Historic Hotel Bethlehem embrace their “Friendly Guests”
When you consider the site’s history, known for its hospitality since the early 18th century, it’s not surprising there are spirits within the hotel. Bethlehem’s famous “first house,” built in 1741, was located on this site until 1823, when the Eagle Hotel replaced it. Then in 1921, Hotel Bethlehem took the Eagle’s place, at the direction of controversial multi-millionaire industrialist, Charles M. Schwab, the president of Bethlehem Steel in its heyday.
The Friendly Ghosts of Historic Hotel Bethlehem
May Yohe – Lady Francis Hope
Born at the Eagle Hotel in April 1866, Mary Augusta Yohe was a lively and vivacious little girl. Her Grandfather, Caleb Yohe a Moravian loved by all, owned and operated the beautiful Eagle Hotel.
There are accounts of “May”, as she was called, singing and dancing in the hotel lobby for all of the guests. She was so very talented that the Moravians pooled their money and sent her to Paris for formal operatic training.
In 1888 she made headlines across the country as one of the biggest stage stars! She was also making “other” not so positive headlines. For whatever reason, May was constantly making news with her latest flings.
In the 1890’s she went to England to perform in London, for Queen Victoria’s son, Prince Edward, who loved her singing. She met Lord Francis Clinton Hope a wealthy British Lord and married him. He owned a very famous jewel called the Hope Diamond, which she wore a number of times. However, her marriage to Lord Hope didn’t last and by the turn of the century she was making headlines again for leaving her husband for a handsome American soldier (who ironically stole her jewelry, she divorced him years later)
She seems to have been unlucky in love and her happiest times are said to have been singing and dancing right here in Bethlehem in the hotel lobby. Some say they can still hear her and when our player piano turns on by itself (as it often does!) we think we know who it is!
Miss Yohe has been seen in the 3rd floor exercise room and lobby areas.
Francis “Daddy” Thomas
Bethlehem’s Town Guide
Born in Wurtemburg, Germany on September 8th 1732, came to “The Colonies” when he was 6 years old. The Moravian Bishop Spangenberg made a particular impression on him when he was very young.
As a younger man he was known to have a fearlessness and total disregard for danger, as he was frequently involved with because of his job as a courier (quite a dangerous job to have in colonial times!)
Several times he came very close to death, once he was thrown from a horse and broke his neck, he was carried home for dead! On another occasion the horse he was riding broke through thin ice into the frozen deep water!
He learned the trade of cabinetmaker and was married to Anna Graeff on January 12, 1762. They were happily married for 53 years and, although they had no children of their own, the couple happily raised three children of missionary’s sent to Bethlehem to be educated at the famous girls Seminary.
His industry, honesty and faithfulness won him the respect and confidence of everyone he came in contact with, it was in this capacity that he found his true calling in life, attending visitors to Bethlehem. He conducted himself with such candor, obliging disposition and readiness to do any act of kindness that everyone who knew him loved and regarded him with fond remembrance.
He died on April 4th 1822……and some say he still attends to Bethlehem’s visitors and guest, with a wonderful sense of fun and humor.
Daddy Thomas has been seen in the Boiler Room area of the hotel.
Mrs. Brong Landlord
In 1833, a committee of the Moravian Church, the owners of the Eagle Hotel, terminated the hotel “landlords”, a Mr. and Mrs. Brong after a short six months duration.
Apparently Mr. Brong had issue with joining any (and every!) guest who requested he join them for a drink and was often removed to a nearby bench by the bartender, when he was too inebriated to sit any longer.
Mrs. Brong, who otherwise would have been a perfect hostess, had a habit of not wearing her shoes or stockings!
Guest off the just arriving stagecoach would be greeted most politely and to their shock and mortification, would find her “pedal extremities completely exposed!” For the day, this must have caused quite a commotion.
Strangely enough when some of our kitchen staff and dinner guests spoke of seeing a vision of a woman in period clothing with no shoes or socks, there was no doubt to her identity.
Mrs. Brong is primarily in the Kitchen/Restaurant area of the hotel.
“Room with a Boo”
Room 932 – Ninth Floor
Room 932 has a most peculiar record of paranormal activity. A couple staying in the room reported being woken by a man standing in front of their bed asking “why are you in my room?” Only to find when they switched on the light, that no one was there.
There have been numerous accounts of seeing reflections in the mirrors that are not there a moment later. Guest of room 932, with no past knowledge of the hotel or the room in particular, have, frequently, reported unexplained happenings; papers standing upright, or flying off the desk, lamps flashing, the bathroom wallpaper turning pink? We have many pictures of 932 where “orbs” appear.
In April of 2007 the hotel invited a paranormal investigator to stay overnight in the room, he recorded many voices; “it’s Mary”, “What a beautiful bathroom”, “I’ve locked myself in the closet”, “look out the window “ While we agree that room 932 does have a spectacular view, it also occasionally provides unexpected visitors and activities. Not surprisingly this is one of our most requested rooms!
So plan ahead if you would like to reserve room 932, the Room with a Boo. Perhaps you can help us discover the identity of our fourth ghost.
Make reservations today!
Enjoy dining in the Tap Room, for a casual meal or 1741 on the Terrace, with our award winning cuisine. Both restaurants are conveniently located in the lobby level of the hotel.
A glossy 120 page coffee table book celebrates nearly 200 years of hospitality on the site of Bethlehem’s first house in 1741. The book features photographs taken by Pulitzer Prize winning photographer, Robin Hood.
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