Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Haunted Windsor Hotel in Americus, Georgia

Last August my husband and I drove to middle Georgia where he was attending a sports event. I dropped him off and kept on driving to Americus in Sumter County which is about 116 miles (187 kms) south of Atlanta. We had made reservations at the Windsor Hotel there. This hotel was originally built in 1892 for rich northerners escaping the winter cold.

In 1991 a total of $8 million dollars was invested to restore it authentically. This is an eclectic Victorian hotel with a landmark tower, balconies and an unusual array of window styles. The five-story Queen Anne castle-like structure covers almost a full block of downtown Americus.

Click on the picture to enlarge it
I had heard that this hotel has been recognized as a haunted hotel by the Big Ben Ghost Trackers, a north Florida paranormal group. Their report on the Windsor Hotel, which you can read here, states that based on their investigation they can certify that this hotel is haunted indeed. It seems that in the early 1900s a little girl and her mother who lived in the hotel - as the head housekeeper - were murdered when they were both pushed down the elevator well. Their ghosts still haunt the hotel. Staff and guests have seen the reflection of the woman in a long black gown in a mirror in the hall of the third floor. I went up to the third floor that afternoon, all was quiet and I did not feel nor see anyone.

The kitchen staff has also reported that late at night they have seen pots and pans flying around or are misplaced while the radio is turned on and off mysteriously. Another spirit reported to haunt the hotel is a faithful doorman named Floyd Lowery who worked at the hotel for 40 years.

As I entered the lobby I really felt like I had entered another time of genteel southern elegance. A three-story atrium greets you with balconies, palms, antique chandeliers and comfortable furniture. I loved the original antique golden oak and marble floor.

There are 53 period-style guest rooms with 12-foot ceilings, ceiling fans and plantations shutters. We had a standard guest room. It looked better than in my picture below –

All the guest rooms are individually appointed so that no two rooms are the same. It is rumored than John Dillinger and Al Capone, the famous gangsters, spent the night in what is now the Bridal Suite and had armed bodyguards posted at the bottom of the stairs. The Presidential suite was renamed in honor of President Jimmy Carter who is a native of Sumter County and lives in Plains, about 10 miles from Americus. The Roosevelt Boardroom is so named because Franklin D. Roosevelt made a speech to the Chamber of Commerce in the adjoining balcony in February 1928 – when he was Governor of New York. The hotel itself was named after John T. Windsor, a leader in Americus in the 1880s. You can read more on the history of the Windsor Hotel here.

It was a warm Friday afternoon with few guests in the hotel so I inspected it well, with my camera. I checked the veranda where wicker chairs were inviting me to sit down and relax. I thought it would be better to come back at dusk with a mint-julep or early in the morning with a strong cup of coffee.

From the patio, close to the tower, I could see the other historical buildings facing the hotel.

Don't forget to click on the pictures to enlarge them

Downstairs the mahogany phone booth and cozy parlor looked like they should be in an aristocratic hotel in England rather than in the peanut growing area of middle Georgia.

The dining room looked elegant and inviting -

On the second floor Rosalyn Carter’s Tea Parlor was closed unfortunately – I would have enjoyed a spot of tea there!

Leaving the hotel to take a stroll in town, I passed the 1921 Rylander Theatre where President Jimmy Carter, with 600 guests, celebrated his 85th birthday on 27 September 2009. Passing by the theatre I saw the imprints of President Jimmy Carter and Rosalyn Carter’s hands in cement on the sidewalk.

Americus is also the home of Habitat for Humanity International which is a charitable organization working to eliminate housing poverty around the world. They renovate, repair and make housing for disadvantage families. They have a global village in Americus where you can visit life size Habitat houses from around the world but I did not have time to visit it as it was getting dark, so after a quick picture of an historical marker it was time to go and pick up my husband then drive back to the Windsor Hotel.

The next day we visited the small town of Plains where Jimmy Carter grew up and still lives. But that visit will be recounted in a future post.


""°o.O Nancy O.o°"" said...

