The Haunted Hilton Omni Netherland Plaza Hotel
The origianl building was built with much archetectual and design focus and dedication. The Netherland Plaza Hotel was a grand achievement and opened to much critical acclaim in early 1931.It held a staggering 800 guest rooms, 11 kitchens, seven restaurants, a huge ballroom and the famous Hall of Mirrors (which was modeled after the Hall of Mirrors in the French palace of Versailles). The building opened under the name of St. Netherland Plaza.
The hotel was the most luxurious in the Cincinnati area, and the era's rich and famous who happened to be passing through the city would stay here. In the late 1930s Winston Churchill stayed at the Hotel. The hotel aptly named the suite in which he stayed the Churchill Suite. Eleanor Roosevelt was also a frequent visitor to the hotel. She stayed at the hotel at least 12 times throughout her lifetime.Other famous guests have included Elvis Presley, John and Jackie Kennedy, who actually hosted a polictical gala in the Hall of mirrors in 1959.
In 1942, a dissaster occurred at the tower. For some unknown reason, a fire broke out on the fifth floor of the hotel. Luckily, there were sprinkler systems in place that were able to control and eventually extinguish the fire. Unfortunately, extensive water damage occured in the Hall of Mirrors and other rooms on the fifth floor. No one was killed in the blaze, but the building itself would suffer irreversible damage from the incident.
A greater tragedy occurred at the hotel on May 31, 1956. A 25 year old woman named Norma Jean Haller had recently been released from a mental sanatorium. Three weeks earlier she had attempted to kill herself by throwing herself in front of a moving bus, but the bus driver reacted quickly enough to avoid her suicidal attempt. Although the sanatorium felt that she was ready for release, she remained determined to end her life. She went to downtown Cincinnati in order to find a tall enough building to jump from She found the site of her suicide at the Netherland Plaza Hotel.
Instead of taking the elevator, she climbed the stairs to the 28th floor of the building, and she wrote a note on a napkin she had picked up in the lobby. It said, "My name is Jean Haller, call my husband. Children will be better off." She gently placed the note in the stairwell and climbed out of a window onto a small ledge between teh 28th and 29th floors of the hotel. While on the ledge, she wrote another note and placed it on the ledge from which she planned to jump. It read, "please call my husband and tell him I'm sorry." She jumped at 6:55 PM. She was five months pregnant and left her husband and two two children.
Haunted remnants remain following the incredible suicide history described above. To this day people will sometimes hear screams and sobbing coming from the stairwell between the 28th and 29th floors.
Another popular haunted story is said to be an apparition of the "woman in green," who is particularly fond of the lobby, the overlook, and the old chapel. She was supposed to be married in the chapel, it seems, but her husband-to-be was killed in the original construction of the hotel. Now employees see the woman in green from time to time. One story (and this is a third- or fourth-hand story, so make of it what you will) has a hotel worker doing his early-morning rounds when the temperature dropped suddenly and he felt a cold hand on his shoulder, followed by a woman's whispered plea: "Help me." He quit the next day. Several construction workers have reported seeing her during the hotel's 1983 renovation. But, her story really dates all the way back to 1930, when her husband, a hotel laborer, was killed in the construction of the hotel that year. His body was never found and his wife, The Lady in Green continues to search for him in the afterlife.
Employees also hear footsteps in the lobby, even when there is no one there. Perhaps these are the footsteps of a business man from New York who died so unexpectedly there of a heart attack right in the lobby.
The Hilton Omni Netherland Plaza Hotel
35 West 5th Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
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