Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Lowe Hotel, Pt. Pleasant



 The Lowe Hotel was originally opened between 1901 and 1904 under the name of Spencer Hotel.  It was owned and operated by two brothers, Homer and Griff Smith, and was named for J.S. Spencer, a friend of the brothers, financial backer for the hotel, and local lawyer/judge.

Homer Smith was born in 1868 and made his career in the hotel business.  By the age of 23, he had been promoted to manager of the local Phoenix Hotel.  In 1901, he decided to open his own hotel.  Also in that year, he married Vausa Beal.  Vausa and Homer had three children, who grew up in the hotel.

Griff Thomas Smith was born in 1867 and was a socialite and ladies' man.  He served under the WV Secretary of State for the duration of two governors before taking a position as a private secretary for the IRS commissioner.  He left Washington, D.C. to return home and join his younger brother in the hotel business.

The four story hotel was built on land originally owned by Col. Andrew Lewis.  Construction cost $65,000 and another $10,00 was used to furnish the hotel.  The ground floor had a bank, barber shop, bar and grill, sample rooms, billiards room, and a ladies' reception.  A mezzazine between the first and second floor contained the original kitchen and dining facility, floors two and three served as guest rooms, and the fourth housed a grand ballroom.

The hotel was built in order to serve the heavy river traffic that stopped in at Point Pleasant, with rooms on the third floor set aside especially for tradesmen and river men.  When Homer Smith and J.S. Spencer  launched the Security Steamboat Company in 1914, the hotel became a popular spot for its passengers, but also its crew during repairs and inclement weather.

The Smiths owned the building until it was purchased in 1929 by Homer D. Lowe, who renamed it the Lowe Hotel.  Lowe was the son of hotel owners in Spencer, WV, and grew up in the hotel business.  When Lowe acquired the building, he changed more than the name.  He put a stop to the back room gambling and prostitution that was previously allowed, and opened up portions of the hotel for the use of civic and church groups.

Lowe passed the hotel down to his son, Homer Lowe Jr. in 1945.  Homer Jr. finally retired in 1987 and put the hotel up for sale.  It  was purchased by Rush and Mary Ruth Finley in 1990, and is still owned by them today.
 The Ghosts
*No ghosts are reported on the first floor.                 
                                                  
*The mezzanine between the first and second floors is home to one of the most famous of the Lowe ghosts.  A beautiful, but disheveled young woman is seen dancing to music only she can hear.  She is barefoot, wearing a nightgown, and has long, flowing hair.  It is rumored that she is the ghost of Juliette Smith, Homer Smith's middle child, and only daughter.  As a young woman, Juliette loved music, and she loved to dance.  She had fallen in love with a local boy, but her father disapproved of the marriage.  The boy went on to marry another, while Juliette never did marry.  During the taping of a Sci-Fi Investigates special on MothMan, the cast and crew stayed at the hotel, where the token skeptic, Boston Rob, claims to have seen her.  Some say you can lure her out by leaving a single long-stemmed rose out on the mezzanine.

*On the second floor, a small child between two to three years old is seen riding a tricycle.  Most often the child is seen as solid as a real person, and is so concentrated on her ride that she makes no eye contact or interaction with witnesses.  Other times, only the sounds of laughter or the squeak of tricycle wheels is heard.  It is generally felt that the child is a residual imprint of one of the Lowe children who lived and grew up in the hotel. 

*The third floor is perhaps the most active.  The first of such is perhaps that of a former maid.  Guests and employees have heard someone whistling when no one is around, and report a sudden chill and sense that someone is watching them.  Transoms over the doors are often found in the opposite position than that in which they were left, and cleaning supplies are found lying around where no employee has been to clean.  Further, the cleaning products and supplies are never the brand or type that is used by the hotel staff.

*The next third floor ghost is that of Captain Jim, who resides in a three room suite, probably 316.  Captain Jim was first reported in 2005 by a woman staying at the hotel during a local festival.  She had returned to her room to find a man standing, looking out the river towards the river.  She asked him his name and what he was doing.  He replied that his name was Captain Jim and that he was waiting for a boat.  At this time, the woman noticed the man had no legs, and quickly fled the room.  Research shows that a man by the name of Captain James (Jimmy) O'Brien was a captain for the Homer Smith steamboat in 1915.  

*Also on the third floor is a man with a beard and wearing 1930s style clothing.  He is seen frequently in room 314.   A witness later brought back a postcard bearing the picture of Sid Hatfield, the Matewan police chief who was gunned down in McDowell County in 1921, and claimed he was the man she saw.  There is no record that Sid Hatfield ever stayed at the hotel.

