So I'm pretty mindblown right now. It's amazing the things you never know about the place you grew up in until you leave and start reflecting about your life. The town of Atwater and Merced (aka "Mer-dead") are considered, at least by the locals I spoke to for my twenty-four years of life there, are probably the least exciting towns in all of California. But I'm starting to realize now that's simply not true. Throughout the small towns and the seemingly mundane hustle and bustle, there's a lot of history, speculation, and otherworldly legends. One legend that caught my eye was about the Tiago Hotel in Merced, California.
Why is the Tioga Hotel considered to be so haunted?
Located at 1715 N. Street in good 'ole Downtown Merced, the Tioga Hotel is a staple in town. Though I have to admit, I only remember it is as that weird hotel I used to drive or walk past and wonder who lived at the top. Had I known about the stories that came out of there, I would've been far more interested.
Now fully remodeled into a modern, attractive apartment complex, the Tioga Hotel has quite the history. Built in 1928, not only is it on the National Registry of Historic Places, but history considered it "one of the grandest hotels of the agriculturally rich San Joaquin Valley". The hotel has seen many famous and notable guests from movie stars to Eleanor Roosevelt, and even served in WWII. In 2011, a financial scandal involving embezzlement and James Hiestand landed the Tioga in some hot water, but it's back now better than ever after a $15 million renovation. It's amazing news. But not the news I care about.
I want to know about the ghost stories. Many, many locals have spoken out about the alleged ghosts haunting the Tioga Hotel, so much so that even local news sources like the Merced Sun Star have covered the subject. There have been reports of seeing full-blown apparitions, disembodied voices, things moving on their own. With a hotel this old, it makes sense there might be a few things going "bump" while you're trying to sleep. Also, walking or driving by it everyday gave serious creepy vibes, and I knew something was going on.
Now that the hotel is a set of apartments and private property, it might be more difficult to go investigate. But if you have a friend who lives there and you can be respectful of neighbors, maybe a little ghost hunt is in order. I know what I'll be doing when I come home to visit. My only question is: Who's coming with us?