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Visions Paranormal Society Blog – The Geiser Grand Hote

The subject of this week’s blog is a historical location very near and dear to my heart, the Geiser Grand in Baker City, Oregon. I had visited and stayed there numerous times before, but the sentimental value increased May of last year when my husband Jerry and I were married there in the library on the second floor. We both consider the 

Geiser Grand our “home away from home.” The history of this amazing location began in 1889 when merchants Jake and Henry Warshauer opened the Warshauer Hotel. Czechoslovakian architect John Beenes incorporated Italianate Victorian architecture into the building. No expense was spared making this the most luxurious hotel between Salt Lake City and Portland. In 1895 the hotel was purchased by John Geiser and his son Albert, aptly renaming the hotel the Geiser Grand. The Geiser family owned and operated the Bonanza mine and saw mill in the mountains near Baker City. The two men had made their money at the mine and were looking to build a secure business in Baker City. Albert became the hotel manager and quickly found his calling. The interior was then updated with the very latest in modern conveniences and luxuries. With the convenience of the nearby 

railroad, the hotel became a huge draw for both new and old money ranging from mine or logging owners to cattle barons, ranchers and politicians. New money as well as the locals enjoyed the Geiser Grand a place to conduct business and celebrate afterwards. With the exceptional restaurant and saloon in the building, a bordello was then established on the third floor. Gentlemen were brought in through a secret passageway into the basement wine cellar. Still today the large window-like doors opening up to the now filled-in passageway remain. When the mining played itself out around 1910, businessmen and world travelers kept the economy going in Baker City. It is said that during prohibition the Geiser Grand was the place to 

go for a party. Local historians also give slight mention to some mob involvement bringing illegal liquor into the hotel, but all of that ended in the 1940’s. After the depression, the dwindling business fell into disrepair. In 1968 the cast of the movie “Paint Your Wagon” stayed at the hotel. Upon their checking out, the once magnificent hotel was shut down and boarded up. Over the years the hotel became damaged from neglect. some of the ceilings and walls collapsed leaving behind extensive water damage and families of pigeons. There had been talk of demolishing the empty hotel to make room for more downtown parking. It was nothing but a shell of its former self, and many locals were saddened to see the demise of such a once magnificent landmark. Locals I spoke with compared it to watching a family member die slowly in front of your eyes. The Geiser Grand was less than thirty days from becoming a parking lot when Barbara Sidway and her husband came into Baker City and fell in love with the hotel. They had previous experience in breathing life back into historical treasures, but even this one seemed overwhelmingly daunting. In the early 1990’s the Sidways purchased the Geiser Grand Hotel and began their immense eight million dollar renovation. Using what original designs and remnants that remained along with skillful and compassionate workers, the Sidways brought back the Geiser Grand to her elegant former self. In 1998 the hotel was reopened to the delight of the locals in Baker City. The opulent hotel was reborn through a massive labor of love through the Sidways and the Baker City locals. The opulent hotel rich in history boasted the elegant 

mahogany millwork, fine linens, and spectacular stained glass sky light and once again took everyone’s breath away. The extensive renovation earned the Geiser Grand the National Trust Award for Historical Preservations Coveted Honor Award for Excellence. Despite the exciting rebirth of the Geiser Grand, reports by staff and locals of unusual occurrences began to resurface. Although odd occurrences seemed to happen in various areas of the hotel, the majority of the odd occurrences took place on the third floor. Locals tell of unusual things happening even before the closure of the hotel. Many of the staff as well as guests report the sounds of a large party at night, objects moving, doors opening and closing, and seeing people in turn-of-the-century clothing. The most famous ghost in the hotel is the Lady in Blue. She is reportedly a beautiful woman dressed in a long lavender dress, sometimes solid, sometimes transparent. Some report that she resembles a Gibson girl from the early 1900’s. She has been seen walking up and down the halls on the third floor and walking up and down the grand staircase. Although her actual identity is unknown, she is believed to be the girlfriend of a cowboy who was shot and killed. I have stayed there 

numerous times and yes I have had some unexplained things happen. There is no negative energy there, just pieces of time replaying themselves on occasion. The atmosphere is warm and inviting. You feel as if you are family there. It is easy to get swept back in time the moment you step through the big double doors upon entering the hotel. The beautiful mahogany pillars and old photos greet you as you enter the front desk area. You feel as if you have stepped back in time and the staff are wonderful. Speaking of which, if you visit there on a Saturday, be sure to take the “Step Back in Time Tour.” You will NOT be disappointed! You would need to call the front desk for information regarding the tour. Please take the time to visit this AMAZING historical treasure. Have a wonderful week.  ~Deborah – Case Manager/Founder

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