Saturday, August 27, 2011


AUSTIN, TEXAS - The hotel located at 604 Brazos Street in Austin opened its doors to the public on December 20, 1886, a dream came true for cattle baron, Jesse Lincoln Driskill. He had purchased the site for his future hotel in 1885 - an entire city block for $7,500. The venture, once finished, cost the outrageous  $400,000 and quickly became the premier "frontier queen" hostelry. Jasper N. Preston and Sons of Austin designed the original cream-colored brick and limestone building, which was apparently inspired by H. H. Richardson's recently completed Ames Building in Boston. Driskill had busts of himself and his two sons, Tobe and Bud, installed over each entrance. In October 1898, Austin's first long-distance telephone call was placed from the lobby.

Photo: PICA 05041, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library
  Since Austin is the capital city of the state, the Driskill Hotel was the place to be seen if you were a political figure. Many deals and compromises that effected the state of Texas and the world where made within the walls of the Driskill, and former US President Lyndon Johnson often watched election returns at the Driskill. Indeed, history has been made within its walls.
Some say that Colonel Driskill (an honorary title bestowed on him by the Confederate army during the Civil War) loved his hotel so much that his spirit remains on the property he purchased so long ago. According to Austin Ghost Tours, Driskill makes his presence known by the smell of cigar smoke. He is believed to turn bathroom lights on and off in several guest rooms on the top floors of the hotel.

Another apparition is the four-year-old daughter of a US Senator. She haunts the grand staircase leading from the mezzanine down to the lobby. The little girl was playing unattended with a ball when she slipped and fell to the marble floor at the bottom of the stairs and was killed. The front desk staff has heard the child bouncing the ball down the steps and giggling.

In the early 1990s, a Houston woman took a trip to the Driskill to try and recuperate from a wedding that her fiancĂ© called off at the last minute . Staying in Room 29, she decided the best way to help herself would be to go on a week-long shopping spree with her fiancĂ©'s credit cards.  She was last seen coming out of the elevator on the fourth floor with her arms filled with numerous bags and packages, and her body was discovered three days later when the housekeepers became concerned that she hadn't left the room to eat. Her body was found lying in the bathtub; she had shot herself in the stomach, muffling the sound with a pillow. The Austin Police Department crime scene photographer reported that it was a sad to see such a young women commit suicide when she could have had a long, happy life ahead of her. 

An Austin Ghost Tour guide tells the story of two women who wanted to see a ghost and had heard the story of the Houston woman. At the time, the fourth floor was undergoing restoration and wasn't open for overnight stays, so the ladies got a room on the other side of the hotel. The women stayed out late visiting Sixth Street and came in around 2 AM. Being curious, they decided to stop the elevator on the fourth floor and have a look around. However, when they saw the hallways were lined with plastic and all of the beautiful paintings had been removed from the walls, they decided it wasn't such a good ideal to be walking around there after all, and they called he elevator back. When the elevator door opened, a young women stepped out with her arms full of bags and packages; she walked past them without saying a word and headed down the dark plastic-lined hallway. The two ladies wondered and how the woman could have done any shopping at that time of night. Following her down the hallway they asked if the renovations were bothering her. She replied, "No, It's not bothering me," then went into Room 29. The women became troubled and decided to get to their floor as fast as they could. The next day, they asked the front desk clerk why someone was staying in Room 29, since they were told no one could stay on that floor during the repairs. The clerk assured them no one was staying on the floor and took the two ladies up to Room 29. The group found the room still draped in plastic, without a bed, and with a bathroom sink sitting in the middle of the floor. The ladies then realized they had seen the ghost of the "Houston Bride."

The Driskill Hotel on YouTube

Many other ghosts have been seen roaming the hallways and rooms of the Driskill. What Was Then recommends Austin Ghost Tours for a firsthand look at the hotel and to learn more about the many guests still checked in at the Driskill.


THE DRISKILL HOTEL - Book a stay at the famous Austin Hotel.

AUSTIN GHOST TOURS - Take the tour for yourself. We dare ya!
Spinner Magazine - Ghost of A Texas Ladies Man

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