The Original Springs Hotel, 506 N Hanover St, Okawville, IL 62271

Was that a ghost, or just a bit of steam coming off the hot springs? A stay at the Original Springs Hotel in Okawville, Illinois will have you wondering just that.

This luxurious hotel, bath house, and restaurant is the perfect place to relax with a massage, a soak in a hot pool, and a restful sleep in one of their bespoke rooms.

But for ghost hunters, luxury aside, this getaway spot is filled with spirits waiting to be discovered.

Original Springs Hotel History

As a pillar of the town of Okawville, the Original Springs Hotel has for years welcomed visitors traveling through nearby St. Louis or Springfield hoping to squeeze in a relaxing trip to the mineral spas.

The original building opened in 1867, but was destroyed in a tragic fire in 1891. The town wouldn’t give up their crown jewel, though — the hotel reopened in a new building in 1893 and has remained there ever since.

After discovering the high mineral content of the water in Okawville, the tinsmith Rudolph Plegge teamed up with a neighboring farmer to open the bath house, with the first dips in the mineral springs water in September 1868.

When Anna Schierbaum, a woman with a disability (then called “invalid”), soaked in the pools in 1884, she claimed that the mineral water fixed her ailments and had healing properties. She urged her husband to open a hotel there, which they did on Easter Sunday in 1887 to great success.

Now, the hotel’s amenities include the indoor pool built in 1893, the mineral spas, an upscale restaurant, and plenty of ghosts.

original springs hotel history

Tragedy at the Springs

Tragically, three of the hotel’s owners have died by suicide. Anna Schierbaum’s son Ben, who took control of the hotel after his parents’ deaths, took after his mother in that he loved the springs and their seemingly magical properties.

When his wife of four years left him during his tenure as the hotel super, his mental wellness fell into a state of despair. Sadly, he was not successful in his battle with depression and loneliness and took his life in the hotel.

In the 1920s, another hotel owner named Conrad Paeben took control of the place. He, too, had a great fondness for the hotel. He made upgrades like adding heating to each room so the hotel could welcome guests year-round, fending off the worst of the Depression for some time.

However, when the Great Depression got worse, the hotel struggled like so many others, and mental illness took hold for Paeben like so many others at this time. His life ended in suicide, as well, in a hospital near the hotel.

The final owner who died tragically was Tom Rogers, whose enjoyment of the hotel strayed into obsession. He was known to walk the halls all day, to the detriment of some guests’ experiences.

One day, workers found him dead in Room 350, despite no explanation for his death and no knowledge of a struggle with depression. Nonetheless, it was written off as a suicide, marking the final tragic death at this hotel.

Original Springs Hotel Ghosts

To the pleasure of avid ghost hunters, the spirits at Original Springs Hotel are well documented, in part by the iconic hosts of Ghost Hunters.

On the show, the hotel owners spoke about staff reporting items moving around behind their backs and seeing apparitions throughout the building, but that’s nothing compared to what guests have experienced.

The Haunted Original Springs Hotel

One guest felt someone pressing on her legs at night in Room 350 and was so spooked that she left immediately, telling staff the place was too spooky for her liking.

Other guests come to stay at the hotel just to see the ghosts, usually booking a room on the fraught third floor. Room 350, on the third floor, is the place where owner Tom Rogers was found dead.

The floor is known by staff and guests to have a paranormal vibe, with tons of apparition sightings taking place there.

The owners told Ghost Hunters that some cleaning staff refuse to use the staircase at the end of the third floor hallway because of the unsettling feeling that overcomes them when they walk there.

One of the hotel’s waiters reported seeing a woman in white — known as the lady in white — around the building, especially in Room 350.

Some third-floor dwellers claim they heard loud bangs outside their door in the middle of the night, and others confirmed their suspicions of spiritual presence by reviewing photos from their trip, in which a ghostly presence appeared.

Some even say they’ve been locked in rooms that have no locks on them!

The third floor isn’t the only place to spot ghosts, though. Some claimed they saw a figure on the second floor, which seemed to have a friendly energy.

The second floor is strictly avoided by staff, who say they often hear noises coming from vacant rooms. One guest even asked to be moved after arriving in their room and seeing another guest in there — but no one had checked in.

The laundry room, which historians think was a casino back in the day, is another hot spot for paranormal activity.

People report hearing old timey music and employees have said they can feel a presence here.

They also say they feel spectral visitors around them throughout the hotel, and often hear footsteps, music, and voices around the place.

Staying at the Original Springs Hotel

Rooms at the Original Springs Hotel start at $70 for weekday stays, and $85 for weekend bookings. There are a variety of packages available to make use of the spa, and the fantastic restaurant.

For example, a two-night stay for two people with, plus 2 mineral baths, wine and hors d’oeuvres, and two chicken dinners, prices start at $135 for the basic room, all the way to $225 for the Jacuzzi suite.

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Website: www.theoriginalspringshotel.com | Phone: 618-243-5458

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