The Mizpah Hotel – Tonopah, Nevada - Atlas Obscura

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The Mizpah Hotel

In the middle of a remote desert town is a surprisingly opulent hotel.  


Built in 1907 when the central Nevada town of Tonopah was at the height of its silver boom, the Mizpah Hotel opened its doors to provide a place to wow and woo potential investors from the East. It quickly became the town’s epicenter, and at five stories, spent 25 years as the tallest building in Nevada.

The hotel was named for the sobriquet bestowed by a prospector’s wife on the first silver lode discovered in the region, a biblical reference meaning “to come back together with those you love.” The Mizpah’s fortunes fluctuated along with Tonopah’s boom-and-bust mining economy throughout the 20th century, and by 2000, it was shuttered. It went on to spend the next 10 years with its doors chained and windows boarded.

But in 2011, the owners of several Sonoma wineries purchased the Mizpah, renovated it back to its former Wild West glory, and reopened the hotel in October of that year. The stained-glass windows, lighting fixtures, elevator, clawed-foot bathtubs, and the majority of the lobby’s furnishings are said to all be the originals from the 1908 opening. 

The Mizpah has since gained a reputation for its fair share of ghosts, recently being recognized as the number one haunted hotel in the U.S. by USA Today. Several of the suites are named for some of its supposed permanent guests who haunt the room or its surroundings, with a plaque outside each room providing the grisly details.

Stories include a senator whose body was hidden in a bathtub full of ice within the suite before his final election to allow fellow democrats to announce a replacement after his reelection; and the infamous Lady in Red, a 1920s-era prostitute strangled in a jealous rage by one of her johns at the end of the fifth floor hallway, whose ghost is said to leave behind the pearls that tend to mysteriously and inexplicably turn up around the hotel. An ornate book is displayed prominently at the front check-in, in which guests are encouraged to write about their encounters with the Lady herself, the children who haunt the third floor, and the various miners whose apparitions are said to make frequent appearances throughout the hotel.

Know Before You Go

If you book a stay at the hotel, be sure to check out the other eerie sights in this Old West town, such as the Old Tonopah Cemetery and the Clown Motel nearby.

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January 23, 2019

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