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Is The Driskill Hotel Really Haunted?
January 29, 2016 by Andrew Chase 4 Comments
The Driskill Hotel, built in 1886 (Credit: John Cabuena )
When you first walk into The Driskill Hotel, you wouldn’t think it’s haunted. From the dozens of columns brilliantly lining the lobby, to the spotless marble floors, the hotel is gorgeous. The ambience screams luxury and comfort. But if you listen closely, it also screams bloody murder.
Look, this place was built in 1886. That’s plenty of time for some messed up stuff to go down within the walls of The Driskill. For example, did you hear the one about the young girl who fell to her death down the grand staircase? How about the two “suicide brides” who killed themselves in the same bathtub in the same room, 20 years apart to the day ?
Who knows if these ghost stories have any truth to them, especially after all this time. Maybe the halls of The Driskill are crawling with spirits out for revenge. Maybe not. You can decide for yourself.
Main lobby of the Driskill Hotel
Brief History of The Driskill Hotel
Col. Jesse Driskill
Located right smack in the middle of downtown on 6th Street, The Driskill Hotel is one of the most historically iconic landmarks in all of Austin. Conceived and built by Col. Jesse Driskill, the somewhat recently renovated (1996) hotel features 189 guest rooms and suites, a killer bar and a high-end grill .
In case you don’t run into his ghost while visiting, a large portrait of Mr. Driskill can’t be missed, as it’s located at the center of the main lobby staircase. In either scenario, making eye contact is not recommended, as he will relentlessly stare into your soul until you cry.
The bar really is fantastic, and reasonably safe from the paranormal. If you haven’t been, stop in for happy hour and order an Old Fashioned. It’s to die for (that’s well-placed pun #2, for those of you keeping score).
Entrance to The Driskill’s cafe and bakery (Credit: The Driskill Hotel)
Beware of Room 525 at The Driskill Hotel
There are three main legends attached to The Driskill Hotel that have caught the attention of ghost hunters everywhere. Keep in mind that I have no idea whether these stories are true. If you’re curious, I suggest doing some Googling to decide for yourself.
The first legend, chronologically, is of a girl who died in 1887 after chasing her ball and accidentally falling down the grand staircase. Listen carefully in the halls and you can still hear the sound of giggling and a ball bouncing down the stairs.
The second story is perhaps the most creepy of all. The tale of the “suicide brides” describes two separate occasions in which a bride, for reasons unknown, offed herself during her honeymoon. While some claim both of these tragedies occurred in Room 525 in the bathtub, exactly 20 years apart from each other, there are many versions floating around the Internet. Regardless, it does seem there have been at least two suicides at The Driskill, which is more than enough for me to know that I wouldn’t be caught dead in Room 525 (annnnd he’s on fire: pun #3).
And of course, Col. Jesse Driskill himself has been known to check on his hotel from time to time. Reports of cigar smell and fussy lights continue to baffle Driskill staff. Some believe these incidents point straight to Driskill, who died four years after the hotel opened.
So Is The Driskill Haunted or Not?
One of the many long and scary hallways at The Driskill Hotel
I don’t really buy the whole paranormal activity thing, so I tend to think a lot of these unexplained phenomenon are just tricks your mind plays on you when you’re freaked out. With that said, I don’t care how nice The Driskill Hotel looks on the outside. Under the shiny, luxurious surface, there is some spooky sh*t going on.
If you find yourself walking through the halls on any floor, you’ll notice that the walls are lined with the creepiest paintings of all time. Like, seriously. If you’re already known as one of the most haunted hotels in the U.S., there’s absolutely zero need to put up random Victorian-era portraits of people who clearly have a staring problem. Hundreds of these, around every corner. Just staring.
She’s clearly up to no good
I was often alone while venturing through said hallways. It gets quiet. A little too quiet. I also made the mistake of putting my ear up to Room 525 for a bit. That sucked. Even the ghosts were like, “Why are you doing this to yourself?”
The bottom line is I have no idea whether The Driskill Hotel is actually haunted. I, for certain, was extremely uncomfortable pretty much the entire time I was there. Something’s going on and, even if it’s in my own head, the ghost stories add eerie depth to the overall experience.
Whether paranormal or not, the rich history behind The Driskill Hotel is remarkably present, and worth checking out for yourself.
@AndyChuckChase is dying to know:
Do you think The Driskill Hotel is haunted?
Find out more about haunted places in Austin:
- ATX Haunted Places
- Haunted ATX: Austin Streets in Spooky Ride with Freaky Facts
- House of Torment Is the Best Haunted House in Austin
January 6, 2018 at 7:40 pm
The jilted bride was a classmate of mine and the husband-to-be is a good friend.
