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ROOMS WITH A PAST
TEXAS HOTELS BUILT BEFORE 1950 :
Number 1 in a Series

Schulenburg's Heartbreak Hotel*
The Uninvited at the Von Minden

Schulenburg, Texas

by John Troesser

Von Minden Hotel, Schulenburg, Texas
Von Minden Hotel
TE photo

We first heard of the Von Minden's ghost while sitting in the comfort of the Schulenburg Library, a place with a ghost of it's own.

Our visit to the Hotel Lobby at 3:00 in the afternoon found the lobby empty, the day's mail on the desk clerk's counter and a 1961 hotel directory tucked into a holder. We followed the script, calling "Hello" several times and receiving no answer. There was also no guest register or we would've checked for familiar names. Clyde Barrow. Ma Barker. Casper? Except for the 1961 directory and a 1947 set of encyclopedias, this was a thirties type of place. Built in 1927, the date appears on a stone in front, but not the corner one.

We climbed the stairs slowly; half hoping someone would stop us. Dark paneled walls and small metal numerals on the doors; there was nothing in sight except a maid's cart left unattended on the second floor. A window met us at the third floor and we gazed down, wondering if the altitude would be fatal to a jumper. We had seen enough, and turned, making mental notes and finding room 33 open and vacant. Wasn't that door closed when we walked to the window? As a matter of fact it was.

The spartan room just sat there and we had a vision in our mind's eye of Frank Sinatra in Some Came Running, wearing his khakis, and unpacking his "duffle" from his duffle bag. We descended to the lobby and nothing had changed. We left.

Schulenberg Texas haunted hotel lobby
Von Minden Hotel lobby
Photo courtesy Larry Bob Raymond

We returned at 6 PM to Momma's Pizza, which is located at the rear of the Hotel and Theater. We spoke with Uncle Garrett and Nephew Warren who were both busy, but answered questions readily. We were fed sandwiches of pizza ingredients and soft drinks in a size we didn't know existed. When asked about the ghost, Garrett asked, "which one?" "The suicide," we replied. It was then we learned that there were at least two.

Room 23 was a Railroad worker who went to bed sick and woke up dead and they had to have a co-worker (a very small co-worker) climb through the transom to open the locked door. Room 37 was a returning WWII veteran who found his girl had married someone else. As the old joke goes, the ground would've broken his fall, but sadly in this case his neck encountered the clothesline.

Garrett lives on the hotel's forth floor and has encountered Ms. X several times. His description is quite detailed. A polka-dot dress and a broad-brimmed straw hat, white gloves, about 20 years old and carrying a cardboard suitcase, Ms. X depends on the kindness of strangers for directions.

"They're always simple directions to give," said Garrett, "but after you turn to point or gesture, when you turn back around she's gone."

Nephew Warren told us of seven (count them) SEVEN! teenagers who vandalized the City Cemetery. They were all found hanging from a rafter in an old barn near the graveyard. This story has great currency among young Schulenburgers and the next day we found the City Cemetery to be nearly devoid of vandalism. Our hats go off to the inventor of this fabrication; it's cleverly solved a problem many small towns have.

Garrett apologized for the untidiness of the hotel, and explained that the maid had quit. "Had she seen the ghost?" we asked . "No", replied Garrett, "She found a better-paying job."

The Cozy Theater - next page
Another visit, another family member and another ghost

John Troesser


*Elvis Presley's hit song was indeed inspired by a newspaper clipping of a jilted lover's suicide in a lonely hotel.

More Texas Ghosts

Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories, landmarks and recent or vintage photos, please contact us.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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