Friday, September 17, 2010

Queer Paranormal Road Trip: Keating House Bed & Breakfast

During my time living in California, ghost stories were always close to my mind. I even contemplated writing a book of haunted places in one specific area of town, but it would have taken many months just to amass and uncover any legends. Still I did keep my eyes and ears opened for any whispers of spooks. I did find one tantalizing place but left before I was able to pay it a visit. If you find yourself in San Diego it might be worth spending a few nights at Keating House to enjoy the Victorian atmosphere... and perhaps a ghost.

George James Keating was originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia where he was born in 1840 but he immigrated to the United States in his 20s and settled in Kansas where he operated a very successful agricultural machinery business. With his newfound wealth, Keating and his wife Fannie headed west to the boom town of San Diego and built their glorious new home in 1886 in a wealthy area known as Banker's Hill. George became an asset to the community, acting as the first president of the short-lived Hospital of the Good Samaritan in January of 1889. Keating passed away in the early hours of June 22 later that year. His wife carried on her husband's work, building the Keating Building at 5th Avenue and F Street as George had intended. The Reid Brothers--architects responsible for the famous and also haunted Hotel del Coronado--carried out the construction of the unreinforced masonry Romanesque Revival office building in 1890. It still stands today in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter, retrofitted for seismic regulations in the city, and houses the luxurious Keating Hotel.

Fannie passed away in 1909. The house still stands as a beautiful example of Queen Anne Victorian design in what is now known as Park West. Keating House was lovingly restored in 1975 and the Keating House Bed & Breakfast opened nine years later. The current innkeepers, Ben Baltic and Doug Scott, offer guests their choice of eight rooms and a garden suite in a quiet suburban neighborhood. Of course, there may be an additional guest not listed in the books. The inn is said to still be the home to George Keating who occasionally makes his kind presence known.

A paranormal group conducted a brief investigation at the inn and recorded a few unusual EVPs in recent years. I was unable to get in contact with Ben or Doug while I was out west, but be sure to stop in for a stay and ask them about their resident spirit. For those of you who aren't quite able to spring for a vacation, here's a little nighttime video of the interior:

1 comment:

rhetoricqueline said...

I stayed in the Blue Room at this bed & breakfast and it was most certainly haunted. Doug reluctantly told us more about experiences of other guests and that our room was particularly active, but only after lots of prodding on my part given the experience I'd had the night before. It was not scary, and the house is amazing, but Keating's spirit (he passed away in the original bathroom, not uncommon to be treated in the bathtub in those years) is definitely present.

Prior to that trip I was unsure about paranormality/haunting, but now I am.