Kansas City, MO

Historical Hotel Savoy & Grill and past stories of hauntings

CJ Coombs

Since 1888, the Hotel Savoy in Kansas City has been accommodating guests. It is the oldest operating hotel west of the Mississippi River. For more than 100 years, this hotel has been providing people with a place to stay, and it has carried stories of several reportings of supernatural activity.

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Hotel Savoy n/k/a 21c Kansas City.MWKruse/Wikimedia.

Stories have been told that a woman by the name of Betsy Ward lived at Hotel Savoy in the late 1800s. She lived in and died in Room 505. Her death remains a mystery.

Nobody really knows how Ward died. Some think she died in a bathtub by suicide and another story suggested it was a result of criminal activity. People at the hotel have heard doors opening and closing by themselves near Room 505. Others have seen shadows or heard voices they can’t explain. Still, others have felt like they were being watched. Allegedly, visiting guests have reported hearing music in their room when no music had been turned on.

Electronic voice phenomena also referred to as EVP, had been recorded on audiotape. Although sounds were captured, voices weren’t present at the time of recording. Photos showing apparitions have been taken. Sometimes a passenger on the elevator will push the button for the 4th floor, but it goes to the 6th floor.

Room 505 is infamous with enough stories about what takes place in that room. One guest reported the water kept coming on in the bathroom. It is said that the ghost of Ward opens doors and turns faucets on and off, or radios get turned on.

There were more reports in the past than in the future. When Room 505 was renovated along with the rest of the hotel. According to research, a turn-of-the-century 32 caliber gun was found sealed in the wall during the room's renovation.

In a CBS News reporting some nine years ago, Kansas City, Missouri is the “haunted capital of the world” primarily because of its screaming haunted houses in old factories. The CBS site also reported the following:

... Two of [Hotel Savoy’s] most famous ghosts are Betsy Ward and Fred Lightner. Betsy reportedly died in room 505 and never left. Witnesses claim to have heard water turning on and off and music playing in the room when no one is staying there. Fred reportedly has appeared to numerous guests and staff, often rearranging their belongings. Mysterious shadows and strange voices also been reported.

After Hotel Savoy was renovated, its new name became 21c Kansas City. The hotel has a completely different contemporary look. The hotel has 120 rooms and suites with accompanying art in its 21c galleries. It is located at 219 W 9th Street.

The Savoy Grill restaurant attached to the hotel opened in 1903. In 2014, it had to close due to a fire. The restaurant was restored and reopened and is now called The Savoy at 21c. In 1974, it was placed in the National Register of Historic Places.

If you heard of past hauntings of any hotel, would you want to spend the night in one? It's a chilling tale about Room 505. Maybe the renovation cleared the air.

Sources: Missouri Haunted Houses; Haunted Missouri; Only in Your State; Fright Find; CBS News.

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Hello! I have 30 years of experience in the legal field, and a BA in Eng Journalism & Creative Writing. I am an incessant thinker, giver, and lover of life. Born into the service life of the Air Force in Louisiana, life has taken me to Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, and ultimately to Missouri, I don't have that true concept of "home," but believe every living experience is tied to language. I applaud all writers who churn language into something artful, meaningful, and productive. I love my family, art, true crime, non-fiction, reading, travel, and red pinot.

Kansas City, MO
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