The Haunted Room 313 at Bullock Hotel

Room 313 is said to be the most haunted room in Bullock Hotel. Guests who have stayed in the room have reported numerous paranormal activities including knocks on the door, unexplainable voices, and bedsheets being pulled. However, there were no reported deaths or incidents in room 313 that could have contributed to the paranormal events.

Room 313 Bullock Hotel
Room 313 in Bullock Hotel | Image credits:

A History of Bullock Hotel

Tucked away in the small town of Deadwood, South Dakota, Bullock Hotel has withstood the test of time to become the oldest hotel in the city.

The historic hotel was believed to be built between 1894 and 1896 by local sheriff Seth Bullock and his business partner Sol Star. Seth Bullock, an entrepreneur turned first sheriff of Lawrence County, was said to be a close friend of president Theodore Roosevelt and had frequented the White House as part of Roosevelt’s so-called “Tennis Cabinet”, a group of informal advisor to the president.

Theodore Roosevelt Seth Bullock
Seth Bullock (left) and Theodore Roosevelt (right) | Image credits: South Dakota Magazine

Hotel Bullock was raised on the grounds of a former warehouse which was destroyed during a major fire in 1894. Constructed in Victorian architecture, the three-storey building boasted a grand hotel lobby, a casino, a restaurant and 63 luxurious rooms that were furnished with brass bed and oak furnishings. Bullock Hotel quickly became the default meeting place and accommodation spot for traveler visiting Deadwood.

In 1976, the property was sold to the Ayres family. The original furnishings was sold by the Ayres family who converted the hotel into a local hardware store. 15 years later, the building once again changed hands, this time to Bullock Properties. To restore the building to its former glory as the town’s most luxurious hotel, Bullock Properties underwent a massive renovation that lasted two years. Attempts to re-create the original decor were considered successful albeit the original 63 rooms were reduced to a mere 28 guest-rooms. That said, the rooms were enlarged and now feature many of the modern amenities including modern plumbing, wet bars and even jacuzzis.

Bullock hotel old
Bullock Hotel | Image credits: South Dakota State Historical Society

Ghosts of Seth Bullock

Today, the ghost of Seth Bullock is said to haunt the hotel. Visitors and staffs of Bullock Hotel have reported numerous paranormal activities ranging from floating orbs and knocks on the door to disembodied voices and apparitions. Employees who have encountered the ghost of Seth Bullock say that he was a benevolent spirit that does nothing more than a slight tap on the shoulder to keep them in check.

Contrary to popular belief, Seth Bullock did not die in room 211 of Hotel Bullock. Instead, he passed away from cancer in 1919 at his home at 28 Van Buren Street, a 10 minutes walk away from the hotel.

Apart from the haunting of Seth Bullock, other apparitions are said to haunt the famous Seth’s Cellar. Patrons of the underground restaurant have spotted shadow figures darting around and hearing disembodied voices from a distant corner. The ghostly figure of a cowboy have also been reported by staffs of the restaurant.

Seth Cellar Bullock hotel
Seth’s Cellar at Bullock Hotel | Image credits: Tripadvisor

Over the years, the paranormal activities have attracted a slew of paranormal investigators and thrill-seekers to spend the night in the hotel in hopes of encountering the former sheriff. In 2015, Bullock Hotel was featured on Travel’s Channel Ghost Adventures.

Today, ghost tours are offered on a daily basis for visitors looking to catch a glimpse of Seth Bullock along the hallways. To attend the tour, contact the staff at Bullock Hotel website or make an arrangement at the hotel’s front desk.

Who Owns the Bullock Hotel Now?

The current owner of Bullock Hotel is Steve Slowey, a Yankton businessman who bought the property under his company SRK Development. The sale of the historic hotel was completed on December 30, 2020 at an estimated price of $3.7 million. Plans are currently underway to remodel the building and upgrade the rooms to franchise standard; SRK Development currently owns four properties across the country.

The previous owner of Bullock Hotel was Kevin Johnson from Bullock Hospitality. Kevin bought over the property from Ken Kellar Estate in 2011 at a undisclosed price

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