The history of Alaskan Hotel & Bar dates back to 1913 when it was opened by McCloskey brothers, James and John McCloskey, as well as Jules B. Caro. The trio were veteran miners who had struck during the Klondike Gold Rush (also known as the Yukon Gold Rush) from 1896 to 1899. During the grand opening of the hotel, the owners reportedly tied the front door keys of the hotel to a helium-filled balloon and released it, declaring that the hotel would never close. The Victorian-style hotel featured 46 guest-rooms and was originally built as a resting spot for miners in town.
“At 6 p.m. the management will formally unlock the doors and the keys with then be attached to a toy balloon which will carry them out of sight. From the moment the doors swing open , never to close, the hotel will be for the accommodation of guests.”– Jules B. Caro at the opening of Alaskan Hotel & Bar
In 1977, the hotel was condemned and ordered to be shut down by the Fire Marshal and the Litter Control Board. The property was promptly restored by then owners Bettye Adams and her husband Mike who saw the iconic hotel as an iconic piece of Juneau’s history. The hotel, restored to its original Victorian elegance, reopened in the same year. A year later in 1978, Alaskan hotel was added to National Register of Historic Places in recognition of its historical significance to the nation.
In 2013, Alaskan Hotel was featured on Hotel Impossible, a reality television show where struggling hotels receive a makeover by businessman and hotelier Anthony Melchoirri and his team. The episode centered around the operation of the hotel including a lack of understanding of the occupancy rate, the front desk which was left unsupervised, and the mismanagement of the bar.
Today, the hotel is run by Joshua Adams, the son of Mike and Bettye Adams. As the oldest operating hotel in Juneau, Alaska, the hotel has played host to countless miners and visitors visiting the city. To reserve a room in Alaskan Hotel & Bar, visit their official website here.
Deaths at Alaskan Hotel
Several death have occurred at Alaskan Hotel & Bar over its 108 years of history.
On September 9, 1998, an incident was alerted by staffs of Alaskan Hotel to the Capital City Fire and Rescue department. Juneau native Charles Kevin Wynn was found floating faced down in a hot tub at a room in the hotel. Wynn was immediately sent to the hospital by an ambulance. After attempts to revive him, Wynn was declared dead at the emergency room. While there was no signs of foul play, it is unknown what had led to the incident.
In 2017, navy veteran Clarence Stanly Milton III was found dead in a room at the hotel. Milton was staying at the hotel with his acquaintances when they noticed that Milton wasn’t snoring. When Milton was found cold to the touch, they immediately reported to Juneau Police Department. Milton was declared deceased on the spot. There was no signs of foul play. The cause of death was reportedly due to alcohol.
Hauntings at Alaskan Hotel
Room 219 is said to be the most haunted spot in the entire hotel. The story speaks of a gold miner and his wife Alice who came to Alaska in search of fortunes in the gold mines. The couple would go on to become tenants of Alaskan Hotel and occupy room 219. On one occasion, the husband did not return from a mining job that was supposed to last for only a month. Desperate to support herself and pay the rent, Alice became a working girl, serving miners staying in Juneau. When her husband did return, he was furious to see a man in room 219. After finding out about his wife’s new profession, the husband allegedly killed the man and his unfaithful wife with a revolver.
Today, room 219 and the adjoining room 218 are said to be haunted by a vengeful spirit said to be Alice. Guests of the two rooms would often report about the flickering lights and their personal belongings being shifted while they are away. Housekeepers have also said that towels and small furnishings in the rooms would be misplaced. The spirit of Alice can also be seen in her flowing white gown with her arms outstretched, seemingly reliving her joyous moments with her husband.
Another room rumored to be haunted is Room 315. The history behind the hauntings at room 315 is unknown, albeit guests have reported that the poltergeist was evil and malicious. On May 19, 2007, a sailor checked in to Alaskan Hotel and requested to stay at the infamous room 315; he was a crew of USS Bunker Hill, a guided missile cruiser was scheduled to leave the port the next day. On the same night, a loud disturbance was heard in the room, prompting staffs of the hotel to call the police. Before the police could arrive, sounds of glass shattering can be heard; the sailor had jumped out of the the window, falling three stories to the ground floor between the hotel and the building beside. Room 315 was also found to be splattered with bloods on the wall and the mirror. The sailor was medevacd to Seattle and survived the horrifying incident. Till this day, there is no reasonable explanation to the gruesome scene at room 315 and the sailor’s behavior.
Over at the hotel bar, orbs have been spotted floating along the countertop as well as the stage where bands play. Beer mugs have also been reported moving on their own, as if it was pushed by someone.
The numerous haunted sightings have led to paranormal investigations to be conducted on the history property. In the premiere episode of Portals to Hell, hosts Jack Osbourne and Katrina Weidman visits Alaskan Hotel in an attempt to make contact with the resident ghosts. During the investigations, a dark shadow was caught by a motion activated camera in the basement.