The Lumber Baron Inn and its Haunted Past

Nestled within the historic Potter-Highlands neighborhood of Denver, Colorado, the Lumber Baron Inn stands as a testament to the grandeur of the Queen Anne Victorian era.

This 9,700 sq. ft. four-story mansion boasts seven bedrooms, ten baths, and a 14,000 sq. ft. corner lot. With its wraparound porch, stunning gardens, and intricate architectural details, the mansion is a breathtaking sight to behold.

The Lumber Baron Inn has a fascinating history, and it’s not just the architecture that leaves visitors captivated. The Inn is also well-known for its paranormal activity and unexplained occurrences.

Related: Haunted Hotels in Denver

Let’s take a journey through the history of the Lumber Baron Inn and the spirits that are believed to haunt its halls.

The Beginnings: The John Mouat Lumber Company

John Mouat, a Scottish immigrant, arrived in Denver, Colorado, in 1873 at the age of 25. He quickly made a name for himself in the lumber industry and eventually owned the Denver-based John Mouat Lumber Company.

John used his own sawed lumber from his mills to build over 200 buildings in Denver, transforming the city from a rough mining town into a respectable urban area with fine homes and buildings.

In 1890, John built the magnificent Lumber Baron Inn as a reflection of his accomplishments in the lumber industry. He used the finest wood milled at his sawmills to craft the mansion, showcasing a variety of woods such as cherry, oak, poplar, sycamore, maple, and walnut.

Each room featured a different type of wood, hand-carved by skilled craftsmen. The dining room even had carved rosettes representing the different types of wood used throughout the house.

John and his family enjoyed their time in the mansion, but by 1915, they had moved out, and he eventually passed away in San Diego, California.

The Fowler Family and Changing Times

The Mouat family sold the mansion to Hiram Fowler and his family, who lived there while the location remained an upscale neighborhood. Hiram Fowler, a successful miner, was known for his kindness to neighborhood children.

The mansion’s ballroom was used daily as a children’s playroom, and kids loved to play with the Fowler daughter’s doll playhouse and fly a little plane around the space.

Lumber Baron Inn Denver

Over time, the Fowler family faced challenges in maintaining the mansion. They tried to turn it into a commercial property, raising income to support the mansion, but it eventually ended up being divided into 13 apartments.

The neighborhood had also changed, and the mansion fell into disrepair, becoming a much less desirable place to live.

Restoration and New Beginnings

In the 1990s, Walter and Julie Keller purchased the Lumber Baron Inn and took on the task of restoring the mansion to its former glory. They converted the basement apartments into one large apartment and chose to live there themselves, believing the neighborhood would change for the better – which it did.

After restoring the mansion, the Kellers filled the common areas with antique furniture and added antique beds, bathtubs, showers, and dressers to the guest rooms. They replanted the gardens and added statues, fountains, and other 1890s-era decor to the exterior.

To ensure the upkeep of the hundred-year-old home, the Kellers put the mansion to work. They started a bed and breakfast business called The Lumber Baron Inn and Gardens and offered the space for weddings and special events. They also began a stage theater in the mansion’s ballroom, which was well-supported by the Denver community.

Lumber Baron Inn Murders & Paranormal Encounters

With the Lumber Baron Inn’s long history, it’s no surprise that the mansion is considered one of the most haunted places in Denver. Six regular spirits are believed to call the mansion their earthly home or place to visit.

Among the most well-known spirits are those of Cara Lee Knoche and Marianne Weaver, two young women who were brutally murdered in the mansion in 1970.

Both the women’s murders have yet to be solved!

See also: Most Haunted Places in Denver

Guests and staff have reported seeing their apparitions in the Valentine Room, hallway, and on the stairs. They have also experienced strange noises, unexplained cold spots, and chills in areas associated with the women.

Lumber Baron Inn Yard

Other spirits believed to reside in the mansion include a female spirit dressed as a flapper, who has been seen in the ballroom, a black female maid in a uniform who goes about her chores, a male figure thought to be a family member or servant of the Mouat or Fowler families, and an older, authoritative male apparition.

The latter is believed to be a former owner or perhaps an administrator of the business school that once operated in the mansion.

These spirits have made their presence known through a variety of means, including visible appearances, the sound of voices, and even the aroma of pipe tobacco.

Paranormal Investigations at the Lumber Baron Inn

Due to the numerous reports of paranormal activity at the Lumber Baron Inn, several paranormal investigation groups have conducted research at the location. Electronic voice phenomena (EVP) evidence and other forms of communication have been captured, providing further proof of the spiritual presence within the mansion.

See also: The Most Haunted Hotels in Colorado

One notable investigation was conducted by Spirit Paranormal, who, during two separate investigations, received the same name of the murderer from the unsolved 1970 double murder case. Multiple spirit voices provided the name, fueling hope that the perpetrator may eventually be brought to justice.

A Haunted Gem in Denver

Today, the Lumber Baron Inn continues to operate as a bed and breakfast and event venue, welcoming guests from around the world to experience its unique blend of history, architecture, and paranormal intrigue.

See Also: The Most Haunted Places in CO

Whether it’s the spirits of the murder victims or the former residents who simply cannot let go of their beloved home, the Lumber Baron Inn offers visitors a chance to explore a fascinating, haunted piece of Denver’s past.

As the stories of paranormal encounters continue to captivate both locals and tourists alike, the Lumber Baron Inn remains a beloved and hauntingly beautiful testament to the lives and spirits that have graced its halls throughout history.