Located in the historic centre of Boston, the Omni Parker House has been called the most haunted hotel in New England. As the oldest working hotel in the United States, its walls have seen a lot of history.
The original hotel, Parker House, was built by a man named Harvey D. Parker in 1855. It has had an illustrious 160 year old history some of which has given rise to the reports of hauntings.
Hauntings at the Omni Parker House
- The area may have been haunted even before the hotel was built on the site. In 1770, British soldiers got into a skirmish with some locals who were sledding on the hill where the hotel is now located. In the gunshots which were subsequently fired, apparently five children were killed.
- Hotel room 303 was the inspiration for Stephen King’s short story 1408 about a haunted hotel room. The story was turned into the movie 1408 in 2007 starring John Cusack.
- After a travelling liquor salesman killed himself in room 303, guests kept complaining about the smell of whiskey and cigarettes in the room. Now the room is used as storage.
- Elevators sometimes stop on the third floor even if no buttons are pushed. Some people 19th century poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is visiting the third floor. He would meet other intellectuals of the day (such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Oliver Wendell Holmes) on the third floor. They held a monthly meeting of the so-called Saturday Club to discuss important topics over a nice meal and lots of alcohol.
- A well known 19th century actress, Charlotte Cushman, lived at the hotel for a period of time. She died of natural causes in her suite of rooms on the third floor as well.
- The hotel is supposedly haunted by the ghost of Harvey Parker. Visitors have reported seeing his apparition on the 10th floor asking them if they enjoyed their stay at the hotel. He clearly had perfectionist and control issues.
Other interesting trivia about the Omni Parker House
- John F. Kennedy proposed to Jacqueline Onassis at Table 40 of the Parker Restaurant.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow drafted the famous poem, Paul Revere’s Ride, here.
- Charles Dickens stayed at the hotel for two years. He gave his first reading of A Christmas Carol at the hotel. He hung out with the members of the Saturday Club.
- Future Vietnamese Communist leader Ho Chi Minh worked as a pastry chef at the Parker Restaurant.
- Malcolm Little (known better as Malcolm X) bussed tables at the Parker Restaurant.
- The Boston Creme Pie was invented at the Parker Restaurant. This pie was invented by a fancy French chef who Mr. Parker lured to Boston with a salary of $5000 a year. This sum was astronomical when you realise other good Boston chefs at the time were making about $500 annually.
The Omni Parker House is located at 60 School Street in the Financial District of Boston. It is a member of the Historic Hotels of America. The location is terrific and an easy walk to many attractions. I personally found all the wood-panelling too traditional. I prefer my hotels more contemporary in style. Even if you don’t stay here, it is worth a quick detour of the Freedom Trail to have a look at this historic hotel.