a sweater.) While in Tuscon we drove through Saguaro National Park and went inside the visitors center and watched their film. Through their large picture windows we saw a pack of javelina taking a midday nap in the shade outside the building. :)

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    3. Ha! Javelina leave nose prints on our windows - right next to those of our dogs and tortoise!

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  5. Sounds like a place with a lot of character - literally!

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    1. Ha! that it is :-) Good to see you, Nick!

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  6. Goodness, Diedre! Are you compiling all of this for a book? Because like, seriously. There's a clear market. And ghosts from my lifetime? Um, I'll try not to think about that? But I do have a couple of ghost stories lined up for novels if you can believe that. For some reason, my own stories never scare me. Don't know why that is...

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    1. Oh, dear Quanie, you're so sweet! I guess it's just me writing about what interests me - strange as that may be sometimes... It's not at all difficult to imagine you writing a ghost story! Perhaps it's not so scary because you already know the ending.
      However that doesn't explain me wanting to hide in a cracker box after watching "It" on cable, though I've already read the book - ha!

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  7. I'm not familiar with this hotel. Though I've stayed in Flagstaff many times I don't know much about the city itself. I don't think I'll be staying at the Monte Vista anytime soon--at least not if my wife has anything to say about it.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Ha! Your wife would not be the only one, Lee! If not for the Lobby phone, I don't think I'd even go in! Though it really is a decent place.:-)

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