DE SOTO HOUSE
March 26, 2011
March 26, 2011
The DeSoto House Hotel located at 230 S. Main St., Galena, is the oldest operating hotel in Illinois. The hotel opened for business in 1855. It was named after Hernando DeSoto, the discoverer of the Mississippi River. Four years after opening, the hotel suffered a fire and ten years later a steam boiler exploded in the basement. Many famous people have stayed at the hotel including Abraham Lincoln, who gave a speech from the balcony, Stephen A. Douglas, William Jennings Bryan, and Ulysses S. Grant.
The DeSoto House currently has 55 guest rooms, 3 restaurants, a private parking garage, banquet facilities, library, shops, and many historical artifacts.
Guests complain about noises and footsteps coming from above the 3rd floor. The 4th and 5th floors of the hotel were removed in 1880.
An employee we interviewed claims she saw an orb of light in the 3rd floor hallway. She was so frightened she left the floor immediately. This employee also said that Room 333 gives her an uneasy feeling. Most paranormal claims come from the 3rd floor.
Paranormal groups have obtained EVPs in the area called the subway near the kitchen in the Generals' Restaurant.
An apparition was seen walking out of the wall near the fireplace in Green Street Tavern.
Joe heard a child scream, as if startled, in the 3rd floor hallway. We did not see any children staying at the hotel while we were there.
Joe and Cyndi smelled a strong scent of women's perfume on the main staircase. They went back to the staircase twice on different days and the scent was weaker but still noticeable. The smell could possibly be an air freshener sprayed by the cleaning people.
While eating in the Generals' Restaurant, there were quite a few mishaps with the dining chairs. Not only did the waitress trip over a chair but as a group of diners were sitting down at their table one lady fell to the floor as if her chair had been pulled out from under her. A couple was leaving their table when a chair fell over onto the ground. Coincidence? Maybe.
You get an uneasy feeling in the upper floors of the hotel, like a fun-house feel. The old wood flooring was placed over bricks so the floors are very crooked and sloping in some spots. In our room the desk was very noticeably slanting to one side.
There is a bridge just outside of town with claims of a woman walking down the road. Take Main Street, make a right on Meeker, only a couple miles outside of town. There is a pull out on the left side just before the bridge. We went there at night but had no experiences.
TIPS AND DIRECTIONS
Joe and Cyndi stayed at the hotel in a king room facing Main Street. We did not hear any noise coming the street, only other guests shutting their door and occasional noises in the hallway. The room was very spacious. Staff at the hotel were friendly and helpful. We ate at the Generals' Restaurant. The service was great and the food was excellent. I would recommend the Drunken Soldier, delicious chicken.
We took the Walking Ghost Tour which meets in the lobby of the De Soto. It was too cold to go outside so our host took us around the hotel and told stories in the banquet room. Normally the walk is around town to different paranormal spots. Worth going and reasonable priced. When we went it was $10 a person.
We had little free time but did go to the Galena History Museum, worth seeing, and Grant's house, we walked around outside but didn't have time to go in.
There are many historical sites to visit in Galena, as well as many quaint shops in town.