Halloween is just around the corner, so what better history to keep alive than the stories of spirits who haunt the historic buildings of downtown Steamboat Springs? The Tread of Pioneers Museum hosts a few ghosts inside our own walls, but many are curious about potential hauntings and ghost stories of our town. We’ve compiled two of the spookier local legends we’ve heard about Steamboat Springs’ historic buildings over the years.
Tales from the Tread
Tales from the Tread columns publish the first and third Wednesdays in the Steamboat Today.
The Ghost of Ninth and Oak Street
The Sequoia building, on the corner of Ninth and Oak streets, has been notorious for hosting a pesky ghost since its beginnings as a home in 1904. In the early 1920s, original homeowner Dr. Kernaghan sold the building to Ray Monson, whose sister, Laura, lived there alone until her death in 1949. Laura spent most of her life sitting in a rocking chair due to a car accident that left her injured. Upon her death, Aunt Laura’s presence was public knowledge, due to one mysteriously moving rocking chair.
Despite warnings of its haunting, the Jones family moved into the furnished house in 1967.
“Things would rearrange themselves, vases and such, little changes that were barely noticeable,” Glenn Jones said. “But then, an old rocking chair started rocking by itself … we figured we’d met the Aunt Laura everyone was talking about.”
Friends would come over to see the chair move, but Aunt Laura spooked in other ways.
“In the middle of the night, the front door opened, then shut, like someone had entered. My dad checked it out, but there were no tracks in the snow.”
Aunt Laura remained unseen, but the television would turn on while everyone was asleep. These hauntings became too much for the family, so Mrs. Jones moved the rocking chair to the attic and sold the house in the early 1970s to local attorney Mike Holloran. He turned the home into the office building, now known as the Sequoia building.
“Many secretaries have been spooked. Nobody wants to work here after hours,” said Holloran, who remodeled the building and sent the rocking chair away. Though it’s been four decades since the building was a haunted home, rumor has it that Aunt Laura still haunts the offices of the Sequoia building.
The Spirit of the Rehder Building
As the First National Bank from 1905 to 1919, the iconic Rehder building, at 803 Lincoln Ave., is a cornerstone of Steamboat Springs’ history. From 1919 to 1937, the building was owned by town marshal and auto dealer E.L. Bradburn, whose temper got his badge confiscated in the 1920s. The spirit of E.L. Bradburn may still loom in the building, because each company or business that has since operated in the Rehder building affirms suspicious activity.
“You get the chills up there. And the dog goes nuts when he’s in the attic, barking like crazy at something you can’t see,” said Rocky LeBrun, who, with Doug Enochs, co-owns the old Antares Restaurant. Enochs reportedly hung seven mirrors around the restaurant at its birth. Within the next few days, all seven mirrors fell off the walls without breaking wires or dislocating hooks.
“Maybe on one of them the wire could’ve bounced the mirror off the hook … but all seven?”
Amy Ruminsky, who also once worked in the building, heard the music of an old-fashioned ice cream truck but could see no evidence of company. Coincidentally (or not) the building used to be an ice creamery.
Though the building has changed businesses, it seems whatever haunts those walls remains and offers downtown Steamboat a spooky history.
Sara Sweeney is Episcopal Service Corps intern for the Tread of Pioneers Museum.