Hotel Del Coronado                                        Back to Famous Haunted Places

by Walter Bissell
hotel del coronado
The Hotel Del Coronado is located at 1500 Orange Avenue, Coronado, California.  This massive all wooden structure sits on the southern tip of North Island just across the bay from San Diego.
The Hotel Del Coronado is home for the rich and famous guests of the largest Victorian beach resort on the North American Pacific Coast.  It is one of the oldest and largest hotels on the beach, facing the Pacific Ocean.  It is the brainchild of retired railroad executive Elisha S. Babcock from Evansville, Indiana.

On December 19, 1885, Elisha Babcock, Hampton Story, of the Story and Clark Piano
Company of Chicago; and Jacob Gruendike, president of the First National Bank of San
Diego bought North Island for $110,000.  The Hotel Del Coronado was built in 1888 at the
cost of one million dollars.  Labor for the hotel was provided largely by Chinese immigrants
from the area.

Although quite famous for frequent visits from Presidents and movie stars, it may be the
visits of Kate Morgan’s ghost that give this luxurious resort the most notoriety.  Kate and
her husband Thomas were noted con artists.  To keep their true identities from being
known, they had made reservations at the Hotel Del Coronado under the assumed names
of Lottie A. Bernard and Dr. M.C. Anderson.  Their plan was that Kate, aka Lottie, a very
beautiful 24-year-old, would play the part of Thomas’ sister. She would entice young men
to court her but they must first have the approval of her overprotective brother Thomas, aka
Dr. M.C. Anderson.  To gain his favor, she would suggest that her suitor should play poker
with him, since that was his favorite game.  After cheating the young man out of his money,
Lottie would end the courtship and look for another sucker.

Legend has it that in route to Coronado, Kate informed Thomas that she was pregnant.  
Thomas was up set, fearing this would end their scam.  They had a huge argument and   
he left the train in Orange, California.  Kate went on to the Hotel Del Coronado.

On Thanksgiving 1892, she checked into room 3312, to wait for her husband to arrive. She
waited for several days but Tom never showed up.  One morning Kate took the ferry to San
Diego checking the registry of hotels to see if Thomas had checked in.  While in the city,
she was reported to have bought a .44 caliber pistol and some shells.  She returned to the
hotel and was found dead the next morning on the steps of the veranda, leading to the
beach.  The hotel reported her death a suicide stating that she had all the symptoms of
quinine poisoning.  A large bottle of quinine was found in her room and they suspected she
had tried to abort the baby.  Some feel that the hotel called her death a suicide by poison
to protect its good name, because forensic evidence revealed that she was shot in her
right temple.  There was no exit wound or blood on her hand or the gun, which was found
“two steps above her hand.”  Murder or suicide, Kate’s death still remains a mystery.
Soon after Kate Morgan's death, hotel staff reported that room 3312 was haunted.   
Drapes were seen moving behind closed windows, screens fell off the windows and a
strange glow was seen coming from the room when there was no one around.  Kate's
ghost has been seen standing at the windows and walking down the hotel’s hallways.

Room 3312 is not the only room at Hotel Del Coronado that is thought to be haunted.  Kate
had become friends with one of the maids who lived in room 3502.  The day after Kate’s
funeral, the maid mysteriously disappeared.  Could Tom Morgan have killed the maid as
well as his wife?  The lights in room 3502 flicker and sometimes turn on and off by
themselves.  Objects moving around, cold breezes blowing even when the windows are
closed, the sound of murmuring and oppressive feelings have been experienced in this
room.  It is rumored that years earlier, the mistress of Elisha Babcock lived in room 3502.  
She, like Kate, took her own life soon after she learned that she was pregnant.  Her body is
said to have just disappeared, “perhaps removed by someone wishing to avoid an ugly

Other “paranormal” guests at the hotel are said to be the ghosts of a little boy and girl
running down the hall and playing on the stairs.  Also seen is a woman in a Victorian style
dress gliding across the dance floor.  

Welcome, to the Hotel del Coronado. Come check in as our guests. Many before you
have checked in, some of them may not have checked out! To make your visit in America's finest city more comfortable, stay only at the best hotels San Diego has to offer!

Ghost Pictures taken at Hotel Del Coronado:
Hotel Del Coronado Ghost Pictures - (no submissions available at this time)
Hotel Del Coronado Ghost Story Video
For more information visit the:
Hotel Del Coronado Official Site
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