Ben Lomond Historic Suites
(The Bigalow Hotel) – HauntedHouses.com
• This is the place of a variety of deaths which have resulted in active manifestations.
• There are signs of past spectral employees still doing their jobs at the hotel.
This 1927 Italian Renaissance Revival style, 13 floor grand hotel made of sandstone and yellow brick, is the largest in the city of Ogden, and is considered to be one of the three grandest hotels in Utah. It sits on 1.6 acres, straddling the corner lot, and is seen all the way down 25th street to the railroad station…
Ben Lomond Historic Suites
(The Bigalow Hotel) – HauntedHouses.com
2510 Washington Blvd.
Ogden, Utah 84401
This grand hotel is located on the southeast corner of Washington Blvd. and 25th street, that runs straight down to the railroad station.
This 1927 Italian Renaissance Revival style, 13 floor grand hotel made of sandstone and yellow brick, is the largest in the city of Ogden, and is considered to be one of the three grandest hotels in Utah. It sits on 1.6 acres, straddling the corner lot, and is seen all the way down 25th street to the railroad station.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t restored to its original splendor because of the prohibitive cost to do so, but has been updated for the modern guest that has kept her doors open. The modern renovations were done before it was placed on the National Registrar of Historic Places in 1990. It was done by private dollars, with no help from any preservation group or state grant.
Tom and I were disappointed by the modernization of the lobby, and the cheap, 1980s doors that were found on the guest rooms, but still saw traces of its original artistic treasures, such as the ceiling on the first floor, and the wonderful wooden bar in their bar/cafe area. Some of the other floors and all the ceilings were restored. Crystal Ballroom is still very stunning, with its crystal chandeliers. The elevator has its original decor, which is wonderful. The outside has been beautifully maintained in its original terra-cotta style, that is highly ornamented, especially on the sides that face 25th Street. Fancy dentils are along the top, and the elaborate brickwork is beautiful too. Restoring the outside of this hotel must of been expensive, but they did a beautiful job.
Their bar/cafe that sits right on the intersection corner, serves beer on draft and has wonderful food. We spent one night and enjoyed their warm hospitality, a comfortable bed, a sitting room, and other amenities. Furniture in the room was modern, but comfortable. The room was very nice and quiet.
Ben Lomond Historic Suites building was built by Hodgson & McClenahan who drew plans for this grand lady. When it opened in 1927, it was called The Bigalow; named for local banker Archie P. Bigelow. It was built on the site of another five-story hotel, The Reed Hotel; (1891). The Bigalow was the dream project of businessman A. Peery, who formed a corporation with 300 shareholders to cover the $1,250,000 price tag for this artistic, grandiose symbol of the influx of wealth that the city of Ogden had been blessed with in the 1920s’.
Each public room had a different theme, with a decor to match. The coffee shop was given an Arabic-style decor. The Palace Ballroom was Florentine.
The Business Club Room had a Spanish design. The English Room was wood-paneled; inspired by a room in Bromley Castle. The Shakespeare Room had the jewel of the hotel decor-wise; murals painted by local artist, LeConte Stewart. LeConte was a well-known Mormon artist who excelled in painting landscapes of Utah.
One year after it’s 1928 opening, The Bigalow Hotel was chosen to host the Western Democrats convention, where Alfred E. Smith became the candidate. It was covered in the October 3rd, 1927 issue of Time.
After the market crash in 1929, rich guests dwindled, and parts of the hotel wound up being used for long term stays; boarding at a lower price. Uh oh! What a drop in class this was after starting off on such a high note. This brought in the criminal element, who found a use for the tunnel that was built underground; running from The Bigalow, down 25th Street to the railroad station.
In 19th century American towns, an underground tunnel was often built so commercial and business traffic could continue, even during inclement weather. ( SHANGHAI Tunnels – Portland, OR * City of Prescott * City of Butte * City of Minneapolis * Baker City ). While legal goods and upstanding citizens from the train were brought up the tunnel to the hotel during the day, drugs, alcohol and prostitutes were brought into the hotel through this tunnel during the evening hours. Illegal activities also took place in the tunnel.
In 1933, The Bigalow was saved from further ruin by one rich Mormon. Marriner S. Eccles bought the Bigelow Hotel and renamed it The Ben Lomond Hotel; cracking down on the illegal activity. The Ben Lomond Hotel served its guests through the 1930s, ’40s, ’50s, ’60s and up to the early 1970s, when a new recession began. The upkeep of this hotel suffered due to declining revenue over the years. It is a truth that historic buildings need a generous upkeep fund. This resulted in its closing as a hotel.
The Ben Lomond Hotel had become a fixer-upper opportunity that needed a boatload of money to remain a hotel. It stopped being a hotel in the mid-seventies, and was used for a variety of purposes, including offices. This means that some of the rooms were renovated to attract a different clientele; people wanting office space. This didn’t last for long, for the amount of money that was coming in didn’t go far, and a lot more income was needed to do the much needed renovations.
In the 1980s, The Ben Lomond Hotel was put up for sale on the real estate market, but no one rich enough was eager to buy it. City officials and developers were pushing for its date with the wrecking ball, because it sat on a valuable piece of property, and was an eyesore that no one wanted. This was in their history, to tear down old buildings for something new. The 1891 Reed Hotel was torn down in 1926 to make room for The Bigalow Hotel.
In 1985, Ben Lomond Hotel was saved from destruction by the Radisson Corp., a large hotel chain that was willing to put this grand old lady back into the hotel business, which fits the history of this hotel. The original hotel, The Bigalow was built by a corporation of 300 investors. Radisson Corp took control and completed a massive remodel. They did some modern renovations, which included taking the hotel’s 350 rooms and converting them to 120 + suites. Thanks to the efforts of the Radisson Corp., The Ben Lomond Hotel reopened as an upscale hotel once more; now called The Ben Lomond Historic Suites.
