This Hotel Is Definitely Full of Ghosts, So We Should Never Tear It Down

Hattie Jean Hayes
Shoot (the photo) first
3 min readFeb 17, 2017

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The Coronado Hotel on First Street and McKinley.

Now that I live off Roosevelt in downtown Phoenix, I walk past the Coronado twice a day, three or four days a week. Usually, there’s someone or something outside on the stoop: a cat with half a tail, or a man smoking his breakfast cigarette. In the afternoons, sometimes there are people checking out of the motel and waiting on a ride, or tourist families peering in the windows on their way back from breakfast. The nature of the hotel has always alluded me. It’s one of the few buildings in Phoenix that looks as though it’s been unchanged for decades, with a worn sign advertising “refrigerated” rooms and color TV.

Online research gave me some insight into the hotel’s history and current use, but much of it remained an enigma. According to users on a CityData forum, the motel has rooms for as low as $30 a night. Those rooms are on the ground floor, with shared restrooms and kitchen space at the end of the hallway. The upstairs rooms are $40 a night, but have en-suite bathrooms and a bit more privacy.

And…the Internet would have you believe that’s about it.

Online research into the Coronado doesn’t go very far. Other reviews warn that the motel is listed as an address on the sex offender registry, but that information seems to be outdated; the motel guest who provided the pricing information also wrote that “they spray for bugs once a month, [which] is great.” I couldn’t find a specific date for the construction of the motel, though people on Flickr and the Downtown Phoenix Journal website claim it’s a relic of the late 50s or early 60s, and one website lists the motel as “Established in 1987.” The Coronado isn’t on any of the registers of historic buildings in Phoenix that I looked through, and searches for the motel only turn up information on the historic Coronado District, a neighborhood a few avenues over from the motel.

The only other information I found online for the Coronado Hotel was a phone number, so I called the front desk, hoping that the person working today would know a thing or two about the hotel. A man named Nick answered, and I was delightfully surprised by his profusion of knowledge.

According to him, the back building of the hotel was built in 1926 and 1927, and the front half, where the lobby is today, was constructed in the early 50s. An aerial photo series Nick directed me to seems to support this claim — the front half of the parcel appears to be empty in the pre-1950s photos, but it is a little difficult to discern.

The most exciting part of all this: Nick said that one of the back buildings on the property was, at one point, a crematorium. Yes. This is exactly the weird, wonderful local history I was looking for! Who can imagine a crematorium smack in the middle of our bourgeois arts district?

So, that’s it, then: the Coronado Hotel is definitely haunted. It’s a building with a rich history and some fascinating architecture, but more importantly, it is chock full of ghosts.

Since the ghosts’ bodies were cremated, I think the spirits found their peace in refrigerated, $30 rooms with RCA televisions. Maybe that’s the whole reason the motel even bought AC units. The Coronado Hotel is perhaps the only barrier between Phoenix and the vengeful hellfire of the ghost realm, so I hope it never gets torn down — especially since I live just down the street.

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