Skirvin Hilton Hotel
|Skirvin Hilton Hotel|
|Location||1 Park Avenue,
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
|Opening||1911 (Skirvin Hotel)
2007 (renovation and reopening)
|Closed||1988 for renovation and improvement|
|Owner||Skirvin Partners, LLC|
|Management||Marcus Hotels & Resorts, Inc.|
|Design and construction|
Hicks & Forsyth
|Number of rooms||225|
|Number of suites||21|
|Number of restaurants||1|
|Location||1 Park Ave., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma|
|Area||1 acre (0.4 ha)|
|NRHP Reference #||79002010|
|Added to NRHP||October 10, 1979|
First opened in 1911, the Skirvin Hotel contained 224 rooms in a ten story two winged tower. A third 12 story wing was added in 1925, and then in 1929–30 all three wings were leveled off to 14 floors with a total of 525 rooms. The hotel is named for its founder, William Balser "Bill" Skirvin, whose daughter, Perle Mesta, became the ambassador to Luxembourg under Harry Truman. The hotel closed down in 1988 and sat abandoned for most of the next 19 years, until it was renovated and re-opened as part of the Hilton chain of hotels in 2007. The renovation project restored the original exterior finish, installed historically accurate windows, reconfigured guest rooms and added new guest elevators. The process to return the hotel to life started nearly a decade earlier, however, when, in 1999, Oklahoma City Mayor Kirk Humphreys appointed a Skirvin Solutions Committee to evaluate whether or not the historic building could be saved. The committee started its work by touring other, restored historic hotels, looking at how those projects were paid for, and then recommended in October 2000 that the City of Oklahoma City explore creating a public-private partnership to get the Skirvin re-opened. In May 2002, Oklahoma City acquired the building from its current owners for $2.875 million and issued a request for proposals from potential developers late that same year. Partners in Development, a firm put together by principal John Weeman, made a proposal to renovate the building for $42.1 million and to re-open it as a full-service Hilton operated by Marcus Hotels and Resorts. The Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority selected Partners in Development as the developer in January 2004. Weeman bought the building from Oklahoma City in 2005, and, using money he invested plus funds from various other public sources including tax increment financing, grants, Empowerment Zone credits, historic tax credits and New Markets tax credits, completed its renovation for about $51 million.
Rumors of a haunting in the hotel persist, and have even been cited by NBA teams, notably in 2010 when the New York Knicks famously blamed their loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on the haunting and when the Chicago Bulls reported doors slamming shut on their own and strange sounds outside their rooms. The story received national attention again in June 2012, when the Miami Heat were staying in the hotel for the 2012 NBA Finals. Most recently, the defending, and expected to repeat, NCAAW champions, Baylor's Lady Bears, were put up at the Skirvin and unexpectedly lost in one of the biggest upsets in tournament history to Louisville in 2013.
As the story goes, the hotel's original owner, W. B. Skirvin, had an affair with a maid named "Effie", which led to a pregnancy. To protect his reputation and avoid a scandal, Skirvin locked the maid on the 10th floor. The maid became depressed and even after the birth of her child, she was still not let out of her room. She eventually jumped out a window killing herself and the baby, without notice in newspapers. In some versions of the legend, this maid is described as "a woman of loose morals," and men who have stayed in the hotel have reported being propositioned by a female voice while alone in their rooms. Others claim to have seen the figure of a naked woman with them while taking a shower. One man even claimed he was sexually assaulted by an invisible entity during his stay. Over the years, hotel staff say they have seen objects moving by themselves and have heard strange noises at night. According to Oklahoman reporters Steve Lackmeyer (who also co-wrote a book about the hotel) and Jason Kersey, Skirvin was "a notorious womanizer and drinker" and the 10th floor was known for various incidents of gambling and other vices, but there is no real-life evidence corresponding to the "Effie" story: Skirvin's family did believe that he had an employee (his assistant and bookkeeper, Mabel Luty) who was also his mistress, but she outlived him.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09.
- "About the Skirvin". The Skirvin Hotel. Retrieved 25 September 2009.[dead link]
- "Skirvin Hilton, a Historic Hotels of America member". Historic Hotels of America. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
- "Skirvin Hotel". Marcus Hotels and Resorts. Retrieved 25 September 2009
- Skirvin, Money & Lackmeyer, p. 121-139, ISBN 978-0-9661460-7-3
- "New York Knicks blame loss on 'haunted' hotel". Yahoo7 Sport. Retrieved 13 January 2010
- http://travel.usatoday.com/hotels/legacy/2010/01/haunted-hotel-troubles-some-new-york-knicks-players-in-oklahoma-city/1[dead link]
- Nick Friedell, "Gibson's close encounter", ESPN.com, January 27, 2010.
- Patrick Dorsey, "Photo tour: Heat's 'haunted' OKC hotel", ESPN.com, June 13, 2012.
- Cindy Boren, "Miami Heat’s hotel supposedly is haunted. Game 1 was scarier." The Washington Post, June 13, 2012.
- Jason Kersey and Steve Lackmeyer, "NBA Finals: Miami Heat players not worried by Skirvin ghost stories", The Oklahoman, June 14, 2012.
- Andrew Knittle, "10 Unusual Places in Oklahoma", The Oklahoman, October 31, 2008.
- "Oklahoma Legends: Haunted Skirvin Hotel in Oklahoma City", Legends of America (accessed 2012-06-14).[unreliable source?][better source needed]
- http://www.scaryforkids.com/skirvin/[unreliable source?][better source needed]