Residing in some of the Capitol City’s most historical and elaborate buildings, the spirits of Austin’s history don’t want to leave.
The Driskill Hotel
The Driskill Hotel, built in 1886 and renovated most recently in 1999, is still Austin’s most elegant hotel—and a popular be-and-be-seen meeting place for politicians, celebrities, and the like. But ”see-and-be-seen” may be an understatement. Hotel guests and staff members have seen, smelt, and felt the presence of ghosts. Mrs. Bridges, still wearing her old Victorian-style clerk uniform, frequents the lobby. The young daughter of an old senator bounces a ball down the grand stair case. An old resident checks his pocket watch on the elevator. Founder Jesse Driskill has even been spotted around the hotel.
The fourth and fifth floors supposedly creak the most, and the elevators go up and down (without any riders) throughout the night. In fact, rock group Concrete Blonde’s song “Ghost of a Texas Ladies’ Man” was inspired by the night the band stayed at the Driskill Hotel and saw lights blinking and doors opening on their own.
The Governor’s Mansion
Since its completion in 1856, 39 of Texas’s first families have resided in this picturesque white brick mansion with six 29-foot columns. While most governors move out at the end of their term, it is believed the spirit of Sam Houston still roams the residence. Whether his spirit remains, Houston did leave behind a memento for future first families to enjoy. He purchased the grandiose mahogany bed that is in the southeast bedroom. It is the very bed in which his wife, Margaret Houston, gave birth to the Houston’s eighth child, Temple Lea Houston. She was the first baby born in the mansion.
Houston’s ghost is just one explanation for the strange noises and bumps in the night. Others believe the one responsible for the mysterious door slams and the sounds of knobs turning is the ghost of Governor Pendleton Murrah’s nephew who committed suicide around the year 1864. It is said that his ghost lives in the northern bedroom of the mansion.
Long before the state capitol building stood on Congress Avenue at Eleventh Street, a Texas scout and his Indian lover haunted the land. Or so the story goes. Supposedly, the two wander in and around the beautiful pink granite structure.