Flagstaff on a Phoenix real estate website? Absolutely! Because, in many ways, the City of Flagstaff is one of the reasons to buy real estate in Phoenix. Just two hours north of the Valley and sitting at more than 7,000 feet, the cool pines of Flagstaff provide a break from the heat in the summer (or, in our case this year, the heat of late September – highs near 110 today) and give a taste of snow in the winter. And you don’t have to shovel your way out of your hotel’s driveway.
Any avid viewer of Ghost Adventures on Travel Channel or Ghost Hunters on the SciFi Network likely will be drawn toward historic downtown Flagstaff and the walking tour of the city’s allegedly haunted places. And it all begins where many folks’ trip to downtown Flagstaff starts, the 1926-built railroad station that doubles as the city’s Visitors’ Center.
It’s said that employees of the Visitors Center have felt like they’re being watched when they climb the stairs to go to the station’s upper floor, and one in particular reported hearing voices in an otherwise empty room.
If you take the formal tour, the second stop is the Flagstaff Public Library, which is built on the site of the old Emerson School. Doors are said to open and close on their own and odd noises often are reported in different areas of the building.
Next up comes the Milligan House, currently the home of the Flagstaff Convention and Visitors’ Bureau. Footsteps allegedly have been heard at night on the stars and across wooden floors and some reports say there’s a cold feeling that comes when the footsteps are heard.
Also on Aspen Street is the Orpheum Theater, a still-active concert venue where you also can see showings of Stanley Kubrick’s Clockword Orange (no word on whether your eyes will be propped open during the show.)
In the Orpheum, a janitor once said he saw a dark figure moving back and forth through the aisles of the balcony – which would have been less odd had the theater not been locked and empty at the time.
There’s also a story of a roll of paper towels that started to unravel itself at the downstairs concession stand. Someone grabbed the towels to stop them only to see them continue unrolling as soon as they were let go. Other employees reported hearing all the toilets begin flushing and sinks running suddenly after closing one evening.
Down the block from the Orpheum is the Weatherford Hotel, home of the Zane Grey Ballroom (and, if you’re hungry and/or thirsty, also the home of Charley’s Pub and Grill downstairs.) Some have reported seeing a ghostly woman floating across the floor of the ballroom; others have said she’s darted from side to side. When we visited on Saturday, the only thing darting around was my 13-year old son, looking in every open room to look for any wandering spirits.
One other cool note about the Weatherford and the Zane Grey Ballroom – there’s a fully stocked bar inside the ballroom and the bar itself made its way to the Weatherford from Tombstone, a ghost town in itself.
Lastly there’s the Monte Vista Hotel, home of the “Phantom Bellboy.” As the story goes, guests in Room 210 have reported hearing a knock on their door and someone telling them their room service has arrived. When they open the door – you guessed it – no one is there. Before you scoff, the first to tell this tale was John Wayne – doubt The Duke at your own risk. It’s also said the hotel avoids putting guests with pets in this room as dogs tend to go a little nuts when they’re there, sort of like my beagles any day at home.
If that’s not quite enough, a pair of ladies of the evening also reportedly have been seen in the hotel’s pool hall and the lounge. And male guests in Room 306 have reported waking up feeling like they’re someone is smothering them, with a hand over their mouth and throat.
Even if you’re a little dubious about the entire paranormal thing, there are far worse ways to spend an afternoon a mere two hours away from the Valley in the cool pines of the Coconino National Forest.