The Haunted Don Cesar Hotel in St. Petersburg, Florida
Is St. Pete's Don Cesar Haunted?
The marvelously glamorous and well-known Don Cesar Hotel sits overlooking the gulf on St. Petersburg, Florida's lovely white beach. It has been a pinnacle of class and wealth since it was first established in the year of 1928. With Mediterranean style architecture and a pink coat of paint, the Don Cesar Hotel is an intriguing place with a very captivating history that includes visits from almost every President since Franklin D. Roosevelt's time in office. Other famous folks such as Al Capone and jazz music's F. Scott Fitzgerald have dined and stayed inside the Don's Moorish-decorated walls. If you visit the hotel, you can almost catch a glimpse of the women in drop-waist dresses and pin-curled hair in the roaring twenties...you can almost hear the jazz music undulating through the Don Cesar's rich air.
My husband and I have attended a food and wine festival at the Don Cesar, held right outside of the Don's doors on the beach. In addition to enjoying the rich and extravagant atmosphere that the Don Cesar possesses, the Pink Castle seemed to be calling out to me. It wanted to be explored...it wanted its secrets to be discovered and told to others. As beautiful and grand as this hotel is, would you believe that it is indeed haunted? Romance and tragedy hold hands in this spooky tale.
Ghosts of the Don Cesar
Thomas Rowe was the founder of the Don Cesar Hotel or the "Pink Castle", as he liked to call it. The building of this hotel was Thomas's dream since he was a young man, studying in Europe and meeting secretly with Lucinda, his lover, by a fountain's side. When Rowe built the hotel in 1928, he included a fountain in the hotel's courtyard that was reminiscent of the fountain that shared so many lovely meetings with his lover. Unfortunately, the two would never marry, as Lucinda's parents supposedly did not approve of Rowe and Lucinda died shortly thereafter. Many people believe that Rowe hoped Lucinda had not passed and would eventually meet with him at that very fountain adorning the courtyard of the Don Cesar.
There have been quite a few sightings at the Don Cesar of the secret lovers—Thomas and Lucinda. Employees of the hotel claim to have seen a man in a white linen suit and a panama hat walking with what seems to be his lover, a beautiful woman with dark hair. This couple walks through the hallways of the hotel and will suddenly vanish...right before people's eyes. This ghostly figure dressed in linen with a panama hat is said to also wander throughout the Don Cesar Hotel's fifth floor (on the same floor as Thomas Rowe's room) and on the beach. Employees and locals believe this ghost to be the ghost of Thomas Rowe. And if you ask them, they will answer with one hundred percent certainty!
In addition to the tragically, romantic spirits of Thomas Rowe and Lucinda, there are other spirits that are said to roam the Pink Castle's halls. In digging further into the Don Cesar's past, we find that the Don was not just a hotel in years passed, but it has also served as a World War II Hospital and convalescent center. Maybe the ghosts at the Don include World War II soldiers who have not found their way home? Or maybe they feel at home in the Don Cesar...
If you choose to have a romantic night at the Don Cesar, just make sure you don't run around the corners too fast...you may bump right into old Thomas Rowe...or maybe into the ghost of a wounded soldier!
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© 2011 Nicole Canfield