Do Spirits Permanently Reside at Cleveland's Renaissance Hotel?

Ralph DiMatteo History

Downtown Cleveland Renaissance Hotel

Is Cleveland's Renaissance Hotel haunted?

It’s a question that can be asked of pretty much any location reported to have either actual ghost sightings or unexplained occurrences associated with it.

Once a sighting happens, the focus becomes on who might the person or persons be, how long they have been there, and - probably most importantly - what has caused them to become permanently attached to a particular place or property.

One of Cleveland’s oldest hotels, the Renaissance, is at 24 Public Square and its rich history is certainly no exception.

The Renaissance began as the Hotel Cleveland in 1918 on land that had a unique history dating back as far as the early 1800s, with its beginnings as Mowry’s Tavern in 1814. 

Mowry’s evolved into The Forest City House, which reportedly was a very nice hotel itself that was demolished in 1916 for the arrival of the Renaissance a few years later.

As far as the strange or unexplained sightings or occurrences are concerned, most of them over the years seem to be confined to the fourth floor of the hotel.

Many of the reports center around toilets flushing on their own, doors opening and closing - even slamming - and actual sightings of people going in and out of rooms that turned out to be vacant.

As mentioned earlier in this piece, this is where the fun of ghost hunting begins, the speculations about “who and why.”

Who Are the Ghosts of the Renaissance Hotel?

One widely held thought is construction workers that may have perished in the dangerous business of building structures of this kind. Or maybe it could be workers who have chosen to stay behind to watch over this Cleveland jewel for all time, proud of their contribution to its construction and how it has stood the test of time.

Another theory is that since this iconic cornerstone of Cleveland history has seen its share of everyday people and celebrity guests and residents over the years - everyone from Elliot Ness to Duke Ellington and Martin Luther King Jr. - that perhaps some folks, celebrity or otherwise, are back for some additional vacationing.

I happen to be friends with someone who works there today as a bartender, who needs to remain anonymous because the hotel’s marketing department does not generally embrace the property’s haunted history, as they feel it might deter potential guests.

This person has told me they can personally verify not only guests sharing with them over a cocktail their sightings and experiences with strange goings on, but their own firsthand experiences with voices, often several at a time being heard in parts of the hotel where no one else is. Their theory is they are continuing conversations at an event the spirits attended at some point in time in the hotel’s storied history.

Could these sightings or occurrences date as far back as the property’s humble beginnings as Mowry’s Tavern? No one knows for sure, so to find out for yourself, you will just have to book a stay. And when you do, stop by the bar, strike up a conversation, and who knows, the bartenders just might open up a bit with no one watching.

(Image source: Google)

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