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Tacoma's most haunted

Staff Reporter

Published: Friday, October 29, 2010

Updated: Friday, October 29, 2010 04:10


Old Tacoma City Hall,

625 Commerce St., Tacoma


In the heart of Tacoma's historic district sits Old City Hall. Built in 1893, it is currently home to offices and condominiums, but, with the state of the economy, the property is due to be auctioned off in January. City of Tacoma officials worked in Old City Hall until they relocated in 1959. The building sat empty for 10 years. Some say the spirits of political crusaders linger here. Security guards report seeing shadows that quickly vanish as they pass by or feeling the presence of someone else. The alarms and lights turn on and off on their own absent any intruders and the elevator has been called to floors without anyone touching the buttons.


University of Puget Sound

1500 N. Warner St., Tacoma

Ann-Marie Burr was only 8 years old when she disappeared in her blue flowered nightgown from her bedroom on August 31, 1961 and was never heard from again. Authorities found a small footprint under the front room window which matches a men shoe size 6 or 7, which many have linked to Ted Bundy, even though he denied Burr's murder and would have only been 14 years old at the time. It is believed that Bundy dumped the girl's body into the foundation of a building under construction at University of Puget Sound, where he later attended college. He later transferred to UW Seattle. Burr's body was never found, but students report hearing strange noises and the ghost of a girl resembling Burr wandering the halls.


The Pagoda on Five Mile Drive

Point Defiance Park

5400 North Ruston Way

Tacoma, WA

The Pagoda at Five Mile Drive was the site of a trolley car station over a century ago where a man reportedly committed suicide on the lower level by shooting himself in the head with a small pocket pistol. The staff who work at the venue report hearing loud footsteps going up and down the stairs. Visitors have also heard patterns of what sounded like drenched clothing hitting the ground on the downstairs floor. The man apparently killed himself in the marbled downstairs bathroom when his wife drowned after her boat took on water on its way back from Vashon Island.


E.R. Rogers

1702 Commercial Street, Steilacoom

E.R. Rogers Restaurant, now the site of an attorney's office for the last two years, is said to be haunted by a female ghost. Some believe it is the ghost of Catherine Rogers, who has finally returned home after death. Captain Edwin R. Rogers and his wife Catherine only lived in their dream home from 1891 until 1893 when E.R. Rogers lost his fortune in the economic downturn. Others believe the ghost might be Hattie Bair, the wife of drugstore owner Cub Bair, who might have killed herself in an upstairs bedroom or one of the many boarders she took in. The Bairs bought the place in 1920 and turned it into an inn. Ghostly activities include lights turning on by themselves after the building is closed up at night, alarms being tripped, full-trained police search dogs refusing to go anywhere near the attic, a woman's stocking clad leg walking up an invisible staircase to the attic, partial figures appearing in mirrors and windows.


Haunted Hot Dogs!

The Roberts-Parker Building

1101-05 Tacoma Av, So.

The Roberts-Parker building has housed several businesses: a confectionary, a tire shop, two different tea companies, a paint shop, a tavern, a shoe store, and two different restaurants. On October 12, 1968, when it was still Siri's Restaurant a man shot three people right out front, killing a 25 year old woman named Gail Golphenee. There are also reports of a man dying of burns from a fire in an apartment below Siri's Restaurant. The fire might have been caused by smoking in bed. In the 90s, the Roberts-Parker building was a popular jazz club and restaurant called Kelly's. Thomas "Red" Kelly closed the jazz club in 2003 and died a year later. Some believe his ghost lingers on in the building, playing jazz for those who will listen. This building sits across the street from the Tacoma Public library and has been converted into a bar/deli, a Hot Rod Dog, and a law firm.


Temple Theater

47 Saint Helens Ave., Tacoma

Built in 1927, The Landmark served as the Grand Lodge for the Free and Accepted Masons of Washington. The building has eight floors, basements, an attic, and this is the rumored location of one of the entrances to the old shanghai tunnels, which are now blocked up. The adjoining Temple Theater is believed to be haunted, almost from the time it opened in 1930. In March 1972, an employee of the theater was crushed and killed in an elevator accident, where his ghost now resides. The elevator travels to random floors where its doors remain open for extended lengths of time. Employees have also reported chills, glowing lights, and apparitions. There have also been sightings of specters in the balcony.


Brown & Haley Candy Co.

110 E 26TH St Tacoma WA

Before it was a confectionary it was the abandoned Stilson-Kellog shoe factory. There is much talk of an unrecorded boiler explosion that took place there in the early 1900s, around 1910. A former night janitor at Brown & Haley said, "The old freight elevator has a mind of its own. It goes up and down when no one is pressing the button and it often stops on the wrong floors. The machines sometimes start up on their own." The same janitor, a very sensible man, continued to belay a personal sighting of one of the ghosts, "I was cleaning out the copper kettles in the kettle room one night with steam, which already added an eery effect to the room, but then through the steam drifted the upper torso of a man in bib overalls, a work shirt, and a cap. He was licking his finger and staring at me, then he drifted through the wall and was gone." One of the night watchmen that used to work for Brown & Haley had a binder crammed full of paranormal phenomenon occurring at the factory. Every time he heard of an incident, he'd keep record of it.

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Thu Feb 13 2014 18:32
Anonymous # 1. You are quite right about that. She was a he. I know because Gail Eugene Golphenee was my father. Wonder why staff reporters don't have to fact check their stories?
Fri Nov 22 2013 02:06
So in the haunted hot dogs story it says that a 25 year old woman named Gail Golphenee was killed...I'm pretty sure that "she" was a he lol. On October 12, 1968 my grandfater, Gail Eugene Golphenee, was shot and killed right outside of a restaurant in Tacoma, WA. He was 25. If I am wrong about this, then it is quite a coincidence haha.
Chuck M
Wed Oct 9 2013 01:37
In the early 80's we lived in a house in North Tacoma that turned out to be haunted. Very haunted. Won't give out the address since it's still a private home, but it's very close to the old Weyerhaeuser mansion on N. 42nd; in fact, it was divided up into servants' quarters for the Weyerhaeusers soon after it was built in 1903. When it was no longer needed in that capacity, it became a boarding house, putting up all manner of lodgers from the forties through (I think) the early sixties. We lived in it for several years without anything unusual happening, then one night right after my wife and I had gone to bed (not long enough for either one of us to fall asleep and dream it), we simultaneously felt an almost electric jolt and sat bolt upright to see the pitch-black outline of a man at the foot of our bed, only a few feet away--and yet, we both had the sensation that the apparition was also extremely far away, as if at the end of a long corridor. The whole episode lasted only a second or two before whatever it was vanished, but, as you can imagine, it had a hell of an impact. Then, the very next night at about the same time, we heard the heavy footfalls of someone climbing the stairway just outside our bedroom door. The footfalls were unmistakably loud and real, so much so I jumped up and began frantically scouring the room for something I could use as a weapon against the intruder. I flung open the door and peered down the stairs--and saw nothing. That was the last we heard from our "visitor", and we lived in comparative peace until we sold the place in '85. However, paying a visit to our old next door neighbors a few years later, we were told the people who moved in after us didn't last long--they apparently experienced so many frightening events in the few months they lived there they couldn't wait to get rid of the place!
Tue Oct 30 2012 18:47
I used to clean the pantages theater when I was 19 years old. One night, I was scrubbing the floors around the seats and I heard people whispering. I thought my coworkers had come to relieve me, seeing as how it was about 3 in the morning. I looked around and there was no one. I have never been so scared in my life....There was no doubt in my mind that someone was there. I quit the next day. Not worth the pay! lol

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