While the Radisson Corp saved the hotel from destruction, and gave it another life, they also removed some of the original decor like the wood-paneling, painting over or covering some of the woodwork, removed some tile floors and painted over the once fabulous murals. The original 1927 building cost was $1,250,000. It would’ve cost quite a lot more to restore it to its former glory. So, it is also understandable that they also cut corners, like using less-than-classy doors for the rooms.
Some of the original crystal chandeliers still remain, and a few of its historic decor treasures are still visible; little fountains, cherubs, and other artistic endeavors. These are featured on their u-tube sales promotion, perhaps aiming at potential guests who love historical buildings.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS:
People who die at their own hand, often find out too late that their death didn’t bring peace, or make them escape their despair and hopelessness. The 11th floor of the Ben Lomond Historic Suites has long attracted vulnerable people who are in fragile, emotional and mental conditions. The 11th floor is the place of three suicides, one death from a broken heart and an accidental, preventable death. These incidents resulted in some active manifestations.
Hearing or reading devastating news about financial issues, pending failure, pending death or incarceration can push people to their breaking point, causing them to kill themselves in hopelessness and despair.
Two brothers who were badly in need of some mental health care, jumped out the windows to their deaths below. Perhaps they lost all their money in the 1929 crash.
A devastating loss of a family member, the rejection or loss of one’s beloved can also trigger mental issues that cause a suicide.
A prominent female citizen lived in the hotel during WWI. While waiting for her son’s scheduled return from the war front, she came to stay on the 11th floor. While her son survived the war, he was killed in a train accident coming home. This tragedy caused his mother so much heart-break, that she went over the edge mentally, and self-destructed. She stopped eating and wasted away, dying of malnutrition in her hotel room.
Accidental deaths that could’ve been prevented if the victim was thinking clearly often cause hauntings.
A second time around bride who probably got married or was scheduled to do so at this hotel, drowned in the bathtub in room 1102.
How could this happen? She apparently was alone in the suite, or else she would’ve been rescued in time.
Scenario 1: Perhaps she had an epileptic fit, and drowned that way, when her new husband was out, or before she was married. (The Hartford Twain House)
Scenario 2: Her death could be related to drinking. Alcohol and a hot bath don’t mix. Why would she probably be drinking so heavily?
Perhaps she was a bride-to-be, and it was the night before she was to be married in the hotel. Perhaps she drank a lot to calm her nerves, before taking an ill-fated bath where she fell asleep and drowned.
Perhaps she was stood up; (Hotel Adolphus), or they had a huge fight afterward (Plains Hotel * Pittsburgh Playhouse). She may have been drowning her sorrows in alcohol, and was very drunk when she stepped into the bath tub, where she drowned.
In this case, the female accident victim’s death also was the trigger of a second death by suicide.
Her son; (not her fiancé or husband; hmmm), came to clean out her belongings. Overcome with grief, he jumped out one of the very convenient windows found in the hallway outside his room, 1101.
Employees who enjoyed their job while alive, sometimes aren’t willing to quit their job just yet, despite being dead.
On hauntedhouses.com website, many employees of various hotels are still working there though not on the payroll.
There are signs of past employees still doing their jobs at the hotel.
The elevator has a mind of its own, suggesting that a past employee could be running the elevator.
A personal experience of a guest – She went onto the elevator, and got some unexpected service from an unseen presence that she felt but could not see.
Five spirits haunt the exclusive 11th floor, making it a hotbed of activity. 1101, 1102 and 1106 are the most haunted rooms, but are on a locked hallway, not accessible to the general public but only to those given a key to a room in that hallway. We were lucky in that one of these guests offered to let us inside the hallway, and we were able to get photos of the outside architecture, these infamous windows and the hallway and the rooms.
The spirits of two brothers, in need of some mental health care.
Disembodied voices are heard in their old room, 1106, and apparitions are also seen there by guests and staff.
The spirit of the devastated mother
Phone calls to the main desk often come from her room, when no one living is in the room.
A disembodied voice is heard, and her apparition has been seen as well.
Rooms 1101 & 1102 – In these two rooms, their souls are still tormented. Disembodied voices, actual sightings of their apparitions and personal experiences are reported by guests and staff who clean these rooms.
The spirit of the accidental death victim – the bride – 1102
People who stay in this room report that the bath tub will start running by itself, attempting to fill up. She is still trying to complete her bath, or doomed to relive her death.
People have been pushed in this room.
The spirit of her despondent son – 1101
He has been both seen and felt wandering around the room, still distraught. He perhaps visits his mother in 1102, as two spirit voices have been heard on occasion.
Over the years, many people, both guests and staff have had many experiences on this floor, and in the elevator. The hotel has locked this part of the 11th floor for not only the privacy of the living people who stay in these rooms, but to keep out those who may upset their already tormented spirit people, who are still technically guests of the hotel.
At one time, ghost hunters and paranormal groups flocked to this hotel as it was an international draw, but as of today, no one is allowed in to investigate for good reason. There was hard evidence captured, but it hasn’t been made public on line.
A big YES INDEED! The hotel has locked this part of the 11th floor for several reasons. It keeps out the people looking for a place to jump, the looky-loos wanting to see where the suicides happened, and wily ghost hunters as well. It keeps this area private for the people who can afford these suites and the spirits who stay here as well.
These unhappy spirit people are stuck without some intervention by a medium who could help them be released from their torment.
The Ghost Hunter’s Field Guide
by Rich Newman