HAUNTED PLACE: BLACKHAWK HOTEL
200 East 3rd Street #3,
Davenport, Iowa 52801
The Blackhawk Hotel can be found in downtown Davenport on E. 3rd St. between S. Brady Street and N. Pershing Avenue.
Directions: From W. River Dr. turn left on a one way street, South Brady Street. Travel 2 blocks north to 3rd Street, and turn right onto E. 3rd Street. The hotel is in the middle of this block.
Standing in front of this once grand hotel, and looking at its front view on E. 3rd Street, The Blackhawk Hotel surely does look the part of a haunted hotel as of August of 2008, when Tom and I visited this once elegant eleven storied brick hotel, with a marble facade, that is currently falling apart in spots. Tom peeked in the front lobby window and saw an abandoned mess. However, when we walked across the street to get a view of its block long side, one can see that this tough old gal still has good structural bones, though the inside is a disaster on some floors. We saw hopeful signs in its parking lot that someone still cared for it. The Blackhawk Hotel is a great candidate for restoration; a long process which will hopefully start soon!
In its glory days, it must have been as grand as The Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood. This once glorious, high-end Blackhawk Hotel was built in 1915, during an economic boom period in Davenport. It originally was a seven storied hotel. In the 1920s, money was flowing into the city, and so four stories were added, creating a 400 room brick hotel, with a fancy frontage, complete with marble accents around the windows.
During its long history, prominent guests stayed at the Blackhawk Hotel, from movie stars to politicians. Carey Grant, Carl Sandburg, Herbert Hoover, Richard Nixon and Jack Dempsey were some of its more distinguished guests.
The joint must have been jumping during the roaring twenties, and throughout the following years, with live music, gala affairs in its huge ballroom, and in its more intimate lounge area. Big bands such Guy Lombardo and Stan Kenton played their music for the entertainment of many.
In the late 1970s, the economic growth which was enjoyed in Davenport flat-lined. The city of Davenport jumped into action and took urban renewal seriously, and built a new civic center, called Rivercenter, a good first step in their attempt to revitalize downtown. Over the years this effort to revitalize downtown Davenport has proven to be an uphill battle in which they have made good progress, seeing improvements as a result of their efforts.
A turn of bad luck for Davenport and The BlackHawk Hotel happened in the 1980s. A farming crisis brought economic pain and job loss, which their economy needed as much as a hole in the head.
However, Iowans are tough people who don't give up. In the 1990s, when the economy picked up a bit, a convention center was built near the Blackhawk Hotel. Plus, many new additions to existing buildings and renovations took place, and the construction of new buildings such as the Figge Art Museum brought new energy into the city. Plans to attract visitors downtown started with sprucing up their outside, public areas, such as the fixing up of Modern Woodmen Park. In order to develop the river front area and build a new hotel which was badly needed, the city struck a deal with a gambling organization, The Isle of Capri who also bought the then dowdy Blackhawk Hotel. Uh oh!
While this seemed like a good idea at the time, it proved to be disastrous for the Blackhawk Hotel. It reopened as The President Casinos Blackhawk Hotel, with close proximity to a gaming casino. Unfortunately, The Isle of Capri reneged on building the new hotel which was needed downtown, and proved to be "unkind" to the Blackhawk Hotel, severely neglecting its needs, letting it sink down to the level of a low-budget hotel for their gamblers. Over the next few years, it sank even further, and was described by a former guest as a "flophouse."
Damage occurred on the inside when some gamblers set up a meth lab, which exploded, causing a fire, damaging one floor. Other floors suffered water damage as a result of fire men's hoses. However, it was the lack of effort during a cold spell to prevent the freezing and bursting of the water pipes which finally closed this hotel, leaving the convention center in a spot, as there was now no hotel at all, except the Radisson, to take its visitors, making it hard to book shows and conventions there.
After some political wrangling and some good choices made by the city council, the Blackhawk Hotel was recently sold directly for a dollar to an experienced, enthusiastic hotel restoration/renovation company, Restoration Saint Louis. The Isle of Capri company was motivated finally to do so because of their own tax bill of 100,000 dollars, and because of the pressure coming from the city council to do so.
In August of 2008, the state of Iowa awarded Restoration Saint Louis, a huge tax incentive of $8.5 million dollars, a huge tax credit which will help to raise more money through other investors, turning the tax credit into restoration and renovation funding. This tough old gal of a hotel has a future now, and we can't wait to see The Blackhawk Hotel when it is finally restored.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS:
It is unknown why at least two known entities are still visiting this hotel, perhaps making it their home in their after-life.
People who enjoy, or have a strong attachment to a place during their life-time, sometimes choose to hang around, remembering their good times, or the events which took place there.
(The Roosevelt Hotel * Saint James Hotel * Menger Hotel * National Pastime Theatre)
Superstar Cary Grant died in a room on the eighth floor from a cerebral hemorrhage on November 29th, 1986.
Perhaps, other men and women died here too.
Female entity from the glory days of the Blackhawk Hotel:
A pleasant female entity, dressed in a red or blue evening dress and attire to match, has been seen floating contently down the halls of the hotel, perhaps on her way down to the grand ballroom for an evening of dining, dancing and enjoying great music.
Entity of a musician who used to perform solo or with a band haunts the ballroom.
Some unknown entity plays the piano, as piano music has been heard coming from the ballroom, when no one living was there.
The entity of an elderly, well-dressed man has been seen by witnesses going about his business in the hotel - Some say it is Cary Grant.
While no professional paranormal investigations have taken place, many witnesses over the years have reported the above manifestations.
geocities.com * ghosttraveller.com * diepart.com * travel.yahoo.com
en.wikipedia.org * hotelsinsider.travelhero.com * qctimes.com