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?