Cedar Key FL is home to one of the most haunted places in the state, Island Hotel and Restaurant. Come explore its mystery with Haunted Journeys.
The Island Hotel was built between 1859 and 1860. Major John Parsons bought the property in 1859 and construction was probably finished the following year.The mixture of oyster shell, limestone and sand that make up the walls of the inn have survived hurricanes, floods, storms for over 140 years.
During the Civil War, the location was considered a strategic port and used by both the Union troops and Confederate troops. In 1867, botanist, naturalist, and conservationist John Muir completed his thousand-mile walk from Louisville, Kentucky, to Cedar Key. He contracted malaria and remained in Cedar Key for several weeks while recovering from the illness.
While no one is quite sure when it became an Inn, there is a reference on a map from 1884 notes restaurant and furnished rooms. Over the next several years, the inn changed hands frequently and in 1915, businessman Simon Feinberg bought it to convert it into a hotel. He named it the Bay Hotel. Much of the interior reconstruction that is seen today is from this period. Feinberg died at the hotel in 1919, under mysterious circumstances. He had come to collect the rent from the manager with whom he had an agreement to operate the hotel. Prohibition had been enacted and one story is that Feinberg was not happy to find his manager running a still in the attic. The manager treated Feinberg to a large dinner, hoping to calm him down and Feinberg retired for the night. He never awoke.
There were several more owners during the next two decades and the building housed a millinery store, the post office and the customs house and may have functioned as a brothel during the 1930s. The bank foreclosed on one owner another may have tried to burn it down. Bessie and Gibby Gibbs purchased it in 1946, cleaned it up and renamed it the Island Hotel. It was sold again in 1973. One owner remodeled the bar and opened an outdoor entertainment area. Jimmy Buffett even visited the Island Hotel during this time. He sometimes would give concerts in the Neptune Bar. The current owners have given the hotel a facelift and it's now known for its comfortable rooms and relaxed atmosphere.
It is said that several spirits still reside here.
One story is of a young black boy who died before the end of the Civil War. The owner saw the boy put something in his pocket, thought he stole something and chased him out the backdoor. The boy was never seen then a year later while cleaning out a cistern in the basement they found skeletal remains of a child. They think the boy climbed in the cistern to hide and drowned.
Some guests have seen a Confederate soldier standing guard inside the doors that lead to the balcony early in the morning.
There is a ghost that is said to visit guests staying in rooms 27 and 28. She sits on the bed, kisses the guest on the cheek and then disappears.
Former owner, Bessie Gibbs, is said to rearrange furniture and pictures. It is also reported that she locks guests out of their room if they step out for a moment.
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