January 27, 2018 at 8:08 am
Great photos! Whether it’s haunted or not, the rich history and opulent atmosphere makes for interesting lore.
July 1, 2020 at 12:34 am
When I stayed in the Driskill they gave me room 525 and I always pooped with the lights off. It’s called a “Spooky dooky”
December 23, 2020 at 5:15 pm
I stayed there about 10 years ago for a work event. I didn’t know the hotel was haunted. I do know that when I came out of my shower, the curtains were wide open and the doors to the closet were ajar. I never opened the curtains or door. When I told my co-worker about it over breakfast, she took me to the concierge and they explained there were many incidents like I had experienced. I never opened the curtains …
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The Driskill Hotel: Austin’s Luxury Hotel with a Mysterious Haunting Past
Located in the heart of Austin , Texas , the Driskill Hotel stands as an iconic landmark that embodies elegance, history, and a touch of mystery.
With its grand architecture and luxurious interiors, it has been a symbol of opulence and sophistication for over a century.
The Driskill Hotel holds a rich and captivating past, filled with opulence, intrigue, and captivating tales. Founded in 1886 by Colonel Jesse Driskill, a successful cattle baron, the hotel was built to showcase the grandeur and prosperity of Austin , Texas . It quickly became a symbol of elegance and sophistication, attracting renowned guests from all over the world.
Throughout its history, the Driskill Hotel has been a witness to significant events and has played host to notable figures. Presidents , dignitaries , Hollywood stars, and famous musicians have graced its halls, adding to its prestige and allure. However, beyond the glamour and prestige, the hotel’s legacy is also intertwined with intriguing stories and legends that have captured the imagination of guests and visitors.
One such legend is the story of Colonel Driskill himself . It is said that after facing financial setbacks , the Colonel lost ownership of the hotel and later passed away in 1890 . Some believe that his spirit still lingers within the walls of the Driskill, occasionally making his presence known through ghostly encounters and unexplained phenomena.
Another enduring tale is that of the “Cattle Baron’s Suite, ” where a prominent guest allegedly took his own life under mysterious circumstances . Guests and staff have reported strange occurrences in the suite, such as sudden drops in temperature, inexplicable sounds, and an eerie feeling of being watched.
These legends, along with others, have added to the hotel’s reputation as a place of both beauty and mystery. Visitors often find themselves captivated by the Driskill’s rich history, marveling at its architectural grandeur and wondering about the untold stories that reside within its walls.
Today, the Driskill Hotel stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of opulence and intrigue. It serves as a reminder of Austin ’s vibrant past and continues to enchant guests with its timeless elegance and the whispers of its captivating history.
Haunting Legends and Supernatural Phenomena
The Driskill Hotel is renowned for its paranormal activity , with numerous documented events and ghostly encounters reported by guests and staff over the years.
These chilling experiences have added to the hotel’s mystique and cemented its reputation as one of the most haunted places in Texas . Let’s delve into some of the documented paranormal events that have taken place at the Driskill Hotel:
Haunted Grand Staircase – Senator’s Daughter
Step into the opulent Driskill Hotel , where the walls hold secrets of a spectral presence. Meet Samantha , the mischievous young poltergeist who haunts the Mezzanine’s Grand Staircase , delighting guests with her ethereal dances.
Back in 1887 , during the Texas State Capitol’s stay at The Driskill, tragedy struck when a Senator’s Daughter lost her ball and tumbled down the fateful stairs. Since then, Samantha’s spirit lingers , often spotted near a fifth-floor portrait of a young girl with flowers. Paranormal enthusiasts marvel at her playful nature, as she engages with children in spirited games, earning their affectionate whispers of “ Samantha .” While no tangible link connects her to the portrait, her presence leaves an undeniable mark on the hotel.
Elegance and the supernatural entwine in The Driskill Hotel, where history and hauntings weave an unforgettable tale. Embark on a journey to this historic gem, where the allure of Samantha’s ghostly dance awaits those daring enough to explore her spectral realm.
Wandering Colonel Driskill
Colonel Driskill , a figure of history , finds eternal residence within the hallowed halls of the Driskill Hotel . As the esteemed hotel owner, he greeted guests with charismatic charm, his lips adorned with billowing cigar smoke . Though the hotel adopted a strict non-smoking policy , the lingering aroma of cigars continues to bewilder visitors. Is it the spectral essence of Colonel Driskill himself?
One fateful night, a vigilant security guard toiled tirelessly, when suddenly, a robust scent of cigars enveloped the air. Determined to apprehend the mysterious smoker, he leaned over the balcony, only to hear a chilling male voice ask, “ Got a match ?.
