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The El Tovar Hotel Sign
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The Santa Fe Railroad originally planned the Hotel in 1902 and it was supposed to be named the Bright Angel Tavern, but was named the El Tovar after Pedro de Tovar of the Coronado expedition. It was designed by Charles Whittlesey, chief architect of the Santa Fe Railway. On January 14th, 1905 the El Tovar Hotel opened its doors just twenty feet from the south edge of the Grand Canyon and was one of a chain of hotels owned by the Fred Harvey Company. It’s huge and has tremendously beautiful views and is at the end of the Grand Canyon Railway that starts down in Williams Arizona. The El Tovar was built by the Fred Harvey and over the years have served such luminaries as Teddy Roosevelt, Zane Grey and even Albert Einstein.

The Parking Lot El Tovar Grave

The famed Harvey Girls staffed the hotel and brought a civilized charm to the area. The girls stayed there forever and some of the region’s prominent families are descendents of the Harvey Girls. One interesting thing is a little strange is a grave in the parking lot area, or rather right at the entrance of the parking lot area. Some say it is a Harvey Girl that died in the hotel, and people have seen a dark black cloaked figure coming up from the stairs to the right of the hotel, move towards the grave, and disappear behind the Hopi House. Others have said that this is not the burial place of a Harvey Girl named Pirl, but of a cowboy who died in 1934. Either way, something seems to be cutting across the grave, something dark and scary.

The Parking Lot El Tovar Grave

Another ghost that appears around Christmas time, is not scary at all, in fact it is the ghost of Mr. Harvey himself and he appears on the third floor, wandering around and inviting guests to the Christmas Holiday Gathering. Again, not really frightening, just interesting, the portrait of Mr. Harvey is hung on one wall and the eyes seem to follow you wherever you go.

The Hallway in the Haunted El Tovar Hotel

Other spots in the hotel that see paranormal activity are the kitchen and the third floor. Though when I visited the hotel was warm, nice and full of a lot of people, which would make it hard to spot anything out of the ordinary with so many around. It’s an amazing hotel though, great views of the canyon, huge decks and porches and lots of benches and rocking chairs that you can relax on and just stare off into the canyon. The restaurant while I was there was baking something with a lot of cinnamon, resting on that porch with that smell in the air and the beautiful weather conditions made me want to sit there for hours. I will visit again, perhaps when it’s less crowded and stay for awhile, ghosts or not, it’s one of the best places to stay.

Updated August 9th, 2009