The Palace Hotel – HauntedHouses.com
• The wealthy original owner loves the tedious restoration and renovations finished here.
• Spirits with strong connections come back to visit. Some have stayed.
• “Palace of Sweets” cause painful, guilt-inducing consequences.
The Palace hotel has been described as “A beautifully restored Victorian Hotel in the heart of downtown Port Townsend.”
The Victorian Palace Hotel can be found on the second and third floor of the Captain Tibbals Building, that is a fine example of the architectural Richardson Romanesque style. The first floor is home to a restaurant and bar, with variety of “specialty retailers” located on the first floor, along the street level below the 2nd and 3rd floor of this building…
The Palace Hotel – HauntedHouses.com
The Palace Hotel
1004 Water Street
Port Townsend, WA 98368
(360) 385-0773 * (800) 962-0741
The Palace Hotel is located on the corner of Water Street and Tyler Street, in the heart of historic downtown Port Townsend, along the water front; one block from the ferry dock. Turn left on Tyler Street and park behind the hotel in their parking lot.
The Palace hotel has been described as “A beautifully restored Victorian Hotel in the heart of downtown Port Townsend.”
The Victorian Palace Hotel can be found on the second and third floor of the Captain Tibbals Building, that is a fine example of the architectural Richardson Romanesque style. The first floor is home to a restaurant and bar, with variety of “specialty retailers” located on the first floor, along the street level below the 2nd and 3rd floor of this building.
A unique feature of the outside of this building is that its arched windows look like they “extend for two stories through the use of twin columns that bracket each window bay on the buildings facade”; so says their literature. The windows are stunning!
ALL the guest rooms are named after the “girls” who worked on the second and third floor rooms from 1925 to perhaps 1940/41. In fact, Madam Marie’s lovely corner suite was restored to how she liked it.
The nineteen guest rooms and suites are “uniquely furnished” with antiques and Victorian decor, with most of them having a private bathroom. They have fourteen to fifteen foot ceilings, “Soaring windows” with some rooms having kitchenettes. Some of the rooms have stained-glass skylights.
When we visited Port Townsend in the summer of 2012, they let me wander around the hotel, taking pictures. It is quite an impressive hotel, with ample lobby space on each floor. The decor is lovely, and we felt that we had stepped back into time when Captain Tibbals lived here.
Captain Tibbals, a wealthy, retired seaman who wore a lot of hats in Port Townsend, invested $28,000 to build this grand three story, Victorian Richardson Romanesque style brick building, constructed to last. The construction began in 1887, and opened as billiard parlor and Townsend Tavern, in 1889, with rooms for rent on the 2nd and 3rd floor. There was one bathroom for each floor. Captain Tibbals and his family lived on the second floor.
Because of it’s winning combination of having a solidly built handsome building, that was located in a prime downtown spot, many businesses, legal and one known illegal, made their home here. Eventually, the first floor space was carved into several business spaces to rent to “specialty retailers.” The Call Newspaper moved into one of them during the early 1900s. Over the years, the first floor businesses included The Egyptian Theater, the Northern Pacific offices, a grocery store, a state liquor store, a florist shop, and several restaurants.
During Prohibition through the middle of the Depression, an upfront, well-known brothel and hotel opened up on the second and third floors, earning the nickname, “The Palace of Sweets.” The Madame, of the Palace of Sweets was Marie, who had lovely corner suite on the second floor, that included a fireplace that was the only one in the building. Her room was “richly decorated,” had “plush red wallpaper with deep green woodwork”.
As well as having the traditional outside rooms with windows, buildings that were built in the late 19th century, had four small interior rooms that had no windows, and were lighted by the large, stained-glass stairway skylight. During the Palace of Sweets years, the prostitutes used these interior rooms to service their clients with sensual, erotic activities frowned on by society.
In 1935, the authorities tried to close down the Palace of Sweets with a raid, but other observations by a secretary, whose office was at the end of the 2nd hall floor, suggests that the brothel continued at least until 1940/1941, when World War 2 started. As late as 1940, a bunch of young women were seen by this secretary every day at noon, waiting for the second floor bathroom in their bathrobes, which suggests that the brothel may have still been running, but more underground than before.
