Unknown Stories Pt 1: The Wolf Creek Inn

WOLF CREEK, Ore. – At the age of 136, the Wolf Creek Inn is the oldest continually operated hotel in the Pacific Northwest. With its age comes a lifetime of stories, and some of those stories are unsettling.

You can find the Wolf Creek Inn just off of Interstate 5. It was built in 1883 by Henry Smith, which is long before current owners Andrew and Jessie Shroyer were drawn to it 2018.

“I don’t know about me being drawn to it, I think it was drawn to me,” Shroyer said.

The inn has been a cornerstone of the community, and yet Shroyer said it still seems to take people by surprise.

“They end up walking around the building, they go upstairs,” Shroyer explained. “Then they usually try to find Jesse or I and they try to rent a room. They’re like, ‘This is amazing! We didn’t know anything about it.’”

Smith was a pioneer merchant when he built the inn next to his apple orchard 136 years ago.

“He built it kind of in the fashion of the kind of building you would find somewhere in Portland or San Francisco,” Shroyer said. “That’s the crowd he was trying to draw in.”

The building later became a stop on the stagecoach line, becoming a fancy place that drew in some fancy people. Among them were celebrities like writer Jack London, actress Carole Lombard and actor Clark Gable.

In 2019, you’ll find the inn offers 21st-century amenities, like WiFi and a climate control system. But the rooms still take you back to a simpler time, with hand-painted antiques and vintage furniture. Of course, with an old building come some haunting tales.

When Shroyer was asked if there were guests who experienced any kind of paranormal activity here, he replied, “I wouldn’t say everyone, but just about everyone. How about that?”

When asked to elaborate, Shroyer burst into laughter, “What can we say that’s not going to freak people out? … They feel a presence. In the ballroom it sounds like there’s children running around kicking a ball, that’s a constant…Your toes being played with in bed, that’s a big one.”

Shroyer has heard and experienced other strange happenings, like drastic temperature changes despite a climate-control system and weird smells wafting through the air.

“It will be like a heavy perfume smell next to Clark Gable’s room or a stinky smell in the women’s parlor,” he said. “But just lasts like 30 seconds and then it’s gone. It just completely disappears. And it moves around the building, so it’s kind of interesting.”

Shroyer said he was a little spooked at first, but has become accustomed to the abnormalities.

“We’re a guest, this is their building.”

It seems a lot of guests are just as brave. The Shroyer’s said lots of guests come exclusively for a spooky experience and add that October is not only their busiest month but also the most fun.

“We are one of the top ten most haunted places in the United States right now,” Shroyer said.

Even if a paranormal experience is not on your bucket list, the Wolf Creek Inn is still a must-see piece of Southern Oregon’s unique history. “If you’re going to eat, or stay, or just come in and use the restroom we’re happy with that,” Shroyer said. “We just want people to come in and experience this amazing piece of property.”

The Wolf Creek Inn has also been featured on the Travel Channel’s show “Ghost Adventures.”

Whether you enjoy the paranormal or not, the inn is still a must-see piece of southern Oregon history. It also features a full-menu tavern. But the Shroyer’s describe it as a free museum, allowing anyone passing through to come inside and take a look around.

“If you’re going to eat, or stay, or just come in and use the restroom, we’re happy with that. We just want people to come in and experience this amazing piece of property.”

 

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