In 1845, with the Shawangunk Mountains in the background, Thomas Ritch built a hotel in Napanoch, New York. Claimed to be “one of the area’s best with fine food and new furnishings” by the locals, The then named Napanoch Hotel was a popular destination. Due to the illustrious history and colorful past, the now haunted Shanley Hotel is still a popular place to stay.
In 1851 the named was changed to the Hungerford’s Hotel but the reputation remained the same as it was now quoted as being “one of the most beautiful and commodious public houses to be found in any section of the country”.
The 35 room hotel passed through many owners during its time and in in 1887 Adolph Wagner purchased the property and it had continued success until March 1895. It was this year that a nearby house caught fire and it spread to the hotel burning it down to the foundation. The hotel was rebuilt and reopened in November of that same year right on top of the old foundation.
It continued to change ownership, around 20 times total until 1906 when it was purchased by a successful entrepreneur named James Louis Shanley. Mr. Shanley was a popular man in the community and kept the now Shanley Hotel attractive by adding such things as a bowling alley, billiards room, barber shop and festivities like card tournaments , social events and tea parties.
The Shanley Hotel was extremely popular and also had several visits from family friends, Eleanor Roosevelt and Thomas Edison. The hotel was in its glory days and very successful. Along with those many successes however came tragedy for both the Shanley’s and their employees.
James’ wife Beatrice gave birth to three children. All three died before reaching the age of nine months. Both Beatrice and James suffered from the immense losses but James was said to take them the hardest.
Beatrice’s sister Esther lived in an apartment attached to the hotel. She passed away giving birth to her third child. James and Beatrice then found themselves raising Esther’s two remaining children, Kathleen, age 5, and Marie, age 6.
Tragedy also came to the hotel’s barber, Peter Gregory. According to the local newspaper in May 1911, his four year old daughter lifted the lid of a well on nearby Hoornbeck Farm and fell in head first. She drowned and her body was found two hours later.
In 1937 James Shanley himself suddenly died of a massive heart attack in the hotel. Beatrice decided to sell the hotel after James’s death to Al Hazen. Ironically, Al was born on the same day as James, except a different year and died on the same day as James, the 26th of August just several years later.
The haunted Shanley Hotel have been well documented by several teams and T.V. shows. Many EVP’s, pictures, videos, disembodied voices and objects moving have been found by investigators over the years. Here is one example: