Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Butte’s Dumas Brothel

This brothel located high on a hill in Butte, Montana is billed as America’s longest running house of ill repute. It operated illegally for 92 years from 1890 until 1982. It serviced Butte’s predominate male population which was the result of a mining boom.

The Dumas had 42 rooms that ranged from fancy suites to tiny “cribs” that barely had room for a single bed. In the 1970s the Dumas was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today the building is undergoing restorations and is run as a seasonal museum.

Click to enlarge

The Madame

One Madame that ran the Dumas in the 1950s is said to still haunt the building. Elenore Knott who was wealthy from the oldest profession in the world decided to start fresh. She arranged to run away and marry her lover, a successful Butte businessman who also happened to be married.

On the night she was to leave Elenore waited patiently with her suitcase for her lover to arrive. But her businessman never showed. The next morning her body was found in her suite, Room 20. She had taken an overdose of  sleeping pills and washed them down with whiskey.

She left an array of expensive gold and diamond jewelry, a red Cadillac convertible and a brand-new Harley Davidson motorcycle. The next Madame, a woman by the name of Bonita, was said to take these items--one version of this story states it wasn’t a suicide but a murder so Bonita could get her hands on Elenore’s possessions.

Ghostly Activity

After Elenore’s death many working girls at the Dumas claimed they saw her ghost. She was most often seen carrying a suitcase through the halls.

Ghost Hunter
Stephanie Rowland took this photo
Woman's face and wallpaper
not in room at time photo was taken
Another way Elenore’s ghost manifests is in photos. Several that have been taken at the hotel reflect the image of a woman that wasn’t there at the time these pictures were snapped.

One young workman that is helping with the restoration described as he worked one day he felt a very warm hand pressed against his back--this feeling lingered for several moments and then he felt a warm breath on the back of his neck. He was the only person in the building at the time.

The following fun video shows the hotel and the host uses a flashlight to communicate with the ghost. I wrote a post awhile back about using flashlights to communicate with ghosts--it talks about the pros and cons of using this method.

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