Breck’s haunted past
In spite of the bro party vibe and fun surrounding a friendly game of ping pong, there is no question that The Brown Hotel in Breckenridge feels spooky.
Even if you’ve gotten past the chill of history packed into the tiny bar and velvet-lined sitting room, distracted yourself with a couple of hours of air hockey and your favorite tunes on the old school jukebox, you’re eventually going to have to empty your bladder.
You’ll have to venture upstairs to the dilapidated restroom. Your blood will run cold as you move from one creaking step to the next. You’ll find yourself biting your nails while peeing in record time, furiously washing your hands while taking special care not to look into the mirror, convinced that you will hold it for the rest of the night before bolting down the stairs.
The Brown at 208 N. Ridge St.
The Brown is one of at least 350 buildings in Breck with history that goes back 100 years or more and one of several believed to be haunted. They say The Brown’s specter is Miss Whitney, a woman shot in one of the upstairs bedrooms while allegedly having an affair and plotting to turn the place into a brothel.
The Brown is no longer a hotel, but as a bar, retains its original layout with only the downstairs in operation. The restrooms are the only upstairs area open to the public. The women’s bathroom is reportedly one of Miss Whitney’s favorite areas to haunt and patrons have claimed to see the curtains blowing in spite of no breeze and faucets turning on and off by themselves. Even bartenders talk of water glasses emptying right after they’ve filled them, doors slamming and vacuum cleaners mysteriously becoming unplugged in mid clean.
At 104 N. Harris St you’ll find another of Breck’s famously haunted homes. William Briggle, the mayor of Breck, lived here in the early 1900s with his wife, music instructor Kathleen. Now preserved with several original antiques – including a shiny old piano –that depict the couple’s affluent social standing in the Victorian era, the house is used for historic tours. Tour guides stationed here have reported haunting piano notes and passing cold bursts of air. Even paranormal specialists with legit Ghost Hunter-caliber equipment have confirmed a “presence.” Many are convinced Kathleen is still here.
One glace at the ancient, hand cut tombstones and old wrought iron fences at this cemetery on Airport Road and you’d think they were made expressly for Night of the Living Dead. Housing the remains of Breck’s big name pioneers, bearing dates that go back more than 100 years, or simply marked “The Unknown Dead,” the graves are tied to many frightening tales. One recent example is the story of a badly damaged piece of iron fence. A few years ago metal smith Paul Cornett and his son were working on the section of the fence that surrounded one of the cemetery’s first graves – for an infant that died in the late 1800s. The fence was severely bent when trees toppled onto it in a powerful storm in 1997. Upon the initial strike of a sledgehammer, however, the twisted iron suddenly went completely straight. Science just can’t explain it.
With so much history of gold claims, saloon brawls and class segregation, ghost stories abound in Breck. If you happen to be in town on Halloween, get all the details and an eyeful of the sights yourself on the Halloween Haunted Tour.
– Shauna Farnell