Construction on the building began in 1916, but it wasn't until 1920 that the facility opened up as an early medical clinic for the city of Lexington and surrounding areas, under such founders as Dr. Waller Bullock and others. And, like a good clinic of its time, the basement served as the city's first official morgue. The clinic would only remain at its West Second Street location until it moved out in 1958. It was replaced shortly thereafter by an engineering firm that housed its offices in the old clinic.
|Photo from TripAdvisor|
This distinction comes from both the show, This Old House, which did a special on historic haunted homes, featuring the Gratz in one of the top spots, but also USA Today. In a 2003 article, USA Today listed the hotel as one of the top 10 Great Places to Get in Bed with a Ghost, for its "strange men in guestrooms, intoxicated apparitions partying in the halls, or a diaphanous lady in a white dress and hat."
There is definitely a plethora of paranormal activity at the hotel, and the list of manifestations include lights turning themselves on and off, phantom knocking on guests' doors, sightings of a forlorn looking man on the lower level, and an elderly man who plays tricks on the maids by messing with the television sets.
Among all this activity, two ghosts in particular stand out to the Gratz Park Inn staff. The first is a young girl who staff have named "Lizzie." Lizzie likes to open and close doors, tug at guests' sleeves, and play jacks on the third floor. Whenever a guest complains of being kept awake at night by children playing and running down the halls, staff knows it has to be Lizzie!
The other prominent specter is that of a man known as John. A member of the staff has seen an African-American gentleman in a plaid shirt, with his hands over his face. It wasn't until later that a journal was found in the basement, describing the early years of the inn as the city's clinic. According to the Mystery Monday segment linked below, John was the first patient of the new clinic, who came in asking for help with a possible gunshot wound.
Oddly enough the majority of paranormal activity and ghost sightings occur during the DAY, but staff is quick to point out that the strange noises, etc. can still be experienced at night as well!
Bit of the Bluegrass
Mystery Monday video on Youtube
Southern Spirit Guide
Gratz Park Inn Website