Or, it could be that single young women rented rooms here because they worked for other businesses in town. Though, it is fishy that they all gathered together to use the bathroom at noon, suggesting that they all got off work at the same time, which was probably late evening, early morning; the working hours of a prostitute.
Being well-known as a brothel for at least ten years, operations would have to be very carefully planned, to avoid detection by the authorities, who may have been willing to look the other way if the brothel was discreet and subtle. By WWII, however, the brothel would’ve been closed down completely. At the beginning of World War 2, all brothels were ordered closed by the federal government, to help the war effort.
During the 1940s, a regular boarding house/office building came into being, that rented their rooms and main floor to businesses, and to individuals as well. Thirty years later, it was a different story though.
By 1970, the building was a real fixer-upper opportunity. The upper floors were no longer very usable, which meant that the income generated by the businesses on the first floor had to cover the upkeep and expenses for the whole building. The Captain Tibbals Building was sorely in need of a boatload of money for restoration and renovation if it was to become a financially successful building once more.
As The Captain Tibbals building had long been a well-loved icon in Port Townsend, money was successfully raised to finance a “long and tedious restoration” that was started in 1976. This immense restoration and renovation project included renovating and restoring the guest rooms to closely resemble their memorable past in the Victorian Era and the Roaring Twenties.
While the completion of the restoration and renovation of the interior of the hotel was accomplished, in 1977, the restoration and shoring up of the woe-be-gone exterior and foundation was completed in 1984, thanks to a state and federal matching grant. Major foundation repairs as well the long missing sheet metal cornice were restored.
Once again, this glorious building was able to use all of its space to create income for the owners, adding a star to historic Port Townsend’s downtown section. Not only the people from the area and visitors were happy, but also entities that loved the Palace Hotel, or had a strong connection to this place were also very pleased!
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS:
People who work hard at establishing a business, and are very proud of their accomplishments, sometimes like to come back and visit, protect or help the people who are now running their business in their beloved building, especially if the structure was restored and renovated. They also enjoy their memories of this favorite structure.
Captain Tibbals was very happy with his 28,000 dollar Richardson Romanesque style dream building where he could run his own tavern and billiard parlor, and live there as well with his family. His spirit must be tickled pink with the restoration results as well as all the improvements, like fancy bathrooms!
People who have some sort of strong attachment to a structure while alive, sometimes choose to stay or visit there in their after-life.
Entity of a former housekeeper makes a yearly appearance to check up on things.
An Indian female entity; Grouse Woman, was perhaps the wet-nurse/mid-wife whose services were used for:
One of the former owners’ wives, or the pregnant prostitutes and any of their babies who survived.
The boy entity, Adam, once lived there in the building with his mother.
Entity of Male homeless man who used to sleep in the basement still calls the basement his home.
People who experience the consequences of their actions, sometimes suffer a guilt or deep regret that keeps them in this world, still mourning and regretting their misbehavior or mis-step that caused tragic occurrences, sometimes trying to right their mistake that produced so much angst.
The entity of Father Patrick had been asked to do last rites for all of the prostitutes’ babies who died and were buried in the basement floor.
Father Patrick broke his vows and had sex with a prostitute that he fell in love with, saw his child born dead in the basement, and did the last rites for the child, but felt he wasn’t worthy to do so for this little soul, or for any of the other babies who died and were buried in the basement floor.
Not only did he suffer from guilt, but also mourned the prostitute whom he had loved. She may have died too in childbirth, or left him; unable to love him back.
Working as a prostitute or sex worker, came with occupational hazards such as disease, unwanted pregnancies, abortions, childbirth gone wrong, personal misfortune, heart-break or being murdered by a client may have shortened their lives.
The prostitutes who were unable to carry their babies to term because of consequences of their risky occupation, saw their dead babies born and buried in the basement, causing them grief and guilt as well.
At least one of these women may have died with her baby.
