Roadside American Haunts

This isn’t really news, and it’s not exactly about ghosts… but it might be.

Today, I was looking at the updated Flickr collection, Roadside America (Library of Congress photos), and wondered how many of those sites are haunted.

The photo that got my attention shows the New Empire House hotel, at White Lake, NY.

New Empire House Hotel, White Lake, NY
New Empire Hotel, White Lake, Kauneonga Lake, New York / John Margolies Roadside America photograph archive

Roadside American HauntsTo me, that building has “haunted” written all over it.

It’s difficult to articulate why I look at some sites and feel that – without a doubt – they have paranormal activity.

(Feel free to chuckle with a raised eyebrow, and shake your head in disbelief. I won’t be offended.)

Whatever the reason, that Empire House Hotel photo held my interest.

Something’s just not right about that site, and it’s not only the condition of the hotel in that 1976 photo.

It has that “don’t spend the night here if you want any sleep” look to it.

Especially the top floor, which was probably the servants’ quarters.

But is the New Empire House hotel still there? I’m not sure.

I found one “Empire House Hotel” with an appealing hippie sign, but it’s in Gilbertsville, NY. At first glance, it doesn’t have the “ghostly” vibe. So, the food might be great, but I’m not sure I’d investigate it for ghosts.

Another photo of the White Lake hotel – similar to the 1976 photo, above – was taken in 2016. So, the New Empire hotel was still there (and looked abandoned), that recently.

Rolling up my sleeves for some historical research, I discovered that the White Lake area – later made famous by the 1969 Woodstock Festival – was home to many hotels in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

However, some of them did not remain open after the early 1970s.

As Bob Dylan’s song said, the times… they were a-changin’.

How many of those sites are still there, and haunted? I have no idea.

In the 21st century, as a summer getaway, White Lake might be a fascinating area to explore. Camping seems to be a good option, too. (Click here for a list of recommended campgrounds.)

Where to investigate…?  Well, going back to 1904, here’s how the area was described in the newspaper.

Sullivan County 1904

And here’s a closer look at that ad, listing the hotels and boarding houses around White Lake.

Perhaps some of them survived and have ghosts?

White Lake and vicinity hotels, NY

(Note: In a 2015 photo, the nearby Kenmore Hotel appeared partially demolished. I’d bet on ghosts at the ground floor area with the half-circle window, left of the door in that photo. Other than that, it didn’t have the eerie vibe I look for.)

So, this isn’t “new” news and it’s not necessarily ghostly, but the Roadside America photo collection could be a good starting point for anyone seeking fresh haunts to investigate.

That’s especially true if, like me, you look at photos and can sort them into “looks haunted” and “cool and eerie, but not ghostly.”

The New Empire House hotel looks like a site to visit, if the building is still there. Let me know if you find it.

2 thoughts on “Roadside American Haunts”

  1. So if a building is haunted and then the house is torn down what happens to the ghosts?
    Do they continue haunting the property? Do they follow home the people who were destroying their home? Do they finally go into the light?

    I like your new site, by the way. It looks nice. 🙂

    1. Hello, Ksennia!

      I’m only guessing about most of this, but one thing I’m pretty sure about: Ghosts don’t follow anyone. I know just two cases – in all of history – where a ghost actually changed locations. (One of them was Judith Thompson Tyng, and I applaud her commitment to justice.)

      From what I’ve heard, a ghost usually remains at the site he/she/they haunt. Some may finally let go of their fears or whatever holds them here, and cross over, but there’s no way to know what percentage do that (v. remaining here).

      Of course, “green lady” ghosts are a little different. One of them – in New Hampshire (USA) – actually helped firefighters save the home where she one lived. Well, that’s the local legend, anyway. Her name was Ocean-Born Mary, and while she was a real person and it seems as if she haunts Henniker, NH, I’m not convinced she ever lived in the house she supposedly saved from fire.

      She may have visited the site – a home belonging to one of her sons – and maybe she saved the house because it held happy memories for her.

      But, other than those cases, I’m working in the dark (no pun intended) reviewing evidence of ghosts and fires.

      Meanwhile, thanks for the compliment on the site. I like it, too. 😉

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