*** Bonjour Vagabonde ! ***

Que de belles photos dans ce nouveau post !!!!!
Cet hôtel a un charme fou de par son architecture, son ameublement et son histoire !!!! M.A.G.N.I.F.I.Q.U.E !

A ta place j'aurais eu un peu peur ... à cause des fantômes qui hantent l'hôtel ! Mais ça vaut le coup d'y aller quand même !!!!

Je te souhaite de très bonnes vacances en France et j'ai déjà hâte de voir ton prochain post qui parlera du lieu où Jimmy Carter a vécu et vit encore aujourd'hui.

*** MERCI POUR TOUT VAGABONDE et @ bientôt !!!! *** BISOUS ***

Carol Murdock said...

This was a very interesting post! Thanks for sharing! :)

wenn said...

very classy hotel..

Unseen India Tours said...

BEautiful and lovely shot !! Nice post !! Thanks for sharing..Unseen Rajasthan

Darlene said...

Another interesting visit to an awesome place. I really enjoyed the tour of a historic hotel. Thank you for great photos and commentary.

Vicki Lane said...

Sounds very intriguing! Your pictures make me want to visit that hotel.

TorAa said...

Looks like a Castle to me.
A place I would adore to stay.

Thanks for sharing


DJan said...

When I was a teenager I lived in Albany, Georgia. My father was stationed at the air base. All I remember about Americus was that was where the first race riots happened. It is wonderful to see that all of that is in the past, and Habitat for Humanity and this lovely hotel have arisen! Thanks for the journey.

rauf said...

Thanks for the tour and the information Vagabonde. Looks like a classy and very expensive hotel, i'll be too scared to enter it, not because of the ghosts.

Bhavesh Chhatbar said...

A UNIQUE post indeed. Beautiful :)

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dot said...

I really enjoyed this post and all your pictures. On our first date, my husband and I went to Plains. We've always talked about taking the train ride but just never have.

Baino said...

What is it about the "Windsor" name? There's a glorious old hotel in Melbourne with the same name and reputation. Very spooky but simply gorgeous. They serve the most amazing 'high tea' on the weekends with a desert buffet to die for. Lovely tour of the town and I'm a firm supporter of Habitat for Humanity, it's a great initiative

Pondside said...

What an elegant place!
I've had a good look around your posts that I missed while I was away. I enjoyed your posts about your road - so much history in that part of the US. I used to visit my aunt, in Hinesville, Georgia. I remember the thrill of taking home pecans from her trees.

Marguerite said...

What a beautiful and interesting hotel, and your photos are splendid! I love historic buildings and find them fascinating. I enjoyed my visit, as always!

Elaine said...

It's good to see that they have restored the Windsor to its original elegance. It's a very beautiful building. Thanks for sharing your visit there.

Unseen India Tours said...

BEautiful and lovely shots !! Simply beautiful !!Unseen Rajasthan

Louis la Vache said...

Re your questions to «Louis» about how he gets his photos - he usually uses the automatic setting. He has an older Nikon D70. He uses a tripod for night shots, but most often just has the camera (ahem) between his hooves and hopes for the best!

Kenza said...

Bonjour Vagabonde,
Voilà un lieu comme j'aime! Architecture et décor qui rappellent une certaine Belle Epoque, ça doit être très agréable d'y passer quelques jours... Veinarde!!
Je vais à Paris quelques jours, mon hôtel sera beaucoup plus sobre!!
Très amicalement, Kenza

Shammickite said...

What a wonderful hotel, so elegant. Lucky you to be able to spend some time there. I love th polished wood and the marble floor.
And now I know that Ex-Prez Jimmy Carter shares the same birthday as my OlderSon. Actually Jimmy had it first! That Birthday cake is quite the hugest cake I have ever seen.
And I love your pictures.

Louis la Vache said...

When you were in the Bay Area, did you visit the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose?

Unknown said...

Not expensive at all. Probably no more than it would cost to stay at a Holiday Inn. I'm from Americus and have stayed at the Windsor on many occasions. Floyds Pub on the second floor is the place to be on the weekends. As far as being haunted. It's just old and creaky but no spooky ghost there. Sorry

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