When I create a day trip plan, I like to select one primary place to visit, then build around that site. The location I really wanted to see was the Historic Ott Hotel in Downtown Liberty, TX.
The Ott Hotel was opened in 1928 by John and Sallie Ott, but was originally named the Drummer Hotel. “Drummer” was a term used to refer to the traveling salesmen of the time. The name referred to the drums of goods the salesmen would bring with them for sale, and because they were there to “drum up” business for their company. The salesmen were some of the patrons that would unload from the train depot across the street and needed a place to stay while in town. The Ott Hotel was originally intended as a “flop house,” a place for travelers to spend a night and move on. It originally had 50 rooms to let, but is now primarily the Ott Apartments, with only 5 rooms serving as hotel rooms.
The hotel is now owned by Kelly and Susan McCain. They purchased the hotel in 2002 and rejuvenated the run-down building. The Ott Hotel is now an official Historic Landmark.
The hotel is well-known for its ghostly occupants. The residents’ experiences have been typed up and hang on the wall for visitors to read. The most famous tale attached to the explanation of the hauntings involves a young couple having an affair at the hotel. The woman’s husband found out about the affair and went to the hotel to confront the lovers. The husband and wife had an argument and they were both shot dead in the upstairs hallway. Residents have reported seeing a tall, dark figure that matches the description of the husband in the fatal tale.
This was a fairly spontaneous trip, so I didn’t have much time to make formal arrangements with the hotel owners. Just in case, I called on Friday to let them know I was visiting on Saturday, and ask if anyone would be available to speak with. The owner told me there would be no staff on Saturday, because they had other plans, but the hotel would be open if I wanted to come in to look around. She does give private tours, but reservations need to be made in advance.
After lunch at Jax Hamburgers, the family and I walked the two blocks over to the Ott Hotel. They played around a Gazebo next to the Liberty Courthouse, and I strolled over to the hotel. (After taking a good look at the Liberty Opry – beautiful!)
The hotel itself certainly looks its age. There were older cars parked around it, and even an old truck with junk in the bed. The porch and exterior of the hotel looked tidy. Given this was built as a “flop house” for the railroad, it was never intended to be fancy accommodations. It still has that feel as you approach the building. Not run-down, just not a luxury hotel. The front door was wide open. I entered into the tiny foyer and was immediately startled by the mannequin staged at the front desk. Yeah, that was creepy.
When you visit the Ott Hotel on a spontaneous trip, you really have only a small area to check out; the front desk area and the downstairs hallway. There is a hallway to the upstairs, but since there are apartments here I didn’t want to disrespect tenants but creeping around without an escort. A dining room is located behind the front desk, but that was closed off today. It is likely where they host the their ghost tour attendees.
I was amused to discover I was not the only paranormal sightseer that popped in on a whim. Another woman drove by, recognized the name of the building, and parked to come in and take pictures. She and I spoke about the property and walked down the single main floor hallway. There were articles, artwork, and ghost stories framed and hung on the interior walls. By the way, the interior walls of the entire hotel are painted… bright pink. Bright, garish pink. Is that an official historical society color from the 1920s?
Did I get a personal sense that the building was haunted? Not really, it just felt really old to me; however, I might feel differently if I had to spend the night there myself. I’m not a paranormal investigator, or profess to be sensitive in any way, but I am mesmerized by historical buildings. Haunted buildings usually mean the building has a story, and I adore hearing the history of a building, then seeing it for myself.
Across the street is the train depot that used to drop off passengers to Liberty. Those passengers would then walk over to the Ott Hotel and check-in for the evening. It’s wonderful to see both places still in operation today.
Website: Haunted Ott Hotel Facebook Page
Reservations: Call 936-336-3832. There are only 5 rooms available and book quickly, so plan your overnight stay ahead of time.
Tours: You will need to call ahead if you’d like a private tour. Ask for Susan to schedule a tour. They prefer two weeks notice and charge $10 per person.
October 29, 2016 – Ghosts and Goblins Bash