Places that recognize and honor past residents or guests who once stayed there, sometimes encourages the spirits of these honored souls to come back and enjoy some of the acclaim, tickled to be remembered in this way in their after-life, that they didn’t always experience while alive.
While “the girls'” clients enjoyed this guilty sensual pleasure, prostitution was looked on as a low-life line of work by general society, that soiled “the girls'” reputations forever in Port Townsend. When the Palace Hotel was restored to its former glory, each guest room was named after one of the many women who worked in the “Palace of Sweets.” Receiving some positive attention and having their names attached to such lovely rooms, must have appeased their restless spirits somewhat. They even appear in their favorite Victorian gown, as spirits can choose to appear however they want to be seen by the living. Because the hotel was restored to its original Victorian decor, they wanted to fit in too; this time enjoying being just unseen or seen residents, who may try to work out their restlessness and hurts, while having some fun as well with the guests!
Living the life of a prostitute was one that didn’t offer much of a future, unless the woman could find a client-turned-boyfriend-turned husband, that would take her away from this low-life profession. When this hope of escape by getting married to someone who truly loves them is crushed by a tragedy, or a change of mind by the beloved husband-to-be, the prostitute was sometimes overcome with hopelessness and either ended her own life, or died of a broken heart.
The entity known as the Lady in a Blue Dress; (perhaps Miss Claire or Katherine) walks the halls, looking for her lost lover, who suddenly disappeared, leaving her broken-hearted.
A female entity, thought to be a prostitute, talked to some investigators through a “talking board,” and told them her name was Betty and she was 39 years old.
Spirits and ghosts have been known to attach themselves to paintings, that they leave to come into the structure where the painting has been hung on the wall.
The entity known as The Lady in a Blue Dress has been seen coming out of her portrait that hangs on the wall.
“If you come here, you might get touched by a ghost and it will startle you, but I don’t want people to think this is a scary place,” says housekeeper manager, Cheryl Heller.
Staff, visitors, and guests have been treated to the following paranormal experiences:
Having “encounters” with solid, life-like female entities dressed in Victorian gowns.
Having the experience of being touched by unseen hands that brush past them as they walk down the hallways of the hotel.
Orbs that are not insects or dust have been captured on film and digital photography and cameras in several places in the hotel.
Known Entities: Entities of Captain Tibbals, Adam, former housekeeper, homeless man, Father Patrick, Claire, Katherine and Betty.
The Second Floor
The Female Entity – Known as: The Woman in a Blue Dress; (Some think that her name is Claire or Katherine.)
Since the 1960s, “The Woman in the Blue Dress” is often seen at top of stairs on the 2nd floor level.
This entity has been seen leaving her portrait that hangs on the wall on the second floor, at the top of the staircase.
Her favorite room is Room 4, and she has fun teasing the living at times.
In the hotel’s “Ghost Files”, an incident was reported and noted.
Guests who were spending the night in Room 4 were startled when the door suddenly “bolted open.” They didn’t disappoint her, and gave the spirit some chuckles as they dashed down to the night manager and reported her behavior promptly.
Other guests have reported dreaming about the Lady in Blue, who likes to appear in people’s dreams.
People sleeping in room 3 or 4 are awakened by strange noises, and have heard a cry or a groan.
Other guests have noticed an aroma of perfume.
Other guests have felt a cold draft from the hall.
They hear a knocking on the door but when they opened the door, no one is there.
One guest claims to have been touched by her.
The Second Floor Lobby:
The Entity of Captain Tibbals
Described as being a benign, happy male presence who likes to stay in this area, where he can observe all the activity, and remember his fond memories.
Female Entity in Room 9: Perhaps a former tenant, or one of “the girls.”
She makes her presence known at times, but no details are given in my sources. I bet some details are in the hotel’s “Ghost Files.”
The Third Floor:
Room 3: A female presence; Perhaps this could be Mrs. Tibbals, some former tenant, or another one of “the girls.”
This female entity likes to stand near the stove, as she has been seen and felt there.
Entity of Betty, thought to be a prostitute.
She talked to some investigators through a “talking board,” and told them her name was Betty and that she was 39 years old.
