The Morse Mill Hotel
A Pre Civil War Bed & Breakfast.
BUILDING: The 1st thing we did when we put the building under contract was have it reviewed, by the structural engineer. We heard it was falling part. The report was surprising, the only part of the structure needing attention was the basement staircase. It was obvious the bridge engineer who built it was going to ensure it's longevity. The 24" thick stone walls in the middle of the basement, the stone bridge foundation in the basement and the 3 x 5 inch oak studs in the walls are not for show.
STOPPING THE DEMOLITION: The day (4 months after I had a contract to purchase) that I closed on this building, the Jefferson County Building Department was waiting for me in a old white Jeep Cherokee in front of the building-1 guy. They apparently were waiting also for the closing. Not for a meet & greet, not by a long shot. They handed me a 10 day condemnation letter. They waited because they needed someone to pay for the demolition of the building! The only reason the building still stands is because on my dashboard was a 82 page copy of the Engineer's report, including calculations, it was all there! I smiled and gave him a copy. They didn't see that coming!!!
I briefly saw the original guest register, it was taken by the family that gutted the building of all it's fixtures for a sum of $2,000. The last time I saw it, the register was stashed under a sofa, slowly decaying. I offered to have a climate controlled case built, and or hire a conservator to ensure it would be preserved, not a chance-what do I know I'm just the contractor that bought the old hotel, nd stopped it's destruction.
1st settled in 1816, as a farmhouse when it was still Spanish Territory, within the Louisiana Territory. John H. Morse purchased it in 1856 and added on making it the structure that it is today. Mr. Morse was a Bridge Engineer, Confederate sympathizer, among other things. Built of Maple, Bur Oak, Walnut, Cypress and Limestone. The wood floors are the original floors, so your stepping where Jesse James, Al Capone, Serial killers, Charles Chaplain, Lindbergh, and others have walked. He did not tear down the original house, it's framing makes up parts of the walls. He built around and on top of the farmhouse.
The hotel was a very popular place during the 1920’s and 30’s. The elite of St. Louis visited often. It was a close weekend getaway to escape the sweltering summers in St Louis. The guests came from all over the world including Africa, Switzerland, Cuba, Philippines Islands, Bombay India, London England, Berlin Germany, Austria and Hong Kong China. One of my personal favorites marked in the register is on Saturday, September 5th, 1931 Zarna and her trained seal Suzanne. The famous guests include black and white film star Clara Bow, Betty Boop was created in her likeness. Tom Mix, a black and white cowboy film star. Pilot Charles Lindbergh and gangster Al Capone also marked their stay here. Jesse James, and his brothers as well. Charlie Chaplin marked the register of his stay here! He was a known ’Womanizer’. A nearby elder woman says when she was a child her Mom would complain about this Chaplin man carrying on with the young girls.
Jesse James and his Brothers stayed here. They are known to associate with Mr. Morse( a confederate sympathizer). One of them was a cartoonist, drawing a stone archway in the register. Some evidence suggests the Hotel may have helped the effort to return rebels back to the south. It is referred to as “the Secession Railroad” or “the Chip Trail".
We have eye witness accounts from elders, they say 60 years ago as kids they use to play in the tunnel beneath the basement floor, that went from beneath our basement floor under the road to the river edge into the ice house across the street. In the future, we will enter the 22' deep cistern in the basement floor, and open the wall that closed off the tunnel. The slave dungeon is where the biggest known spirit resides-"Edward". Patrick the owner has stated, "I have only seen "Edward" once. It was 4:30pm I was at the building with 1 carpenter(Terry) who was in the attic. I was walking toward the open side deck door. When in the hall a black human shaped shadow figure came out of the basement staircase and turned out of site down the hall. It was huge, like 300+ lbs. But not solid, it was dark yet it had shape-shoulders, head, not much of a neck? I've only seen this thing 1 time!
Bertha Gifford lived, and worked here. 1 of the 1st female serial killers in the Nation. She killed numerous kids(19), and adults w Arsenic Chocolates for the kids. She worked at the Hotel, and is buried nearby. She was an exceptionally gifted cook, go figure! It is believed to be her husband who she poisoned, that is seen in full body, trench coat at the window North end of the hall 2nd floor.
Al Capone used this as a rest house, speak easy, and gambling. The Historians traced his movements to here at the time that he was building his gambling & whiskey operations. He served great Whiskey from here, some of which still exists on the shelves of local grandparents that say it never ran dry at the Morse Mill Hotel. It is also a undisputed fact that Police would never dare to enter this neck of the woods, knowing it was out of their reach. Legend is the moonshiners, lived in these woods. Recently in September, 2020 there have been reports of hearing poker chips, card shuffling, and saxophone music always in room #2 Bay Window room.
Much to our surprise the building is actually very quiet, peaceful, and restful. We don't hunt down the spirits and they leave us alone on the 1st floor.
This requires scheduling in advance. We will walk you thru the entire building, and show you the areas that are historically active. We will provide insight into what has been successful in the past, when looking for Paranormal activity. We'll then let you go it alone. If you wish to ghost hunt on your own, or hang with the guide! Our intent is to do our best to exposé you to paranormal activity. 2 hours $75 per person. Group discount 6 or more people $70 per person. Extra hrs., $25 each hour per person.
- No Ouija boards
- No Alcohol while hunting!
- No witchcraft, or white magic.
- No marking floors, or walls with symbols.
No smoking , within 20 ft of the building.
No provoking, and or obnoxious behavior.
Tours start 30 minutes prior to Sundown.
Don't bring trigger items into my house, and or leave them!
The basement will be locked after 10pm weekends, 8pm weeknights. Unless you can be quiet as a church mouse, in which case you can keep it open.
Yes, this can get a little scary-but that's what you came for right?