HAUNTED EASTERN IOWA: Franklin Hotel - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings


by Jenn Jarvis

STRAWBERRY POINT (KWWL) -- In the early 1900's, a hotel was often the social center of a small town. And with all that excitement, one woman never wanted to leave.

"She was in her mid-20's, we're thinking, in the year of the 1920's. She was supposedly an entertainer of sorts here at the hotel," Franklin Hotel owner Doug Schmidt said.

The Franklin Hotel is more than 100 years old and sits in downtown Strawberry Point.

"We had a gentleman that lived upstairs, he was blind and so his hearing was very acute. He could tell that there was something else upstairs roaming the hallways. He said he could hear her singing and I think he nicknamed her Lilly," Kris Schmidt, Doug's wife and co-owner of the hotel, said.

The ghost stories have drawn visitors over the years, seeking to put the stories to the test, including a group of ladies armed with recording equipment.

"The next morning I opened up to serve breakfast and I wanted to see if they made it through the night. They weren't even here. They got so scared they left. They claim they actually did hear or see something," Doug Schmidt said.

But hotel owners say Lilly is not menacing, merely mischievous.

"She likes to take things and hide them. And so we're supposed to ask her very nicely if she would bring it back or put it back where it was."

Kris Schmidt works in the mornings and says she has never seen the ghost. She says Lilly is more active in the evenings when her husband is working.

"I did see a figure of a woman dressed in a long ballroom dance outfit. And I came back through the kitchen to see if she came into the ballroom and she must have passed into another dimension cause she wasn't there. But, I did see something. And that means a lot cause I don't really believe in ghosts," Doug Schmidt said.

Over the last one hundred years, thousands have passed through the hotel, and Lilly isn't the only one to stay. A guest at the Franklin Hotel told the owners there is another ghost, a former merchant, who lives upstairs.

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