“Whipping around, the guard found himself in eerie solitude . Overwhelmed by the uncanny encounter , he left his post, forever haunted by the enigmatic presence of Colonel Driskill .
Ghostly Dwelling On 5th Floor – Peter Lawless
Meet Peter Lawless , a former ticket agent for the Great Northern Railroad , drawn to The Driskill in the early 20th century after his wife’s passing. Little did he know that his connection to the hotel would transcend mortality.
For an astounding thirty-one years , Lawless made the fifth floor his dwelling, and even in death, he couldn’t bear to leave. Guests frequently catch glimpses of his full-bodied apparition , stepping out of elevators , stealing fleeting glances at the time, and then vanishing before their eyes. Not only visitors but even the housekeeping staff has felt his spectral presence. The tingling sensation precedes the appearance of a distinguished older gentleman with black hair , donning dark pants, a crisp white shirt, and a timeless pocket watch . Yet, in an ethereal twist, Lawless fades away as swiftly as he materializes.
Some claim to have witnessed Lawless’s spirit leaving The Driskill , as if attempting to escape his restless afterlife, only to meet an eerie fate in front of a bus.
Haunting Foundation of Native American Tribe
Once, long before the bustling Sixth Street emerged, the land belonged to Native American tribes who cherished the sacred springs that flowed at the intersection of Sixth and Brazos Streets .
For the Apache , Tonkawas , and Comanche , this artesian well held immense cultural significance, believed to harbor both willing and unwilling spirits within its waters. As if drawn to the mystical energies, The Driskill Hotel was erected atop this hallowed ground , becoming a beacon for the paranormal. With streams converging at this very spot, perhaps it’s no wonder that the hotel now stands as a hotspot for hauntings, intertwining the ancient spirits with modern mysteries.
The Tragic Bride – Room 329
In the early 1990s , a heartbroken bride sought solace in the opulent Room 329 of The Driskill Hotel . Devastated by her fiancé’s abrupt wedding cancellation, she turned to a reckless spree of shopping and indulgence . But as her despair deepened, she chose a haunting end to her pain.
In a harrowing act of desperation , she took her own life, leaving behind a legacy of sorrow within the hotel’s walls. To this day, guests claim they catch glimpses of her tormented spirit , wandering the halls with bags in tow , eternally reliving her last moments . Room 329 remains a poignant reminder of her tragic tale , forever imprinted on the history of The Driskill . Her restless presence serves as a chilling reminder that even in the lap of luxury, sorrow can leave an indelible mark.
The Enigmatic Painting : Haunted Vision
Perched on the fifth floor of The Driskill Hotel , an unnamed painting commands attention. Based on Charles Garland’s “Love Letter” and brought to life by Richard King , this artwork holds an unsettling allure. It portrays a young girl clutching flowers and a letter , her innocent facade concealing a darker tale.
Legend has it that the painting depicts the tragic fate of U.S. Senator Temple Lea Houston ’s four-year-old daughter , who met a dreadful end within the hotel’s walls. Ghost hunters claim that an eerie energy surrounds the piece, causing an unsettling sensation for passersby.
Ghostly Mirror Reflection
Amidst the whispers of time, a haunting tale emerges at The Driskill , revealing the spectral bond of Lady Bird and Lyndon B. Johnson . This eerie duo’s ghostly apparitions have left an indelible mark on the hotel’s legacy.
In the dim-lit corridors, guests report captivating encounters with the late president and his adoring wife. Mirrors come alive with their reflection , and curious eyes catch glimpses of the past as if time stands still. Witnesses speak of moments frozen in history, as the undying love of Lady Bird and LBJ bridges the gap between worlds. The echoes of their romance reverberate through the halls, a testament to the enduring power of affection.
It is important to note that while the Driskill Hotel has embraced its paranormal reputation , offering ghost tours and paranormal investigations, guests can still enjoy a comfortable and luxurious stay. The hotel’s staff is committed to providing exceptional service and ensuring a memorable experience for all guests, whether they are seeking thrills or simply looking to appreciate the hotel’s historical charm.
Popular Culture and Media Coverage
Renowned for its rich history and rumored hauntings , the hotel has been featured in numerous television shows and documentaries that delve into the world of the supernatural . Notably, it took center stage in the popular series “ Ghost Adventures ” on the Travel Channel , where investigators explored its chilling ghostly legends and eerie tales .
In the realm of literature , The Driskill Hotel has found mention in books such as “ Haunted Austin : History and Hauntings in the Capital City ” by Jeanine Plumer , delving into the city’s enigmatic supernatural lore , with the hotel serving as a captivating chapter.
Even today, The Driskill Hotel remains a sought-after destination for history enthusiasts and thrill-seekers alike. Its enduring presence in pop culture and media attests to its timeless allure as a historic gem brimming with mystery and spectral intrigue .
