Gold Hill Hotel and Saloon has the distinction as being the oldest existing hotel in Nevada, as it has been serving people since 1859 when it was built after the huge gold and silver discovery was made in the adjacent mountains.
The current building is a nice combination of the original stone and brick structure and the various renovations made throughout the years. As one enters, one passes a quaint outside patio eating area, before entering the original stone and brick first floor. As one steps into the great room, one notices that the room has a large fire place, with small tables on one side of the room, and on the other side of the room one sees a sitting area that has lovely, period-style furniture of the era.
A doorway from this sitting area leads into a fine 1962 brick and hand-laid stone addition, a cozy bar, with interesting decorum.
In 1986, the owners added a new kitchen and a new dining room off the other side of the great room. The dining room has lovely windows that overlook the mountains.
There is a winding staircase that connects the great room to the second floor guest rooms and hotel office and gift shop. The original five guest rooms are located over the original great room and new bar. Each has a verandah/balcony. These original 5 rooms are kept true to their original design, and are kept cool by ceiling fans and small unobtrusive fans in the windows, plus the lovely breezes that blow off their own verandahs/balconies. No televisions can be found in these rooms. They are furnished with antique furniture, both originals and reproductions. The bathroom in Room 4 has a huge, old fashioned bathtub.
The 1986 additions included 8 more new rooms, built over the new dining room and kitchen areas. While they have air conditioning and television, they are also decorated with antique furniture.
The original two story building described above was first known as The Riese House, until 1862 when Horace Vessy leased the property and built a 3 story wooden building adjacent to the original building. Offering fine dining and entertainment as well as rooms, the now Vessy Hotel flourished for twenty years. In 1887 it changed hands again, and became Capitol Hotel and Lodging. By 1890, the wooden building put up by Vessy was completely gone, but the original hotel building was going strong.
During the following years, the building was used as a hotel, a boarding house, a private residence. In the 1950s it once again became The Gold Hill Hotel. By 1958, the now sagging hotel was bought by Fred Doro, who renovated the entire structure, renewing its rooms and giving it yet another life. Under his watch, the 1962 bar was also added.
In 1986, the hotel was bought by Carol and Bill Fain who not only renovated the place again, but added the new dining room, kitchen, and 8 new rooms upstairs. They also added the wooden structure that now wraps around the hotel.
The Gold Hill Hotel and Saloon continues to serve the community and visitors alike. They offer fine dining (lunch and dinner), authentic, elegant era rooms, a place in the community for special events, dinner theater in the fall, group meetings, weddings and a Tuesday night lecture series, on a wide variety of subjects.
The living aren't the only ones attracted to this old western hotel. Ghosts also are appreciative of all the work done in the renovations. A conversation with Melody, the hotel manager brings to light their interactions with the living. Our personal experiences reinforce her reports.
A female entity, "Rosie," resides in Room 4 — Some suspect that she may have been a lady of the night. She has taken a liking to this room, and has moved in.
Upon walking into the room, people have been enveloped with the strong smell of roses.
Rosie likes to turn the lights on and off in this room.
Rosie likes to play tricks on the living by moving objects and personal belongings of the guests around.
An incident told to me by Melody, the hotel's manager:
One lady had carefully laid out her belongings on the high poster, canopied bed, including her keys. The lady went into the bathroom for a moment. When she came back her keys were gone. After searching the room, she happened to once again look on the bureau, and there they were. The keys weren't there a moment before.
Tom and I also had an experience with Rosie in this room. After a hard day of traveling and tromping around Virginia City, I was really looking forward to taking a bath in that glorious bathtub. However, when I went into the bathroom to draw the water, there was no tub stopper anywhere; Not on the brass soap holder, or on the sink, or on the wooden towel shelves. I left the bathroom for just a moment to tell Tom that the stopper was missing. When I came back into the bathroom, the white stopper magically was sitting on the golden brass soap holder.
"William" in Room 5 — This male entity is thought to be one of the 47 miners who died in the horrible fire that raced through the Yellowjacket Mine, that is just behind the hotel.
Upon entering the room, people have smelled the strong odor of tobacco.
On occasion, William will play practical jokes on the living when so inspired. After Tom and I had dinner in the upscale dining room, I decided to go up to our room, (room 5), with the room key. Knowing that Tom was going to follow me soon, I left the door unlocked, and went to read out on the verandah. About fifteen minutes later, my reading time was interrupted by Tom, who came outside on ground level, by our verandah to get my attention, after finding himself locked out of the room. William couldn't resist, and had locked the door for a chuckle.
When the hotel is quiet, Melody reports that a throng of unseen children can be heard giggling and running around the upstairs halls, always accompanied by the wonderful smell of chocolate chip cookies.
A ghost hunters group, after a meeting at the hotel, set up their equipment and discovered that the great room is a popular spot for ghosts to hang out, like they probably did while they were alive.
This hotel has had a long hiThe story of providing nourishment, nice accommodations and entertainment, and many have enjoyed the time they spent there. Besides Rosie and William, and a group of children, many still do, even when they have passed on.