Haunted downtown Houston

Locktopia Escape Room Houston

In the past, we told you about the top 5 haunted Houston buildings which included the downtown locations of Spaghetti Warehouse, La Carafe and the Julia Ideson Building on the list.

Now, Jeffrey, our giant skull in our Spellcaster room, wants us to focus on creepy and haunted downtown Houston locations which also happens to be the oldest spot in the city.

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Now that the shameless plug is over, let’s get to our Top 5 haunted downtown Houston locations. BOO! Sorry, just getting you ready.

THE RICE HOTEL (NOW THE RICE APARTMENTS)

909 Texas Avenue at Main

At one time, it was one of the most luxurious hotels in Texas. In fact, President John F. Kennedy stayed at The Rice before he was assassinated in Dallas in November 1963. As a result, Visit Houston writes that cold spots, rattling doors/beds, orbs of light and a presence are felt in JFK’s room. Ghost dancers that previously danced in the old Crystal Ballroom, now dance on the renovated property’s rooftop.

That is not the only dark moment for this address. The last president of the Republic of Texas, Anson Jones, committed suicide there in 1858 in the old version of the hotel which had previously served as the capitol building for Texas.

The hotel was named for William Marsh Rice, Rice University’s founder, who built one version of the hotel, which was later torn down and rebuilt as we know it today by Jesse H. Jones. The Jones family owned radio stations 740 KTRH and 101 KLOL which were later located there. Now lofts, the building houses many reported ghostly sightings and happenings.

MINUTE MAID PARK

The Houston Astros keep Minute Maid Park a very lively place with their championship rings, but the hallowed baseball grounds contain much history.

Before becoming a very popular ballpark, the stadium was home to a train depot called Union Station. Prior to Minute Maid having a sponsored name, it was called The Ballpark at Union Station for a brief time before the more ghastly name of Enron Field was purchased.

Long ahead of the tracks being laid for Union Station, a neighborhood known as Quality Hill sat in these parts. I know, a hill in Houston, is not scary, but actually funny if you know how flat it really is around here. However, there are some haunted downtown Houston stories still around with even the Astros hosting a ghost tour showing the creepy effects of this very old neighborhood’s life being cut short by the need for rail.

ESPERSON BUILDINGS

808 Travis Street

Oil money is splattered across the Houston skyline and the Italian Renaissance-inspired Esperson Buildings hold a special place in many architectural lover’s hearts. Love helped Mellie Esperson build the two buildings for her oil tycoon husband Niels back in the early part of the 20th century. Mellie still apparently loves the building and is there long after her death as stories of strange elevator incidents and sightings of her apparition are still popular haunted downtown Houston ghost stories to this day.

DEAN’S DOWNTOWN

316 Main Street

The Prohibition era might scare many modern-day Houstonians, but it leads us to our next haunted Houston location at the Dean’s Downtown bar.

Legend has it, that the Dean’s building has the oldest elevator in Texas. Well, when you get history like that, you probably get more chances of ghosts. In fact, the elevator operator, who might have been there while the location was allegedly a speakeasy, seems to still be working to this day. The ghostly operator appears in the mirror and is reportedly bothered by guests who don’t know the password from the days when you had to sneak a drink. If I were the owner of Dean’s today, then I would hope the password is “I’ll have another.”

By the way, besides the speakeasy part, the building housed Dean’s Credit Clothing Store hence the current name.

BATTELSTEIN’S

618 Main Street

Battelstein’s was a fancy department store founded in Houston in the early 1900s and competed with the likes of other famous stores such as Foley’s and Sakowitz’s.

The explosive growth of Houston helped fuel Battelstein’s customer base and the downtown store eventually expanded to River Oaks and Sharpstown. As with the other mentioned shopping brands, things changed and eventually, the battle for shoppers was over for the store in 1981.

Now for the eerie part. While you never hear of the Battelstein’s as a haunted downtown Houston spot, it had an eerie life long after the clothes racks were empty. Like a creepy time capsule, the Battelstein’s building sat empty in the middle of downtown Houston for decades slowly rotting away. Urban explorers went inside in 2010 and photographed the haunting evidence.

Houston real estate blog, Swamplot, who unfortunately has died since then, reported in 2018 that neighbor JW Marriott Hotel Downtown Houston purchased the building.

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