The Driskill Hotel stands as a captivating destination that marries opulence, history, and the allure of the supernatural. Its past is steeped in tales of both grandeur and mystery, offering guests a unique and unforgettable experience.
Whether one is drawn to its elegant interiors, curious about its paranormal reputation, or simply seeking a glimpse into Austin ’s rich history , the Driskill Hotel promises to leave an indelible impression on all who visit.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Where is Driskill Hotel located?
A: It is located at 604 Brazos St, Austin , TX 78701.
Q: Is the Driskill Hotel really haunted? A: Yes, the hotel has gained a reputation for its paranormal activity and has been the subject of numerous ghostly encounters.
Q: Can guests experience the paranormal activities? A: Some guests have reported paranormal experiences, while others may have a peaceful and uneventful stay.
Q: Are there any specific haunted rooms or areas in the hotel? A: The most frequently reported paranormal encounters occur in the grand staircase, the historic bar, and certain guest rooms.
Q: Can guests participate in ghost tours or paranormal investigations? A: Yes, the hotel offers guided ghost tours and paranormal investigation experiences for those interested in exploring its haunted history.
Q: Does the Driskill Hotel have any famous ghost stories? A: Yes, the “Lady in Blue” is one of the most famous ghostly legends associated with the hotel. Her apparition has been seen by many visitors over the years.
Q: Is the Driskill Hotel open to the public? A: Yes, the hotel welcomes both guests and visitors who wish to experience its rich history, exquisite architecture, and world-class hospitality.
Q: Can I learn more about the hotel’s history during my stay? A: Absolutely! The Driskill Hotel offers informative materials, guided tours, and knowledgeable staff who are happy to share fascinating details about its history and notable guests.
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Stay Overnight In A 134-Year-Old Hotel That's Said To Be Haunted At The Driskill In Texas
Elisa is a passionate travel writer with over five years of experience. After graduating with a B.F.A in acting from Oklahoma City University, Elisa earned a M.A in mass communication From Texas State University. When she's not writing about all of the amazing places throughout the U.S., she can be heard singing with her band.
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As you meander down Austin’s famous Sixth Street, the Driskill Hotel ‘s magnificent architecture will certainly catch your eye. This gorgeous building dates all the way back to 1886, and it’s clouded in mystery. Many folks have reported spooky paranormal activity within these walls. If you’re up for an adventure, spend a night at The Driskill. This historic hotel in Texas is said to be haunted.
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Have you ever been to this haunted hotel in Texas? If so, did you see any paranormal activity? Share your ghost stories with us in the comments below.
If you want to explore more spooky spots, take this ghost town road trip in Texas .
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Driskill Hotel in Austin named most haunted place in Texas
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The Driskill’s hallways are said to be haunted by ghosts | Photo by @theparanormalprincess_
We don’t know if we should be scared or concerned. Austin has earned a new title : Home of the most haunted spot in Texas.
The Driskill Hotel — which has been around since the 1800s — is ranked the most haunted place in the entire Lone Star State, according to a recent Yelp top 20 list . The downtown hotel turned out to be the creepiest spot after employees of the online directory combed through reviews based about the hotel.
What makes this place so scary? There are three terrifying tales that haunt this historic hotel .
There are several stories involving two rejected brides who both stayed in + died in room 525 after experiencing heartbreak from their fiancés. Guests have even reported seeing the brides roam the hotel’s hallway .
🧸 The Senator’s Daughter
Legend has it that a young girl died after falling down the hotel’s massive staircase . Supposedly, there have been reports of guests hearing her play on the steps .
🎸 Annie Lennox’s Closet
This story involves a 19th century loverboy cowboy Col. Jesse Driskill — the founder of the hotel — who seems to have a particular interest in female musicians , including Scottish singer Annie Lennox . It’s been said that guests can even smell his cigar smoke throughout the smoke-free hotel.
Apparently, The Driskill Bar is pretty spooky, too. It came in as the No. 2 most haunted spot in Texas. Tap this button to explore the other hauntingly interesting places around the state that made the list . 😱
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Driskill Hotel named most haunted spot in Texas, according to Yelp's top 20 list
by Stephanie Becerra
As we inch closer to the spookiest day of the year, Yelp Texas released its Top 20 list of the most haunted spots in the lone star state on Tuesday. (CBS Austin)
AUSTIN, Texas — As we inch closer to the spookiest day of the year, Yelp Texas released its Top 20 list of the most haunted spots in the Lone Star State on Tuesday.
Topping the listing was the infamous Driskill Hotel & Bar , with Austin-based Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill , Clay Pit , 1886 Cafe & Bakery , and The Tavern , following close behind.
