Haunted History of Fort Worth’s Stockyards Hotel

The history of Fort Worth’s Stockyards Hotel began with the booming of the stockyard industry in the city. As tens of hundreds of merchants and cowboys flocked into town, Forth Worth was in need of new establishments to accommodate and entertain the incoming visitors. Soon, dozens of hotels and entertainment venues sprung up over the city, all seeking to cash in on the booming economy.

In 1904, Colonel Thomas M. Thannisch build a two-story wooden structure called the Stock Yards Club hotel on the corner of North Main Street and East Exchange Avenue. Two years later, a three-story addition was added on the east side. Completed in March of 1907, the new building featured restaurants, physicians offices, a Club Bar, and a hotel.

Construction of the western end of Stockyards Hotel in 1913 | Image credits: Stockyards Hotel official website

In 1913, the original wooden structure on the corner of the junction was demolished and replaced with a three-story brick structure similar to that on the eastern building. The buildings were linked up and new rooms were added, making the hotel one of the biggest structure in Fort Worth. The new suites included private baths, ceiling fans, and heat from boilers in the newly built basement.

For the next six decades, the hotel operated as one of the most sought after accommodation spots in the city. The hotel was the choice of many notable cowboys and outlaws spending the night in Forth Worth. These include outlaws, Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Chestnut Barrow, and Tennessee-born congressman Davy Crockett Other more recent guests include country singer George Strait, Garth Brooks, and Willie Nelson.

In 1982, the site was acquired by Marshall Young and Tom Yater. After a massive two-year restoration project, the historic hotel reopened as the Stockyards Hotel. At present, the hotel offers a selection of 52 luxurious rooms ranging from the Standard Rooms and Outlaw Rooms to the Celebrity Suite and the popular Bonnie and Clyde Junior Suite.

However, Stockyard Hotel also holds a reputation for being one of the most haunted place in Fort Worth. Many believe that the historic building is haunted by former guests who have stayed on long after their passing. The elevator is known to ascend and descend the hotel floors even though there were no passengers.

Stockyards Hotel | Image credits: Texas Historical Commission

Several of the rooms are also said to be haunted; television and radio sets would turn on at will while the bathroom door would creak open even though it was closed shut. The apparition of a cowboy is also known to lurk along the hallways on the second floor where a murder supposedly happened in the 1920s. Guests staying on the floor have reported hearing the jingles of a spurs (strapped on the heels of a riding boots) in the middle of the night.

Many of the paranormal accounts have been attributed by staffs to be nothing more than a “historic hotel in need of repair”.

Bonnie and Clyde at the Stockyards Hotel

The most infamous guests that have stayed in the century-old hotel is Bonnie and Clyde, a legendary criminal couple who have become one of the most notorious outlaws in America’s history. The duo gained nationwide attention after photos of them were discovered in at an abandoned hideout. Set in the era of the Great Depression, stories of Bonnie and Clyde’s glamorous lifestyle and criminal spree captivated Americans.

Bonnie and Clyde | Image credits: United States Library of Congress

In 1933, the outlaw couple escaped to Forth Worth and checked in to Room 303 in Stockyards Hotel. The room was supposedly chosen due to its view of the streets which gave them a heads up on any sheriffs or bounty hunter coming for them.

Bonnie & Clyde Junior Suite | Image credits: Stockyards Hotel official website

Today, the Bonnie and Clyde Junior Suite have become the hotel’s most requested room. The suite features a king size bed, a full bathroom, a dining table with four chairs, and a writing desk. The walls of the room was also lined with photos, memorabilia, newspaper clippings, and a revolver said to have been left by Bonnie Parker. Unsurprisingly, the Bonnie and Clyde Junior Suite is said to be haunted by the outlaw couple. On multiple occasions, guests have reported the tap in the bathroom being turned on and off by itself.

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