The Goldfield Hotel was built in the boomtown of Goldfield, Nevada. The hotel was constructed at the site where two previous wooden hotels had stood. Both the earlier hotels burned down in major fires in 1905 and 1906.
Gold was discovered north of town in 1902. People rushed to Goldfield in waves, first in 1903 and then in 1906 when the big bonanza was hit on the Hayes and Monette lease on the Mohawk No.2 claim. The Goldfield Hotel was built as the area’s mining boom was cresting. In June 1908 the Goldfield Realty Company, owner of the hotel, staged a grand opening with a sumptuous dinner and lively entertainment. As mining declined rapidly in the area after the hotel opened, its owners struggled to make the hostelry a success. Now closed for more than 60 years, the hotel faces dusty Columbia Street on the corner of Crook Street, or Highway 50, in the heart of Goldfield.
The prominent Reno architectural firm of Curtis and Holesworth designed the massive hotel. Morrill J. Curtis and George E. Holesworth designed such buildings as Morrill Hall on the University of Nevada, Reno campus, the Majestic Theater in Reno, the Mizpah Hotel and the State Bank & Trust Building in Tonopah. Holesworth personally supervised the hotel’s construction.
Construction began in April 1907. The main floor of the four-story building was constructed of grey granite stones from Rocklin, California, while upper stories were made from reddish-brown brick. The building is U-shaped and measures 180 by 100 feet. The center of the structure is recessed, with two wings for public rooms on the main floor and guest rooms in the upper stories. Hotel visitors entered the lobby by climbing a few steps up from the street onto the pillared porch. Above the porch were balconies on the second and third floors from which the guests could view the street, town and countryside. The floors of public rooms and the entry porch were covered by small white mosaic tiles interspersed with a few black ones to create a geometric design. The owners boasted that the building was fireproof and outfitted the upper floors with numerous black metal fire escapes. The roof was flat with a massive white cornice extending over the edge of the top of the building.
The original design of the hotel included 150 sleeping rooms and 45 suites with bathrooms. A few of the guest rooms were located on the main floor, but most were on the upper floors. Most of the rooms shared a claw-foot bathtub and toilet, but all had running water. Steam heat was generated by an on-site power plant.
The lobby contained the mahogany reception desk with the room key rack behind it, the switchboard, a public telephone booth, and the elevator. The elevator ran at 300 feet per minute, one of the fastest in Nevada. The saloon was off the left of the lobby; male guests entered the dining room directly from the saloon. The ladies, however, used a separate entrance from the lobby because they were not allowed in the saloon.
The dining room, named the Grill, was the largest room in the building, extending the width of the building with plate glass windows that overlooked Crook Street. Next to the dining room in the back of the hotel was the kitchen.
Mahogany paneling covered the walls of the lobby, saloon, and dining room. Around the lobby’s three iron pillars were circular, black leather buttoned banquettes; other furniture included big leather swivel chairs, couches, and brass cuspidors or spittoons. Crystal electric lights and other lights were suspended from the beamed ceiling.
The estimated cost of the building was between $300,000 and $400,000. Manager and part owner J. Franklin (Frank) Douglas bought about $40,000 of furniture from Chicago for the main and second floors. The guest rooms were luxuriously furnished with carpeting, telephones, draperies, glass lamps, hardwood dressers with glass plate mirrors, cuspidors, and brass beds.
In December 1908 George Wingfield and Casey McDannell, owners of the Casey Hotel, joined the Goldfield Realty Company to form the Bonanza Hotel Company. With an exchange of stock and $200,000 in cash, the Bonanza Hotel Company became the owner of the Goldfield Hotel and the Casey Hotel. Wingfield was the major stockholder in the company and ultimate owner of the Goldfield Hotel. Wingfield was among the richest men in Nevada at the time. He was the owner of the Consolidated Mines Company in Goldfield, along with banks, other hotels, and numerous lucrative businesses in Nevada.
In 1923 Wingfield sold the hotel to Newton Crumley, owner of the Commercial Hotel in Elko, Nevada. Crumley mined under the hotel unsuccessfully and sold it two years later. The hotel was bought and sold over the years and rarely did the owners turn a profit. The last paying guests of the hotel were officers and their families from the Tonopah Air Field from1943 to 1945. When World War II ended and the military personnel left Nevada, the hotel closed. It has never reopened.
Other “guests” have been reported. Hotel ghosts were first mentioned by Shirley Porter, who attempted to purchase the hotel in 1976. She claimed to have discovered the ghosts when she and her husband, Dennis Dybicz, camped out in the hotel. Porter described a couple of ghosts, the most famous of whom was a young woman named “Elizabeth” or “Gertie.” She is believed to have either been murdered or killed herself in room 109. Others have reported seeing the spirit of George Wingfield and smelling his cigar smoke near the lobby staircase. In 2001 the hotel was featured on Fox Family TV as one of the world’s scariest places.