The list of top spots was determined, according to Yelp, by first identifying businesses in the restaurant, food, travel, and arts categories with a large concentration of reviews mentioning relevant keywords. Then, they ranked those spots using a number of factors including the total volume and ratings of reviews mentioning those keywords.
MORE| Police say three found dead in SE Austin being investigated as double-murder/suicide
Haunted houses and ghost tours were not considered.
Here are the Top 20 locations:
- The Driskill -- Austin, TX
- The Driskill Bar -- Austin, TX
- Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill -- Austin, TX
- Menger Hotel -- San Antonio, TX
- Clay Pit -- Austin, TX
- Miss Molly’s Hotel -- Fort Worth, TX
- Monteleone's -- El Paso, TX
- The Emily Morgan Hotel -- San Antonio, TX
- The Adolphus, Autograph Collection -- Dallas, TX
- The Alamo -- San Antonio, TX
- Jefferson Hotel -- Jefferson, TX
- The Tremont House Hotel -- Galveston, TX
- 1886 Cafe & Bakery -- Austin, TX
- St. Anthony, a Luxury Collection Hotel -- San Antonio, TX
- The Tavern -- Austin, TX
- Faust Brewing Company -- New Braunfels, TX
- Faust Hotel -- New Braunfels, TX
- The Esquire Tavern -- San Antonio, TX
- The Crockett Hotel -- San Antonio, TX
- VFW Post 76 -- San Antonio, TX
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Haunted Driskill Hotel, Austin, TX
604 Brazos Street, Austin, TX 78701, USA
The Romanesque style building of the Driskill Hotel with its stained-glass dome, marble floors and columned lobbies speak of classic elegance and opulence is among the world’s most luxurious hotels. Stepping into it is like stepping back in time. It also has a reputation of being one of the most haunted hotels in Texas and arguably the whole of North America. You might just have a ghostly encounter with Col. Driskill himself.
Room 525 is rumoured to be the most haunted room in the entire hotel. It is believed that two young women who were in the hotel for their honeymoon committed suicide in the room twenty years apart from each other. For a short period of time, the room was shut close. The room was opened again during the renovation in 1998 and since then strange occurrences have been reported. Some of the reported phenomena include ghostly apparitions, unexplained leaks, sensations, distant voices and unexplained noises.
The hotel’s fourth floor is also the home of a woman who committed suicide. The spirit of a female has been seen in the fourth floor. The hotel staff has also reported a woman crying on the fourth floor even when there is no one there. Lastly, there is a documented story of a young girl, who was the daughter of a Senator, met her fate while playing with her ball on the grand staircase.
The Driskill Hotel was the brainchild of Col. Jesse Driskill. The hotel just cost $400,000 to complete. It originally had four stories and it occupied almost half a block. It had three archways, one on the north, south and another on the east. Six million bricks were used in the building’s construction. The architectural firm of Jasper N. Preston & Son helped design the building. Carved limestone busts of Col. Driskill and his two sons, can be seen crowning the hotel in three sides.
The hotel’s grand opening was on the 20th of December 1886. It was even featured on the special edition of the Austin Daily Statesman. Then governor, Sul Ross, chose to have his inaugural ball in the hotel’s ballroom and since then it has become a Texan tradition. Through the 19th and 20th centuries, the hotel changed several hands. In 1930, the hotel’s original building was expanded by Trost & Trost. The hotel has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places on November 25, 1969. The most recent renovation was back in 1996.
The Driskill Hotel is the landmark of Texan hospitality. Located in downtown Austin, the luxurious, elegant and classic hotel has all the glamour of the past with the convenience of the present. The hotel has 189 suites and guestrooms and it is a member of The Historic Hotels of America and it is among the world’s finest hotels.
With 18,080 square feet of flexible meeting space and facilities, it is an ideal place for meetings, exhibits, and weddings. The hotel has even been voted as The Knot Best of Weddings 2011/2012. The professionally trained staff can help personalize your wedding menu, select cakes and reserve your guestrooms. The Driskill Grill is an award-winning restaurant where you can relax, have fun and eat good food. The best wines are also served during meals while you enjoy your food with The Greyhounds playing live in the background.
- 24-hour fitness center
- Executive business center
- Massage services
- Plush terry robes
- In-room safe
- Imported English personal care products
- Spacious work desk
- Regal bath linens
- Stocked mini-bars
- Plasma televisions with pay-per-view
Things to Do
When staying in the Driskill Hotel, the 1886 Café & Bakery should not be missed. The café is located at the busy corner of Brazo and Sixth Streets. It is a gathering place for locals and out-of-town guests who are looking for regional American foods that come with a contemporary flair. The café has the finest Austin pies, cakes and pastries.
