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BULLEThistory archive

History Archive Photo
Prescott's Hotel Vendome as it looked in the 1920s

© Sharlot Hall Museum

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Ghost Story
The historic Hotel Vendome has been through a lot, including near-bankruptcy and life as a flophouse. Today, however, the property is one of Prescott's points of pride, despite its resident ghost and her ghost-cat companion.

By Kayla Frost

In 1917, J.B. Jones, a cowboy-turned-rancher, bought a plot of land in the heart of Prescott and built a two-story, red-brick hotel. He named it Hotel Vendome. Business came easy in those days — people were flocking to Prescott for the mining opportunities and the advertised health benefits of the city’s fresh air. Hotel Vendome has since been through a dozen different owners, including a baker, a carpenter and an FBI agent.

Some of those owners upheld Jones’ vision of running “the classiest place in town,” but others fell short. For a while, Hotel Vendome was even considered a flophouse — cheap and rundown. It was the type of place that people usually crossed the street to avoid.

Then, in 1983, investors decided to restore the hotel to its former glory, but the project collapsed to the brink of bankruptcy. As a result, the Resolution Trust Corp. took over the renovation, both preserving and modernizing the building. Now, Hotel Vendome, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a point of pride in Prescott.

Like many historic buildings, Hotel Vendome is haunted by ghost stories. The most common is about Abby Byr and her cat, Noble. According to the legend, Byr stayed at the hotel in the early 1920s while suffering from severe tuberculosis. One day, her husband left to get her medical attention and never returned. Heartbroken, Abby refused to eat or drink. Eventually, she died with Noble in room 16. But did they ever leave?

Hotel guests and employees say the benevolent spirit occasionally rearranges objects and messes with lights, fans and faucets. And some people claim they’ve heard a cat — Noble, perhaps — purring, scratching and meowing in the closet.

Hotel Vendome is located at 230 S. Cortez Street in Prescott. For more information, call 928-776-0900 or visit www.vendomehotel.com.

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