by Luke Warm
of Piedras Negras
railroad bridge joining Piedras Negras with Eagle Pass.
TE photo, 5-04
of the few remaining 19th Century buildings in Piedras Negras can
be found a literal "stone’s throw" from the southernmost abutment
of the railroad bridge that joins that city with Eagle
Pass. Owned by the city of Piedras Negras, the two-story former
hotel was thought to have been built in the early 1900s until Eagle
Pass Historian Al Kinnsal found an ad for hotel dated 1888. The
building’s convenient location - a mere 500 feet from the railroad
depot - guarantees that it has seen legions of guests over the years
as well as more than a few dignitaries.
The current exterior condition of the building is deplorable - that
is to say it's about the same as thousands of small town Texas buildings.
Pigeon-infested with broken staircases and fallen chimneys, the once
wide veranda now has railings that look like termite-eaten cork with
decking of brown Swiss cheese. There is no cornerstone visible nor
any emblem or device that would show ownership by the state, railroad
The haunted railroad
hotel in Piedras Negras
TE photo, 5-04
agenda the day of our visit did not include the hotel. But, after
photographing the railroad bridge, it was necessary to turn around
near the (still-in-use) depot and that's when we spotted the hotel.
As we took photos against a blazing sun, a uniformed policeman appeared.
But instead of asking our business he walked past us through what
is now the hotels front door. “Looking for the ghosts?” he casually
He didn't merely ask "Looking for ghosts?" he asked "Looking for the
Ghosts?" - which made it a question that couldn't be ignored. We asked
for a few minutes of his time and he stepped back outside, smiling
that we had taken the bait. Courtesy and graciousness are abundant
in Mexico (especially
when both parties are pedestrians) and these virtues are freely dispensed
in a country that could teach the world a thing or two about time
Having a city employee living in an otherwise vacant building is a
practical arragement. He gets free rent, the city gets a live-in guard,
the building doesn’t get set ablaze by vandals and the ghosts get
someone to torment - or at least irritate.
officer stated that he hadn't yet seen any headless robed figures,
grotesque horned beings or women in long white gowns carrying their
heads. The spirits evidentl haven’t felt any need to materialize.
They’ve contented themselves to moving things, mumbling at night and
occassionally suspending articles a few inches in midair. Perhaps
they're behaving themselves since their audience is uniformed.
We didn’t ask, but the man offered the age of the hotel as “over 200
years old.” We raised our eyebrows in appreciation since we didn't
know what else to say. When the subject came up on whether it bothered
him to live in a haunted place, the officer answered with a remark
that we’ve heard before in Mexico
when the subject of spirits comes up. “I’m not afraid of the dead,"
he said, " it’s the living that I fear.”
Perhaps one of the many para-normal investigators in Texas
will take the time to check out the hotel. We'll keep our readers
Duty Piedras NegrasTaxi across from hotel.
TE photo, 5-04