Matt and I celebrated our 11th Anniversary this past weekend with a night at the Liberty Hotel in Cleburne, Texas. It was originally built in 1924 as a top of the line hotel for visiting dignitaries of the Santa Fe Railroad. Oh, it was indeed a grand hotel in its day, even hosting Lawrence Welk and his band in the 2nd floor ballroom. Over the years, it fell into disrepair, especially after the completion of I-35, which bypassed Cleburne. The hotel fell on hard times and began renting rooms by the week and the month, changing ownership many times and showing signs of disrepair. It continued to operate in "seedy" condition into the 21st century..........being a rough and tumble type of boarding house!
In 2004 the hotel was purchased with the intention of restoration, and restore it they did!
It was completely gutted until only the brick walls and the original terrazzo lobby floor remained. It reopened in 2009, once again the Grand Hotel it was meant to be! No expense was spared in the process. The surroundings are plush and all the furniture is imported. It exhibits the beautiful extensive woodwork found in homes and hotels of the period it was originally built.
A couple of months ago, my daughter, Annette, was hired to work the 11 pm to 7 am shift at the front desk. She is the only person running the place at night and at first, all was well. Then, she began to hear voices and footsteps in the lobby and looked, but no one was there. Well, the reputation of the hotel being haunted became known, and one night a gentleman checked in with a device to detect paranormal activity. It seems that after this incident, the activity intensified. Annette said there were voices in the lobby, talking just loudly enough for her to hear but not enough to make out what was said. The footsteps were not only in the lobby but up and down the staircase to the second floor. That next night and for a week and a half afterwards, doors were slamming on the second floor, but there were no guests on the second floor!
Finally, Annette told me about it, and I suggested she speak to "them", and let them know that it was OK if "they" were there, and that she wasn't afraid. The next night she went to the middle of the lobby floor, and announced "I know that you're here, and its OK! I am not afraid to have you here." Immediately the activity stopped and all has been calm now at least on the first and second floors, for the past week. It is rumored that the 3rd and 4th floors have more activity, and there are rooms in the hotel that the staff refuses to enter!
At any rate, we heard nothing out of the way the entire night, the bed was extremely comfortable, the room was plushly decorated and remodeled with a modern bathroom, marble topped vanity and tiled shower with massaging shower head! I took some pictures of the hotel to share with you and recommend staying here if you are near Cleburne some time and need a place to stay. The rates are currently under $100 per night and well worth the money!
Photo of the lobby from the second floor, looking toward the front door
Another photo of the lobby showing the front desk at the top left of the picture. That section of floor in front of the front desk with the engraved "L" is the only part of the floor no longer original.
Photo from the West part of the second floor, as you get off the elevator.
Close up of the chandelier
Looking down the stairway to the first landing. Notice the "catwalk" section of the second floor hall to the right
Second floor sitting area. Love that hutch!
View of the Sitting Area of our room, overlooking main street in Cleburne.
King sized bed with handmade coverlet and dust ruffle. This was a very comfy bed!(note the bathrobes rolled up and placed on the bed)
Overall photo of our room, showing most of the area. To my right is a desk and chair (you can see the edge of it in the picture) To my left is the double doored closet with a combination safe in it, along with an ironing board and iron. Notice the large, 42 inch TV! Also, in the cabinet under the TV, there is a small refrigerator. On the coffee table are the flowers Annette bought for us and had waiting for us in the room. Behind me is the bathroom.
An interesting feature about the air conditioning, demonstrating the height of modern technology used in the restoration: The air conditioning is attached to a motion sensor in every room. If no one is in the room, the AC shuts off!
Hope you enjoyed this visit to Cleburne's most historic old hotel!