The friendly ghosts of Americus

AMERICUS, Ga. — Step into the lobby of the Windsor Hotel in Americus and you take a leap back in time. The regal structure, of both Swedish and Moorish designs, the most recognizable among the town’s downtown skyline, dates back to 1892. Today, the beauty of the 53-room, full-service hotel makes it a source of pride in the community.

“Everywhere you go, you will see a Windsor rendering, whether it’s the judge’s chambers, or you go to the mayor’s office, or you go to the police chief’s office. This is the Taj Mahal of Americus,” says Sharad Patel, owner of the Windsor Hotel.

The Windsor has become a destination hotel, attracting visitors from all over the region and state. Undoubtly, one of the things many of the guests ask about in a building steeped in history is about the possible presence of ghosts.

Allie Ochoa, who has worked as a front desk representative for over a year now, gets the question quite a bit, especially when she gives hotel tours.

“They’re always super giddy about it. They just love it. They eat it up. So it’s just really awesome to add to their experience in that way,” says Ochoa.

One of the reasons it makes them so happy is Americus is not your town of typical frightening ghost stories. You see, the ghosts here– much like the townspeople– have a reputation for their kindness.

“Remember, now, this is the south. The southerners are good, so this would include the ghosts, too,” says Patel.

Floyd’s Pub on the second floor of the Windsor Hotel is named after Floyd Lowery, a bellman who worked at the hotel, and the longest serving employee in the Windsor’s history, and one who some say never left long after his death. But if his spirit still lingers here, a good nickname for him would be Casper.

“Now he’s rumored to kind of give the kitchen guys a little bit of trouble every now and then, but he’s also super friendly and just playful,” says Ochoa.

“Well, I’ve heard about Floyd, too, that he carries people’s bags. So you know that he was the elevator guy and the bellman. So, his presence is here. A lot of people have mentioned it, that they have seen Floyd.  But again, nothing negative. Everybody’s happy. And you got to remember Floyd’s also a southerner,” Patel says with a smile.

But Floyd’s not the only good-hearted ghost known on Lamar Street.

“So we have a resident ghost, as every theatre should, and our ghost’s name is Frank,” says Heather Stanley, Manager Director of Rylander Theatre.

Just a couple blocks down– the historic Rylander Theatre is not only home to the arts and culture, but also home to the friendly ghost of caretaker Frank.

Rylander Managing Director Heather Stanley recalls a time Frank saved a life.

“One of our favorite stories to just demonstrate the kind of ghost that Frank is, we had a young lady who was helping us run spotlight on our third level. She had come down to the second level to get some water and was on her way back up the stairs, lost her footing, and starting to fall backwards.  She felt a hand on the small of her back, push her back forwards, so she could catch her footing and get back up to her position at the spotlight.  So, if you’re going to have a ghost, at least you have one that’s helping us get back up the stairs instead of pushing us down the stairs,” says Stanley.

Technical Director Raymond Mannila says he’s experienced Frank encounters of his own.

“I looked over to the alcove doorway, the doorway that leads to one of our alcoves, and I saw an outline of a man, very distinctly, and it’s one of those things where you look, and you look back . . . And I said, I guess, ‘Oh, hi Frank,’” says Mannila.

Other tales from the Rylander include hearing mop buckets clanking when no one is cleaning– and seeing someone on an upper level– only to find out no one else is there.  While there’s really no explanation, saying it’s Frank is good enough for the good folks of the Rylander.

“When we come in, in the mornings, and we turn the lights on, we say ‘Good morning, Frank,’ and when leave at night, and we turn all the lights off, we say, ‘Good night, Frank,’ just in case he’s here hanging out with us,'” says Stanley.

Americus, its breath-taking buildings may be steeped in history–and even a ghost or two–but, if so, rest assured, they’re friendly.

For more information on the historic Windsor Hotel, please click here.

For more information on the historic Rylander Theatre, please click here.

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