Austin is known as the live music capital of the world and it would be a travesty not to visit Austin Music Hall when in town. The Austin Music Hall has hosted various musical events for a good number of years. Antone’s Nightclub, founded by Clifford Antone, has helped launch the careers of various musicians. Long Center for the Performing Arts has also hosted a lot of musical acts. If you love music and the arts, you should definitely visit this place. You might just be in for one musical spectacle.
There is always something in Austin that will pique your interests.
- Signature rooms start at $300
- Victorian junior suite starts at $350
- Bridal suite starts at $400
- Executive suite starts at $450
- Presidential suite starts at $600
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Is this Painting in the Driskill Hotel Haunted by a Little Girl’s Ghost?
The stories told about the historic Driskill Hotel in Austin, Texas, are as varied as its guests. It’s been the host to many visitors, from presidents to rock stars and maybe even a few ghosts. Perhaps the strangest story of the Driskill is that of the haunted painting.
A number of notable works of art adorn the wall of the Driskill. The first painting that a visitor is likely to notice will be the 1890 portrait of Colonel Jesse Driskill. When you step into the hotel lobby, you’ll see it hanging over the mezzanine stairs. Don’t be surprised if you get the feeling that the old colonel’s eyes are staring back at you. Some guests find the colonel’s gaze a bit disconcerting, and perhaps that has something to do with the legend of a bullet striking the painting when a pair of Texas lawyers are said to have fought a duel there long ago. The artist behind this compelling portrait was William Henry Huddle, more famous for a painting of Davy Crockett that’s housed in the Texas State Capitol.
Photo: Facebook/Terri Beltran
Colonel Driskill opened the grand hotel in 1886. A compulsive gambler, he soon lost the property in a poker game only two years later. Driskill passed away in 1890, and some say that his restless spirit still wanders the halls of his lost hotel to this today. If you happen to catch a whiff of cigar smoke, it just might be the old colonel himself. He’s said to be especially fond of appearing to women.
Continuing on through the hotel, guests can enjoy a variety of less-unnerving paintings. Many of them showcase Texas cowboys and the Hill Country’s natural beauty. However, up on the fifth floor of the Driskill, you’ll find a painting that has a haunting reputation. The work is a modern replication by Richard King of an older painting by Charles Trevor Garland. The original painting was titled “Love Letters.” It shows a little girl holding a bouquet of flowers in one hand and a letter in the other.
Photo: Facebook/The Driskill
The folk tale surrounding this particular edition of the painting claims that in 1887, the four-year-old daughter of U.S. Senator Temple Lea Houston died in a terrible accident at the hotel. Samantha Houston was running after a ball that had rolled down the Driskill’s staircase. The girl tripped and fell to her death. Out of this tragedy, the legend grew that Samantha Houston’s ghost haunts the painting of the little girl.
It’s said that some visitors claim to have stared at the little girl in the painting and seen her expression change. Others report feeling ill when looking at the painting or a strange sensation of being levitated. It should be noted that skeptics say the real history doesn’t jive with the haunting stories. The girl depicted in the painting isn’t Samantha Houston herself, and the painting is a modern version of the older Garland work, two facts that some would say seriously detract from any verify to the haunting claims.
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Exploring the Haunted History of the Driskill Hotel in Austin, Texas
Are you looking for an exciting and unique place to stay in Texas? If so, the Driskill Hotel in Austin is a must-visit. Not only is this hotel elegant and cozy, but it is also said to be one of the most haunted places in the state. With a rich history and plenty of ghost stories, the Driskill is a fascinating destination for anyone interested in the paranormal.
The Ghostly Guests in the Lobby One of the main draws of the Driskill Hotel is its two famous ghosts in the lobby. The first is a small girl who is said to walk around chasing a bouncing ball. Many people speculate that she is simply checking in on the hotel’s guests. The other ghost in the lobby is rumored to be the spirit of the hotel’s former manager from the depression era. Despite the hardships of that time, this manager was known for his kindness and generosity, and he still greets guests from the old vault where he is said to sit.
The Haunted Room with Mirrors In addition to the two ghosts in the lobby, the Driskill Hotel also has a room with haunted mirrors. Visitors have reported seeing strange and unexplained reflections in the mirrors, adding to the eerie atmosphere of the hotel.
LBJ Acts as the Ghostly Security Guard To ensure the safety of guests during the evenings, the Driskill Hotel is rumored to have a ghostly security guard in the form of former President Lyndon Baines Johnson . He is said to walk the halls every night, checking on the activity in the hotel. While some may find this ghostly presence unsettling, others find it to be a comforting presence.