*In the fourth floor ballroom, it is said that the sounds of a string-quartet can be heard playing, day or night.  It is best heard at the center of the room, about three feet away from the stairs.

*In addition to the ballroom, the fourth floor also houses storage rooms.  In one of these storage rooms is the rocking chair belonging to Mr. Lowe's widowed mother.  At one point, one of the Finley daughters, Marcia, sneaked up there for a cigarette, and experienced the chair start rocking on its own.

I stayed at the hotel in February of 2009 and unfortunately, nothing of a paranormal nature was witnessed...but for those who don't mind a little TMI, this is the location where my son was conceived!

12 comments:

  1. my wife and i just spent our wedding anniversary at the Lowe Inn and couldnt have had a better time. the staff and the locals create a fun and friendly environment. We'll definately be visiting again,soon

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    1. Glad you enjoyed your stay! Come back for the annual Mothman Festival, held this year on September 21-22!

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  2. I am FROM Point Pleasant and am just hearing about he Lowe Hotel ... don't know how I missed out on this history, particularly since my parents lived across the street when I was a very young child and remember see the old man in a chair in the window. They lived across the street in an apartment ... you can still see the scars from where their balcony used to be. We had a porch swing on that balcony. I can't wait to visit the hotel!

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    1. Please feel free to share how your trip goes after you visit, and thanks for stopping by Theresa's Haunted History!

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  3. Here at the Lowe now. always wanted to visit. we were lucky to be placed in room 316... no sightings old anything. Hope to tour more tomorrow!!

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  4. I stayed there in 2011 and the bedroom I stayed in opened into one of the cross section hallways. If I opened my bedroom door it looked down into one of the hallways that is considered haunted. The room at the end was 'The Captain's Room" or at least that is what they told us on the tour. I didn't experience anything supernatural, we stayed up late and explored the hotel at night and went up into the third floor and sat around quietly, took some pictures and such. But I did have some nightmares and sleep paralysis, which was pretty scary.

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  5. I stayed in 2009. We were in room 312 and 314. As soon as we entered the first room 314 my grand daughter who was 4 at the time started saying it was a bad bad room. She refused to stay in the room that night. Later around 2:40 am my daughter woke me up and wanted to know if I wanted to go down to the mezzanine so I went, normally stuff like that does not scare me. So we start down the hall on the 3rd floor and several doors were cracked open you could hear a squeak of doors and they were pitch black through the crack. Well now I am creeped out so I don't want to stay on the second floor to watch for the dancing girl. We go all the way down to the lobby. My heart was pounding and I do not want to go back upstairs. I just sit in the quiet lobby with my daughter. When the grandfather clock in the lobby struck 3am above us on the balcony someone started to whistle. Let me tell you I went from afraid to horrified fast!!! Finally after about a half and hour we ran up the stairs not stopping for anything and jumped in bed. Nothing happened in the room. When we looked at our pictures there were orbs everywhere. As scared as I was I am thinking of coming back. Just to see you know.

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  6. I am planning a trip to Pt. Pleasant next year. I plan on staying at the Lowe Hotel while in town. Can't wait

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  7. Stayed there2X/took many pics hoping for Orbs/got some/loved the owners-friendly & fun..was fortunate enough to be there when Mr.john Keel visited 4 unveiling of the statue of Mothman. Spoke to him, very genteel & polite but I just asked about his dinner & stupid stuff..to have wasted the opportunity to inquire a little more-big mistake-but a lot of ppl were pestering him, so I decided to let him rest & ponder that which had happened to him & others. Love Pt Pleasant/wonderful locals. Pretty part of the Ohio River.

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  8. Stayed in "haunted suite" nothing particularly bizarre happened, though I can "feel" energy..if that makes sense to some out there

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  9. My husband and I have stayed at the Lowe on 4 separate occasions now. The first time we stayed, we were in room 203 or 204 and as soon as we got in the room, none of our electronics would work...laptop was useless, both cell phones were also useless. My husband, who was not a believer in ghosts, even agreed to sleep with the lights on because we both felt super uneasy, like someone was watching us.

    Our second and third trips both landed us in room 303 which we never did have any experiences.

    The best time was this last week when we returned with our 6 month old son and my Mom. We stayed in room 220, the suite. We all stayed in the two bed room with my sons bed between us. Between two and four in the morning I was awaken several times by the feeling of someone touching my knee (not under covers as it was hot). I would wake up, look around, see nothing (as we kept a light on for our son) and check blankets were not on me at all. This happened about three times. I can best describe it as it felt like a small child tapping my trying to get my attention. When we all woke up about 8am the next day, my Mom reported that she kept feeling someone touch her as well in the bed across the room.

    We all cant wait to stay there again!

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