Y – Fatty Walsh Haunts the Biltmore Hotel – Coral Gables

I hope you have enjoyed this year’s theme. I invite you to continue FOLLOWING this blog which will revert to things you would expect a writer and gardener, addicted to books and reading, to post. I would hate to lose your company. Cheers!


Biltmore Hotel

We must have a post about a hotel haunting before the #Challenge is over. I found one on a list of unsolved hotel crimes. Taking poetic license, this is the story of a man who has a “Y” in his name.  (One way to get around this alphabet conundrum.)

During the 1920s, Thomas “Fatty” Walsh was a notable underworld figure from New York who ran most of his operations out of Florida. He was a frequent guest at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables and often ran a speakeasy and casino out of his 13th-floor suite. On March 4, 1929, Fatty got into a fight with the hotel manager, Eddie Wilson, who shot and killed Fatty in the middle of the casino. Wilson was never charged with the murder. corrupt law enforcement officials allegedly helped him escape to Cuba. The Biltmore Hotel still exists today in Coral Gables and is recognized as a historic landmark. Because this murder went unpunished, the ghost of Fatty Walsh is believed to haunt the establishment. Over the years, there have been numerous incidents where the hotel’s elevator has taken guests to the 13th floor for unexplained reasons. Since Fatty Walsh was known as a ladies man, his ghost apparently loves to target attractive women. On one occasion, a couple was riding the elevator to the fourth floor, but taken against their will to the 13th instead. When the woman stepped out, the door slammed shut and the elevator took her male companion back down to the lobby. The woman would report hearing unexplained sounds and smelling cigar smoke in a supposedly empty suite. Fatty’s spirit is believed to have targeted President Bill Clinton during one of his trips. The president was staying in a 13th-floor suite and was planning to watch a football game. His television kept malfunctioning, turning off and on. The staff found nothing wrong with the TV. Credit: Listverse – 10 Creepy Hotel

image4More information about the Hotel: Land developer George Merrick and Biltmore hotel magnate John McEntee Bowman combined forces to build a dream, “a great hotel.” Bowman contracted renowned architect Leonard Schultze and S. Fullerton Weaver, a contractor and developer. On November 25, 1924, 200 of Miami’s business and civic leaders, as well as the press, gathered for a dinner to celebrate the new partnership. Bowman announced that the $10 million project would include a 400-room hotel, a country club, a service building, a championship golf course, polo fields, tennis courts and an enormous 150- by 225-foot swimming pool. The 18-hole golf course, designed by premier golf-course architect Donald Ross was first to open, debuting in January 1925. On January 15, 1926, The Biltmore hotel debuted with a magnificent inaugural ceremony that promised to be the social event of the year.


About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her: Stephenyhoughtlin.com
This entry was posted in A to Z Blog Challenge April 2016 and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Y – Fatty Walsh Haunts the Biltmore Hotel – Coral Gables

  1. noelleg44 says:

    I think I would like to stay there and I have a friend who LOVES ghosts – I’m sending this post on to her!

    • I am repeating an earlier reply….When I announced my theme of hotels and inns, a gal left a comment that she hoped there would be a post on ghosts in hotels. I found this story in the late stages of selecting my hotels and only picked it because of her. Hope your friend gets to see Fatty.

  2. M Denise C says:

    Will definitely keep following! Cheers, Denise

  3. Liesbet says:

    I didn’t think they had 13th floors in hotels anymore. 13 has always been my favorite number. Checking out the Biltmore sounds daunting and interesting! I’ll keep it in mind, next time I am in Florida… 🙂

    Liesbet @ Roaming About – A Life Less Ordinary

    • When I announced my theme of hotels and inns, a gal left a comment that she hoped there would be a post on ghosts in hotels. I found this story in the late stages of selecting my hotels and only picked it because of her. If you get there, I hope you see Fatty.

  4. I love ghosts and ghost stories. So I’m glad you added one in. I have stayed in a haunted hotel and I didn’t get any sleep that night. Every little noise I would look to see if I could see her.

    • Glad I was able to bring you a haunted hotel story. It wasn’t part of my architecture, architects, and setting emphasis, but fun nonetheless. You made me laugh with your “every little noise” hopeful watch. There’s always next time. Cheers.

  5. kristin says:

    Fatty sounds more playful and mischievous than horrifying.
    Finding Eliza

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