In conclusion, the Driskill Hotel in Austin, Texas is a unique and fascinating destination for anyone looking for an elegant and haunted hotel experience. With its rich history, ghostly guests, and haunted room, it is sure to be a memorable stay. So, next time you’re in Texas, be sure to check in to the Driskill Hotel and explore its haunted history for yourself.”
Haunted Children’s Room at The Magnolia Hotel (Video)
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The Haunted Driskill Hotel
On July 12, 2023 | In All
THE HAUNTED DRISKILL HOTEL
Jesse Driskill, a successful cattle baron, had moved to Texas from Missouri in 1849. Flush with cash from his service to the Confederate Army , to which he supplied beef throughout the Civil War , he decided to diversify by constructing a grand hotel in Austin. In 1884, Driskill purchased land at the corner of 6th and Brazos for $7,500 and announced his plans for the hotel. 
The hotel held a grand opening on December 20, 1886, and was featured in a special edition of the Austin Daily Statesman . On January 1, 1887, Governor Sul Ross held his inaugural ball in its ballroom, beginning a tradition for every Texas governor since. In May 1887, less than a year after it opened, Driskill was forced to close the hotel, as he could no longer afford to operate the hotel following a harsh winter and drought that killed his cattle inventory. In addition, S.E. McIlhenny, the hotel’s general manager, and half of the staff were hired by the Beach Hotel in Galveston , which expedited the closure. Driskill sold the hotel in 1888 to his brother-in-law, Jim “Doc” Day, who reopened the hotel in January 1888. ]
Austin magnate George Littlefield , responsible for other Austin landmarks such as the Littlefield House , opened the Austin National Bank on the southeast corner of the building; the old bank vault still remains.  Littlefield later purchased the hotel for $106,000 in 1895 and vowed that it would never close again. Littlefield invested over $60,000 in renovations, including ceiling frescoes, electric lighting, steam heating, and 28 additional lavatories, but still sold the hotel at a loss of $25,000 in 1903 to banking competitor, e.l. Wilmot. Under Wilmot’s ownership, the hotel was managed by hotelier W.L. Stark, who added a barbershop and women’s spa featuring Turkish baths , oversaw the construction of the annex, and adorned the former smoking room with eight antique Austrian gold leaf-framed mirrors previously owned by Maximilian and Carlota of Mexico . 
In 1950, the hotel embarked on a renovation, which closed off the Sixth Street entrance and removed the rotunda’s skylight to make way for air conditioning units on the roof.  In 1952, the former Austin National Bank was transformed into a television studio for KTBC , the very first television station in Central Texas.
In 1969, The Driskill closed its guest rooms in anticipation of a renovation and new tower containing a modern glass facade, which never materialized.  Most of its furnishings were sold, and an American-Statesman article declared, “Driskill Hotel’s Fate ‘Sealed’.” The hotel was saved from the wrecking ball at almost the last minute, however, when a nonprofit organization called the Driskill Hotel Corporation raised $900,000.
Braniff International Hotels, Inc., a division of Braniff Airways, Inc. , of Dallas, Texas, bought the hotel in 1972 and began a $350,000 restoration of the grand lobby of the historic facility. Braniff reopened the hotel to customers on January 15, 1973, to very strong bookings and conference business. Braniff threw an official grand reopening celebration on February 10, 1973. Over 1000 guests attended the gala event that included a parade of every Texas Governor and/or their descendants, since 1886. All proceeds from the event went to the Austin Heritage Society, who was strategically instrumental in the resurrection of the Hotel Driskill.
In 1995, The Driskill was purchased by Great American Life Insurance, who embarked on a $30 million renovation to restore the hotel to its original appearance, which had been heavily modified over the years. The hotel closed for four years for renovation work and was re-opened in a Millennium celebration on December 31, 1999.
In 2013, The Driskill was purchased by Hyatt Hotels Corporation for $85 million, who embarked on an $8 million renovation of the hotel. Hyatt sold the hotel to Dallas-based Woodbine Development in May 2022 for $125 million.
In addition to its beautiful architecture and rich history, The Driskill continues to draw attention due to its host of tragedies and rumors of paranormal activity. The hotel is said to be home to more than one ghosts, including seven-year-old Samantha, who died after falling down the Grand Staircase.
he Driskill is composed of two interconnected buildings; the original four-story Romanesque Revival building constructed in 1886, and a 13-story annex constructed in 1930.
The original building, designed by local Austin architect Jasper N. Preston, was constructed with over six million pressed bricks and white limestone accents. The building contains two porticos on the southern and eastern facades, which contain large Richardsonian -style arches that were reputed to be the largest in Texas.  The facade contains three limestone busts of Driskill and his sons; J.W. “Bud” Driskill facing Brazos Street, A. W. “Tobe” Driskill facing an alley on the west side, and Jesse Driskill facing Sixth Street, whose bust is surrounded by decorative carvings including longhorns on the gable ends.
