Haunted Carson City, Part I

By Bryan Akerley

Have you ever taken a walk through Carson City’s historic Westside District on an October evening, just as the sun sets? The blue line-painted sidewalks are dusted with dead leaves while the overhanging trees glow yellow and orange. The beautiful Victorian homes lining the streets all embrace the Halloween festivity with hanging skeletons, carved pumpkins and decorative apparitions in the upstairs windows.

It’s something to behold – a span of just a few blocks so drenched in history, whether it be the first inhabiting tribes of Eagle Valley, the roaming traveler days of the Wild West or the decades of Nevada politics. This history has a presence in Carson City you can surely feel on such evening strolls – a presence that may never have left.

Continuing our October tour of Northern Nevada’s most haunted locales, here is the capital city itself.

As the following few locations make for your own personal ghostly tour, I also invite you to the famous Carson City Ghost Walk this Saturday. With 90-minute and 50-minute tours leaving the McFadden Plaza throughout the day, the undead widow Madame Curry leads you through some the Westside District’s homes and businesses known for paranormal activity. Hear the spookiest stories about these famous places, led by the spirits themselves and certainly full of surprises. Tickets and more info are available at the Carson City Ghost Walk website.

Photo: Carson City Ghost Walk Facebook

Our tour begins at the iconic St. Charles Hotel on Carson Street. The St. Charles has seen much in its 150 years of existence, and it stands as the second oldest hotel in the state. The red brick building now houses the Fox Pub in its first floor, but the place itself has remained impressively similar to its early days. Naturally, a hotel that has seen the likes of early territorial legislators and the upper class of the early 20th century might harbor a few lingering spirits. Many paranormal investigators have checked in, allegedly finding many, many ghosts. Former residents, a heavyweight champion and even a phantom cat have been heard or even seen on some occasions. Trick of the light, maybe? Or does the St. Charles Hotel hold a few otherworldly secrets?

Photo: PK Pinkerton Facebook

The Bliss Mansion, just across the street from the Governor’s Mansion, is one of the most gorgeous buildings in Carson City. The Victorian bed & breakfast fully embraces Halloween each year, often with some of the straight-up scariest decorations in the downtown area. But there may be something even spookier lurking under the surface.

The Bliss Mansion was built by millionaire Duane Bliss in the late 19th century. Bliss purchased the land – the site of a cemetery – and had the bodies exhumed and moved to a different location. The mansion was built as the most modern home in Nevada in its time. Now the Bliss Mansion is noted as one of the most haunted buildings in Carson City. It is said that Duane Bliss never left his beloved home and is often seen staring out the upstairs windows or even outside in the yard. Other spirits have been noticed as well, perhaps lost souls of early settlers at their former burial site, wandering the yard in the middle of the night. Book a stay-cation at the Bliss Mansion and see what – or whom – you might come across. At the very least, you’ll get to stay at one of the loveliest sites in town.

It seems that all Carson City’s most iconic places must harbor an eternal resident. As it turns out, the Brewery Arts Center is no different. The BAC was built in the 1870s as the Carson Brewing Company (makers of Tahoe Beer), and the legendary spot has been a masonic lodge, a newspaper headquarters and more over the last century.

Over the past few decades, strange noises have been heard in the BAC’s upstairs ballroom, in the black box theater and around other parts of the grounds. Supposedly, a maintenance worker wearing a brown checkered suit (possibly from the brewing days) roams the building and even whispers to employees, still giving instructions in the afterlife.

Photo: Brewery Arts Center Facebook

Like I said, with just a stroll through this part of town and you truly feel the presence – but whether that presence is of the dense history or perhaps something more supernatural is still up for debate. This weekend, sign up for a ghost tour through town and dive deep into Carson City’s haunted history. Or explore some of the town’s ghostly past at your leisure. Keep your mind open – you might be in for a surprise!

For many other events happening this weekend, visit our Daytime, Nightlife and Community pages.

 
About the Author Bryan Akerley
Bryan was born and raised in Northern Nevada and is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno. When he’s not writing, he’s keeping up with pop culture as a lover of movies, TV, music and books or out exploring the area through its restaurants, bars and nightlife. Then he’ll unwind by playing the drums or piano or spending time with his corgi, Teddy.