This Historic Haunted Hotel Sits On A Hot Spring And Is Expected To Reopen This November

Photo via www.hotlakelodge.com

A hotel, a bathhouse, a sanitorium, a WWII nurse training center, and a bed and breakfast are just a few of the evolutions the Hot Lake Hotel has gone through since the first structure was built at Hot Lake in Oregon in 1864.  The property and hotel have been owned by several people, have experienced fires and collapses, and was brought back from the brink of total destruction so it’s history could be preserved.  Now, once again under new management, The Lodge At Hot Lake Springs is being renovated again and is expected to open in November of 2020.

A History That Stretches Back To The Nez Perce

 

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The Hot Lake hot springs are located at the base of a large bluff in northeast Oregon not far from La Grande.  These springs were often used by Native Americans and called Ea-Kesh-Pa by the Nez Perce.

In 1864 a man named Fitzgerald Newhard built the first wooden structure at the hot springs, which contained a post office, dance hall, blacksmith, bathhouse, barbershop, and other businesses.  This was the perfect stopover for weary travelers and pioneers.

 

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In 1903 the structure was demolished and replaced with a brick hotel that also included bathhouses filled with the warm waters of Hot Lake springs.  This new hotel when completed in 1908 had over 100 guest rooms, and soon a rail line was built directly to the hotel.

hot lake hotel oregon
Photo via Hot Lake Lodge

In 1917 a doctor purchased the hotel and resort and turned it into a sanitorium, with guest rooms, medical wards, offices, and a kitchen and dance hall.  The doctor experimented with using the geothermal mineral waters from the hot springs to treat patients and guests.  The healing waters attracted visitors and patients from around the world.  Even the Mayo brothers who founded the famous Mayo Clinic were frequent visitors.

Photo via Hot Lake Lodge

Unfortunately, a fire destroyed the majority of the building’s right side in 1934, leaving only the brick portion of the building.  After the fire, the hotel business began to decline leaving only the hospital.  Later a flight school and training center for nurses was established at the site during World War II.

The property continued to change hands throughout the years and was used as a nursing home, a restaurant and night club, and a bathhouse before it was abandoned in 1991.  The building fell into such disrepair that some people wanted it to be torn down.  Every window was broken or missing and most of the roof was gone.

It was at this point that the building changed hands again and was purchased by David Manuel in 2003, whose family spent millions restoring it.  The hotel once again opened to guests as a bed and breakfast, restaurant, and museum, but after nine years fell victim to the elements once again.

In the spring of 2020 the owners of the Grand Hot Springs RV Resort next door took over management, and are now in the process of restoring this historic site once again.  They’re working on restoring the grand entry porch, veranda, historic spring house, and balustrade.  They’re also planning a new hot springs soaking area, restaurant, concert venue, spa, pubs, movie theater, and are upgrading the rooms.​

Hauntings At The Hot Lake Hotel

 

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With such a long past and varied history, it’s natural for rumors of strange occurrences and hauntings to circulate.  At one point during a local typhoid epidemic, the hotel’s foyer was reportedly used to store bodies of the epidemic’s victims until graves could be dug for them.

haunted hotel oregon
Image courtesy of the Oregon State Library.

Some rumors state the building is haunted by someone who was scalded to death in the lake as well as old vacationers and those who came to stay when the building was used as a sanitorium.

A piano which once sat on the third floor was said to play itself, while others have reported screaming and crying coming from the old surgery room.  Other people have told stories of rocking chairs moving by themselves.  In 2001 the property was featured on the ABC Television series, “The Scariest Places On Earth.”

The Lodge At Hot Lake Information

 

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According to the official website, the lodge is scheduled to reopen to the public in November of 2020.  You can keep up to date with the new renovations and the schedule for reopening on the Lodge At Hot Lake Website and official Facebook page.

Have you ever stayed at the Hot Lake Hotel?  Tag the friends and family you’d like to go soak in the hot springs with!

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