The hotel opened with 60 rooms including 12 corner rooms with attached baths, a rare feature in hotels of the region at the time. At the center of the hotel was a four-story open rotunda capped by a domed skylight, which functioned as a flue to suck up the hot air and cool the building; the skylight was removed when air conditioning was installed on the roof in 1950. The building was designed for separate entrances for men and women. Two entrances, one on Sixth Street and another facing the alleyway on the west side the building, were reserved for men and were flanked by a saloon, billiard room, cigar shop, a newsstand and a barbershop featuring baths. The women’s entrance on Brazos Street allowed female guests to proceed directly to their rooms, thereby avoiding the cigar smoke and rough talk of the cattlemen in the lobby. The second floor contained the main dining room and ballroom, separate parlors for men and women, a children’s dining room, and bridal suites. Other embellishments included an electric bell system, marble bureaus, steam heating, and gas lighting.
The 13-story annex, designed by the El Paso architecture firm Trost & Trost , opened in 1930. The 180-room annex contains a bungalow penthouse that is only accessible from the building’s roof. The bungalow contains two bedrooms with private baths, a living room, and a full kitchen. The bungalow was originally used as a private residence by superintendents of the Southern Pacific Railroad , but was later rented to high-profile guests including Jack Dempsey , Bob Hope , and President Lyndon Johnson . In 1979, the hotel manager restored the bungalow to use as his private residence
Jesse Driskill is said to haunt the hotel. Shortly after the hotel opened up, Jesse came under the pressures of financial hardship. That’s code for. “He blew his earnings on booze, women, and gambling.” Jesse had no choice but to forfeit the ownership of the Driskill almost immediately after it opened up. A game of cards did the cowboy in. Jesse lost the deed at the poker table. By that point, he was a mess and up to his eyeballs in debt.
“One of my most favorite stories is one of the few sightings we’ve had of Colonel Driskill. One of his favorite rooms in the Driskill overlooks 6th Street & Brazos, and there was a consultant in town who woke up one night to see a gentleman standing in his room, looking out the window about three o’clock in the morning, puffing on a cigar. He sat up in bed and said, ‘hey fella, what the hell are you doing in my room?’ He said the guy looked at him and gave him this look, like, your room? But he didn’t say anything. The consultant leaned over and snapped on the light by the bed and when the light came on there was no one standing by the window, but the curtains were still swaying and there was a cloud of cigar smoke in the air.”
A quote from the REAL Austin Ghost Tours guide Monica Ballard , author of True Haunted Tales of the Driskill Hotel.
“In the early 1990s, a distraught bride checked into Room 329 of the Driskill. Her fiancé had just called off their wedding. The woman decided to blow over 40k on a shopping spree and culinary free-for-all on her second day of mourning. On the third, she lined up all her swag next to her bed, pulled out a gun, and blew her head off; she used a pillow to muffle the sound of the round. To this day, guests swear they see her ghost towing bags up and down the halls of the hotel.”
The above quote is from a franchise ghost tour company based out of New York. It was written by their employees in India. No one from the company has been to Austin or any of the tours around the country. Like the CEO of McDonalds doesn’t visit all of their stories. But Ghost Tours are traditional local and the stories told based on historic fact. Take our tour the REAL Austin Ghost Tour and learn the real story. We have the police report. Join us and let’s talk about the Driskill Hotel.
Another of the ghost said to haunt the Driskill is that of a child who died after plummeting to his death down a flight of stairs. The kid made a grab for his bouncy ball and overreached. Paranormal investigators have managed to catch the faint sound of a ball ping-ponging against walls while a mischievous voice giggles.
Another folk story surrounding the Driskill is that of a painting found on the fifth floor of the hotel. The artwork is unnamed, but it’s based on a painting by Charles Garland called, “Love Letter ” and it’s an unnerving piece brought to life by Richard King. But really it was commissioned by an artist whom no one knows. It depicts a little girl holding a bouquet of flowers in one and hand and a letter in the other. Ghost hunters claim that the painting depicts the four-year-old daughter of U.S. Senator Temple Lea Houston who died in a horrible accident at the hotel. The painting is said to be haunted and people who stroll by it constantly feel the presence of something sinister riding their coattails until they vacate the cursed building.
LBJ and Lady Bird went on their first date in 1934 in the Driskill’s Dining room. For years, they flocked to the place to not only relive their glory days but for special occasions. The Driskill became Lyndon Johnson’s favorite place when he visited Austin.
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