Denver Walking Ghost Tour: The Haunted History

I’ve compiled the list of my favorite spine-chilling buildings in our ideal Denver walking ghost tour.  During the fall, I enjoy scaring myself a little more than usual. If you are looking to make it less frightening for your kiddos, go during the day time. You can walk it- just make sure you time your parking, so you don’t get ticketed. Many places downtown have two-hour limits or so.

Before we get started, for those who:

A Denver Walking Ghost Tour

The days are getting shorter, and the nights are getting longer.  The air is crisp, with an eerie quality sneaking in as quietly as the twilight of this season.  What a perfect time of year to explore all things creepy! Between Denver’s brightly changing leaves and the fresh air, autumn in Colorado is an extraordinary time. If you throw in this spooky tour, you’ve captured all things fall.

The Molly Brown House: 1340 Pennsylvania Street

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Exterior Molly Brown house in Denver

The Molly Brown House is one of the most well-known Denver homes as the former quarters of socialites J.J. and Molly Brown.  The previous owner is the unsinkable Molly Brown, who survived the 1912 crash of the Titanic.

In 1887, the city commissioned the governor’s mansion.  The Browns later purchased the sprawling Queen Anne style home.

The 7000 square foot Victorian house features red sand and gray Rhyolite stone and spans three stories, with an attic and basement.  The stunning building features stained glass windows, decorative wood panels, and curved brackets.

Molly loved to travel and specifically purchased the two Egyptian Phoenixes in the front of her house.  After she died in 1932, her beloved home was left to decay until the early 1970s when Historic Denver, Inc. renovated the home to its original splendor.

Haunted Denver: Walking Tour Molly Brown house sillhouette

After the repairs, the home joined the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.  Currently, the house serves as the Molly Brown House Museum displaying original architecture and original furnishings.

The two former socialites still haunt the Brown home.  Tour guides periodically smell  J.J.’s pipe smoke at random times. Museum workers see light bulbs that mysteriously undone, and tourists even report to see furniture rearranged by a spirit wearing a Victorian dress.

The History of the Molly Brown Museum

Molly Bown was born Margaret Tobin Brown into a blue-collar family with five siblings in Leadville, Colorado. She met James Joseph “J.J.” Brown at a church picnic.

They did not have wealth, but they had plenty of love and the two married in 1886.  They lived in a two-room log cabin near the mine where J.J. worked.

By 1889, Molly and J.J. built a family with two children and moved back to Leadville in a beautiful house with the entire Tobin clan living nearby.

J.J. eventually was the head of mining operations at Ibex Mining Company.  He purchased Little Johnny Mine and discovered a large vein of gold in this mine.

Upon closer scrutiny, these gold was pure, and the vein was even more significant than they first believed.  By 1893, the mine was shipping 135 tons of gold per day. 

The Brown family became rich, moved to Denver, and bought the Victorian Mansion. Molly and J.J. shared their money with charities and were philanthropists in both Leadville and Denver.

In 1909, they dissolved their marriage but remained friends. After the amicable split, Molly Brown spent less time in Denver and decided to rent out their house to various families.  After the Great Depression, she was forced to turn the house into a boarding facility. By the time she died in 1932, the house was run-down.

In 1958, Art Leisenring turned the home into a gentleman’s boarding house for two years. He leased it to the city of Denver as a home for wayward girls.

In 1970, the city earmarked the Brown homestead for demolition.  Leisenring formed a Historic Denver Inc. and raised money to save Molly Brown’s House. The house was restored and opened as a museum.

Grosvenor Arms Apartments: 333 East 16th Avenue

Grosvener Arms of the Denver Walking Ghost Tour

The Grosvenor Arms Apartments opened in the fall of 1931.  The apartment building features Gothic winged serpents that guard medieval stone walls.  The flagstone courtyard welcomes you into a fortress of the past.

Exterior brick wall with creeping ivy of Grosvenor Arms apartments

When the building opened, the advertisements touted a fireproof, child-free building with contemporary luxuries in its studio and one-bedroom apartments.  However, the 1930s hardwood floors, arched doorways, and original fixtures remain in most apartments.

Brick exterior entrance door and window to Grosvenor ArmsTwo phantom residents haunt the Grosvenor Arms Apartment building– the man in the mirror and the woman upstairs.

A tall, broad-shoulder man appears in a large lobby mirror, wearing a dark suit and fedora. An elegant young woman wearing a long skirt possesses the eighth-floor laundry.

However, these apparitions are rarely chilling. Over the years, the residents have felt comforted by these spirits.  If your arms are full of laundry, the woman upstairs will press the elevator’s call button for you.

The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa: 321 17th Street

Brown Palace Hotel

The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa is home to many spectral apparitions.  The triangle-shaped haunted hotel opened in downtown Denver in 1892.  Many visitors to the Brown Palace Club room have reported lights flickering, the carpet “crawling” underfoot, and a bartender who flits in and out through a wall.

Perhaps Dwight Eisenhower had ghostly visitors in his campaign headquarters. The Brown Palace Club Room was used in 1952 as Eisenhower’s headquarters when he ran for President.

Interior upward view of the Brown Palace atrium

Employees and guests have experienced sudden chills, doors slamming, invisible children laughing, and papers soaring off tables.

One of the apparitions is a man dressed as an old-fashioned railroad conductor who walks into the wall when approached.  The second is a senior woman in a long black dress wailing about her broken heater, who vanishes when maintenance arrives.Glass ceiling of the Brown Palace atrium

Denver Press Club: 1330 Glenarm Place

Denver press club coat of arms in stone above the green canopy  The Denver Press Club is the oldest press club in the United States and the only one haunted. Founded in 1877, it settled into its present home in 1925.

The Press Club is not a relic of the past, as the club ranks currently boast more than 500 members. This historical treasure boasts many contemporary journalists who treasure their First Amendment rights (as we all should!)Green canopy at entrance of Denver Press club

The journalists who spend the most time at the Denver Press Club see many mysterious occurrences. More than just caricatures of the past adorn the aging walls– spirits linger among the living.

One night after closing time, a man and an employee locked up the club.  They sat downstairs, enjoying a nightcap.

Upstairs they heard loud, stomping footsteps interrupting their conversation.  They ran upstairs, but no one was there.

On another occasion, the club members saw a ghostly figure wearing a nineteenth-century policeman’s cloak.  Club members describe trays of silverware rearranged or pots and pans moved. However, all encounters have been pleasant at best, and at worst are a series of practical jokes.

4 Haunted Places in Denver Typically Twitterpated over the Grosvener's Arms apartments

Denver Walking Ghost Tour

Walking along this self-guided Denver walking ghost tour brings true believers to get a candid look at Denver’s supernatural history.  Once you’ve walked along this path, you may be disappointed that you have seen all of the ghosts of Denver.  Fear not!  Fortunately, Denver is teeming with spirits.

Where is your favorite haunted space?  Drop it in the comments below.

2 Comments

  1. Thanks for the wonderful guide

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