Mason House Inn - Keosauqua, Iowa

The Haunted Mason House Inn & Caboose Cottage

The History

The Mason House Inn was built in 1846, originally called the Ashland  House, and was owned by William Robinson. It was built as a hotel to serve the steamboat travelers going from St. Louis to Fort Des Moines and Fort Dodge on the Des Moines River.  It was built by Mormon craftsmen from Nauvoo, Illinois, who stayed in Bentonsport for several years, working and gathering supplies before making their trek westward to Salt Lake City, Utah. (Several of the brick buildings still in use here in Bentonsport were built by these craftsmen.) In 1857, the Ashland House was purchased by Lewis Mason and his wife, Nancy. They changed the name to the Phoenix Hotel, but the townspeople called the place the "Mason's House", and the name stayed. It was Nancy who started the tradition of "a cookie jar in every room". 

Over the years, the Mason House has withstood 6 major floods: 1851, 1903, 1905, 1947 and, most recently, 1993 and 2008. Through it all, this magnificent building remains a stalwart landmark. During the Civil War, the Mason House was used as a "holding hospital" for the wounded soldiers who were waiting for the train or boats to take them to the hospital in Keokuk. It was also a station on the Underground Railroad.  For a short time in 1913 the building was used as a tuberculosis sanitarium. But the building was too small for their needs and they moved to Des Moines. From 1920 to 1950, Lewis' grand-daughter, Fannie Mason Kurtz, ran the hotel as a boarding house for the town doctor and his wife and also the local school teachers. When Fannie died in 1951, the place was rented as a house for the Downing family until 1956.

The Hauntings

Family friendly and rich in history, this is one of the most haunted inns in Iowa. Three of the inn’s previous owners have died in the hotel, as well as a guest who was thought to have been murdered. Joy and Chuck Hanson, the inn’s current owners say that they have at least 5 spirits who have made the inn their home, with at least 100 spirits inhabiting in any given time! Several guests have reported seeing a foggy apparition of a boy on the landing who constantly plays tricks on people. There is also the ghost of a lady in a white night gown and an old man who likes to stare at people and then suddenly vanish into thin air. There is a room in the inn which has a bed that gets messed up when no-one has stayed there.

Many of their guests experience some kind of paranormal activity in the guest rooms of the Main House building. The innkeepers state that mostly what they get is footsteps and voices that have no explanation. Knocking, tapping, and other odd sounds also occur. They are not thought to be evil, mean or negative here. Many ghost hunting groups come here for investigation, often time getting some kind of experience. They also offer extensive Ghost Hunting packages, Intuitive weekends and Murder Mystery Events. 

For those that preferred not to be spooked, they have three "non-haunted" rooms for the guests who do not want the activity. 

Mason House Inn
21982 Hawk Drive
Keosauqua, IA 52565

Visit their WEBSITE

(319) 592-3133
(800) 592-3133


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