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Ghosts live on in Galveston legend

Amelia Rayno, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in Travel News

Specific rooms -- on our floor, incidentally -- get the bulk of the action. Doors opening and slamming on their own. Hair dryers unplugged but suddenly blowing air.

"They won't hurt you," she said, as we blinked.

We realized, then, that this cute and quirky city we'd joked was a ghost town during this off-peak time of year (we visited in May) was actually a town full of ghosts.


That night, I barely slept, staring into the crevices of the dark room, then pinching my eyes shut, afraid of seeing something I'd be unable to forget.

The hotel's old bones didn't do much to ease my mind.


Although renovated with marble-topped vanities, tall ceilings and glistening wooden floors, the walls of the Tremont House still creak. Whenever we shut the bathroom door, an anxious, perpetual shuddering would ensue.

But when clearheaded morning logic set in the next day, we started to wonder if it was all a grand scheme -- the hotel industry seizing on folklore and perpetuating it.

Galveston's heyday began in the late 1800s, when it was one of the richest cities in America. After the 1900 hurricane, the city charged back into prominence in unlikely fashion: under the three-decade-long mob leadership of the legendary Maceo brothers, who later played a major role in developing the Las Vegas Strip. The "free state of Galveston" had been Las Vegas-like before the actual Vegas had ever come to be.

Since those so-called glory days, though, Galveston had endured more hurricane damage and the weathering of time. A dated city under the shadow of oil rigs just didn't have the same draw it once did. Perhaps all of this ghost talk was part of an impressive new tourism campaign?


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