AUSTIN, Texas — Austinites looking to take a haunted staycation this Halloween can visit Austin's very own Driskill Hotel. The Driskill Hotel recently ranked No. 1 on Yelp's Top 15 Haunted Hotels in Texas list.
The hotel is located on the corner of Sixth and Brazos streets. Though Great American Life Insurance began restoring the hotel back in 1995, the roots of the hotel date back as far as the 1880s.
The original owner, Col. Jessie Driskill, purchased the lot on which the hotel currently stands in 1884 for $7,500.
According to the Driskill's timeline, in January 1887, "Less than two weeks after the grand opening, The Driskill [hosted] its first inaugural ball for newly elected Texas Gov. Sul Ross."
This ball would set the tone for the elite people and parties that would soon pass through the hotel's doors.
Former President Lyndon B. Johnson met future wife Lady Bird for their first date at the Driskill in September 1934. In 1964, Johnson received news he was re-elected for president in the Jim Hogg Suite at the hotel. After his presidency, the fifth-floor Governor's Suite became permanently reserved for the former president.
Col. Driskill passed away in 1890 and the hotel went through numerous owners until it was acquired by Hyatt Hotels and Resorts in 2013. However, the hotel's extensive history does not come without haunted rumors.
Yelp identified The Driskill Hotel among other Texas hotels as "haunted" by categorizing reviews that mention relevant keywords, then ranked them by volume and ratings of reviews.
According to another KVUE report, some guests believe the hotel is haunted by Col. Driskill's spirit and the ghost of other people who have died in the hotel since its opening.
"He was known as an avid cigar smoker, and at times guest report the smell of cigar smoke despite the fact the hotel has been smoke-free for several years," the article says.
Others say the spirit of a little girl also lives within the walls of The Driskill Hotel. Four-year-old Samantha Houston, the daughter of a Texas senator, was chasing her ball before she fell to her death on the hotel's grand staircase back in 1887.
Some say they can still hear her laughing and bouncing the ball near the staircase.
Although most of the hauntings seem to take place on the fourth floor, Austin Monthly says there is a haunted suite on the fifth floor as well. A soon-to-be bride took her own life in Room 525 after her fiancée called off their wedding. Rumor has it, she walks the halls in the same Victorian gown she died in.
In 1991, another bride took her own life in the same suite. The bride was last seen carrying bags into room 525 before she shot herself while sitting in the bathtub later that same night.
"Since then, Driskill guests have claimed to see her carrying packages or a pistol down the hall before she vanishes into Room 525 without ever opening the door," the article said.
The Driskill Hotel made Yelp's most haunted list for the second year in a row because the scary myths living within its walls continue to attract guest seeking to discover if the legends are real.
The full list:
- The Driskill - Austin
- The Emily Morgan San Antonio - a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel - San Antonio
- Menger Hotel - San Antonio
- The Tremont House - Galveston
- Miss Molly's Hotel - Fort Worth
- Jefferson Hotel - Jefferson
- The St. Anthony, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Antonio - San Antonio
- The Adolphus, Autograph Collection - Dallas
- The Faust Hotel - New Braunfels
- Drury Plaza Hotel Riverwalk - San Antonio - San Antonio
- The Crockett Hotel - San Antonio
- Holland Hotel - Alpine
- Hotel ICON, Autograph Collection - Houston
- Olle Hotel - Flatonia
- Stockyards Hotel - Fort Worth
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