Entity of a little boy; Perhaps a child of Captain Tibbals, or of a former tenant, or one of the prostitutes’ babies born here that survived a few years.
This friendly little boy, around six to eight years old, told the manager/housekeeper, Cheryl Heller, that his name was Adam.
Adam asked psychic medium Robin where his mother was.
His apparition has been seen throughout the third floor.
Shadow of a person has been seen going down the hallway.
The Basement: A place where the joint was jumpin’.
Entity of Man: Identified as a homeless man who used to sleep here.
Described as a mellow soul, pleased to be able to continue to stay in his favorite place in this world.
Seen by staff member, Susan Euro, who was putting away the Palace Hotel Christmas decorations.
She saw the solid back of a male, described as being bald, wearing a plaid shirt, sitting at the basement work bench. He looked like a real person. He was there one moment, but gone the next. If he was a real person, he would’ve had to walk past her.
The entity of an Indian Woman, with spirit children; (perhaps the spirits of the dead babies or her own kids)
Talked to psychic medium Robin Alexis during the PIHA investigation.
This pleasant, friendly female entity called herself, Grouse Woman, and told Robin that she had died in a fire.
Strong emotional energy of grief and regret is very much apparent; some of it is residual, some of it comes from mourning entities.
Entity of love-sick Father Patrick, full of guilt and in need of forgiveness:
This unhappy spirit confessed his misdeeds to psychic medium Robin Alexis [Bad link]. He failed his vow of chastity, by falling in love with one of the prostitutes, made her pregnant, and then having to minister the last rites to the still-born infant.
After this happened, Father Patrick didn’t feel his services for either live and dead infants were any good because of his own sin. Plus, the prostitute he loved either died with her baby, or left him. He continued to long for her.
Entities of sorrowful prostitutes:
Psychic Robin Alexis [Bad Link] also was overcome by the feeling of great sorrow of the prostitutes who lost their still-born or premature babies, and having to see their little bodies buried in the basement dirt.
Many guests and staff, especially the manager/housekeeper, have all had personal experiences with the friendly spirits. Within The Palace Hotel’s “Ghost Files,” many of these experiences have been shared on paper.
PIHA investigation group, led by Kathy Gavin, president of the Lewis County Historical Museum, assisted by the nonprofit’s founder, Vaughn Hubbard, along with Psychic medium investigator, Robin Alexis [Bad Link], conducted both a psychic and scientific investigation of The Palace Hotel, and got some interesting results.
Psychic medium investigator, Robin Alexis, who has a radio talk show and a Web site on psychic phenomenon, came along with these investigators and was able to connect with some of the spirits, while the PIHA were able to capture hard evidence, including EVPs, etc., that back up conversations Alexis had with the spirits. Fascinating stuff!
A “Big Yes Indeed” is in order, with one exception. When Psychic medium Robin Alexis was able call on a higher power, Jesus, and sought the help from other spirit priests who had crossed over, the tortured soul of Father Patrick found peace from his guilt, and forgiveness for his wrong-doing. Consequently, Father Patrick became unstuck, and was able to pass over, and leave the basement.
Even though Father Patrick was released, other spirits, maybe as many as ten, still call The Palace Hotel their home or favorite place to visit.
Ghost Hunter’s Guide to Seattle and Puget Sound
By Jeff Dwyer
Pelican Publishing Company
Palace Hotel web site History Page * “A host of ghosts? Port Angeles woman, others probe paranormal activity in old Port Townsend hotel,” by Jennifer Jackson for Peninsula Daily News online
“On Halloween and other days, specters lurk in places throughout Peninsula,” by Arwyn Rice for Peninsula Daily News online
Palace Hotel page on Yelp! * PIHA – Ghost of the Historic “The Palace Hotel”, Port Townsend, WA – on the Internet Archive
“‘Lady in Blue’ said to wander hotel’s halls,” by Jeff Chew for Peninsula Daily News on KOMO News.com * “PIHA Investigates the Historic Palace Hotel,” on StrangeUSA.com