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The Imperial Hotel


     A man and his wife had just returned from a long day of antique shopping in Amador City and nearby Sutter Creek in the gold rush area of California.  His wife, in fragile health, was parched and exhausted.  He flagged down the harried waitress and asked for a glass of water.  The hostess did not alter her steps as she rushed by, but raised her fingers to indicate if he wanted one or two glasses.  He nodded at the two glasses and then they waited. 

     A few minutes later a server came to the table.  Bringing a menu, she asked if she could get the couple something to drink.  The gentleman told the server that the hostess was bringing them water.  The server looked around the room questioningly.  She shrugged her shoulders.  “Well, I don’t know who that could be.  I am the only server in the dining area right now.  In fact, someone called in sick so we are short handed.  Whoever it is, I certainly appreciate any help I can get.”

     The waitress soon brought them their dinner and glasses of water.  The hostess never did return.  It was later that the couple reminisced about the dress of the unidentified, mysterious, and non-returning hostess.  She looked like she was wearing a dress similar to the dress the woman in a painting on the wall was wearing.  And her facial features also looked the same.  They asked the waitress who the woman in the painting was.  Nobody really knew as the painting came from San Francisco.

     The Imperial Hotel’s brick building was originally built in 1879 to function as a mercantile store to provide for the needs of the homeless miners.  Realizing the town was inundated with stores and its profit margin almost nil, the owner/builder, saw a better opportunity to pay his bills and aid the increasing population.  He renovated his building as a hotel and boarding house.  His instincts correct, the new business prospered.  So well, in fact, that the following year a two-story addition was needed to further accommodate his clientele.  Years passed and time took its inevitable toll on everything in sight.   A remodel began in 1968 and revisions continued through the seventies, and the building served as spaces for shops, a hotel, rooms for rent, and a mini-mall.

     In 1998, the two current innkeepers decided to restore the old building.  It’s then that strange things started happening.  Sometimes it seemed someone was looking over their shoulders, jobs would take longer than they anticipated.  Tools would also be misplaced.  They couldn’t explain all the happenings.

     One night when guests were visiting the hotel, they left their room to get something to eat.  It was dark when they returned.  As they were fumbling for the light switch, it came on by itself.  There have been many rumors circulating concerning the ghosts in the building.  Many from as far back as the 1800’s.  Ghosts and spirits have been seen walking the halls and enjoying the scenery. 

      The kitchen has also been a great place for phenomena as well as the basement.  Recently a dishwasher, the last person to leave the building for the night, heard footsteps in the basement and also upstairs while cleaning up.  The noise sounded like someone dragging something behind them.  The employee left and was never heard from again, not even to pick up his jacket.

 Published in “The Incredible World of Gold Rush Ghosts,” by Nancy Bradley and Robert Reppert.



  1. Denise Eagan says:

    Oh cool! I really have got to use these stories somewhere, Paisley. Don’t know how yet, but I’ll figure it out!

  2. Ooh, these stories give me the chills! But I love a good ghost story!

  3. ruth says:

    Love your website and these interesting stories.

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