The Haunted Pfister Hotel
As the vision of businessman Guido Pfister and his son, Charles, The Pfister opened in 1893, billed as the “Grand Hotel of the West,” a welcoming and luxurious meeting place. Succeeding on both fronts, this historic Milwaukee hotel was the most lavish hotel of its time, costing nearly $1 million; it featured groundbreaking innovations such as: fireproofing, electricity throughout the hotel and individual thermostat controls in every room. Designed by architect Charles Koch, the hotel features a Romanesque Revival design.
Fast-forward to 1962, when, after over half a century of operation the Pfister was showing its age. Movie Theatre operator Ben Marcus purchased the hotel at auction with the intent of renovating the historic Milwaukee hotel to its original beauty. As part of the Marcus investment in the property, a new 23-story guest room tower was added in the 1960s as well.
Many have compared this spirited hotel to Disneyland's Haunted Mansion. Charles Pfister, who died in 1927, has been rumored to haunt the Pfister Hotel for decades. He’s been seen all over the building overlooking his grand hotel and ensuring hospitality for all guests . . . except, maybe, baseball players.
Since the first mention in Sports Illustrated in 2001, Major League baseball players have been reporting harrowing experiences. A common destination for ballplayers and celebrities, many have had documented experiences. Players report problems with the room lights and televisions and are sometimes locked out of their own bathrooms. They report that sometimes things in the room are not where they left them the night before. One Texas Rangers player may have even seen an apparition that scared him so badly he needed to see the team chaplain. Ball player Carlos Gomez heard voices. Then he watched his iPod go haywire after he got out of the shower, sending him scrambling for the lobby without stopping to put on his pants and shoes. His sentiment is shared by other major league baseball players like Pablo Sandoval, Jason Heyward and Justin Upton have paid their own way to stay somewhere else when playing in Milwaukee. More stories can be found in the book of baseball ghost stories called Field of Screams. The first chapter in the book is devoted to Pfister ghost stories.
424 East Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53202
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