Is Franklin Hotel Haunted?

Franklin Hotel

When you stay at this historic Iowa hotel, you might have to share a room with some ghostly guests

Paranormal Activity at
The Franklin Hotel

  • A woman’s apparition has been seen in the building
  • Ghostly singing has been heard throughout
  • Visitors to the bar report being tapped on the shoulder by an unseen hand
  • Strange electrical malfunctions have been reported in certain rooms
  • A particular mirror in the building is said to have a ghostly face appear in it
  • Clothes hung up in rooms reportedly flutter and fall off hangars without known cause
  • Strange, unexplained feelings have been felt in the basement
  • Disembodied voices have been heard
  • Plates have reportedly been tossed around the kitchen by unseen forces

History of The Franklin Hotel

If you ever find yourself in Strawberry Point, Iowa, you should stop and see the world’s largest strawberry. And while the giant berry is on display beside the local police department, one of the town’s other centerpieces is just a block away: the historic Franklin Hotel.

The Franklin Hotel’s rounded brick facade has graced the busy corner of Elkader and Mission Streets for over a hundred years.

Though it’s gone through many changes over the years, the inn hasn’t forgotten its roots.

Some even say the town’s history lives on inside, through the specters reportedly roaming the halls. But what is it that causes so many spirits to set a spell in Strawberry Point?

Timeline of Franklin Hotel's History

Swipe or use timeline points to see Franklin Hotel through the years


For much of its early life, Strawberry Point’s travelers were served by simple, wood-frame inns and stagecoach stops. In the late 1800s, Strawberry Point was a small, simple, yet steadily growing Midwestern community. By the turn of the 20th century, many locals wanted newer, more modern lodging for travelers.

In 1903, the Franklin Hotel opened its doors in Strawberry Point. The fine, modern brick hotel attracted many train travelers and far-flung visitors in these early years.


In its first few decades, the Franklin Hotel was a popular stop for both rail workers and traveling salesmen. Many salespeople would set up shop right in the hotel’s lobby to sell their goods to interested locals. But, as plane travel took over and train travel became sparse, the hotel needed new ideas to stay afloat.

In 1968, it came under the ownership of Harry Tweed. Tweed went to work right away, converting the barber shop into a bar and attracting local crowds to the aging inn.


After Tweed sold the hotel in 1981, it gradually underwent a series of restorations. Over the more than twenty years that followed, the new ownership rehabbed rooms, added a banquet hall, and restored the dining room’s wood floors.

By the early 2000s, the Franklin Hotel was about as grand as it was when it first opened a century before. All the while, the attention to detail and hospitable atmosphere of the Franklin kept patrons coming to the little hotel in Strawberry Point.


In 2019, the Franklin Hotel came under its current ownership. The hotel has continued to be a focal point of the town, and a popular stop for travelers. The Franklin does still catch the occasional weary road tripper, as well as anyone interested in the historic hotels of America. Its banquet hall has proven popular for local events and parties as well.

But, the hotel is also popular with another demographic: ghost hunters. Many visit the hotel just to encounter something spooky, as the hotel has been rumored haunted for years.

Is The Franklin Hotel Haunted?

One of the most well-known ghosts around the Franklin Hotel is a woman named Lily. Some who have encountered her suggest she is a former hotel prostitute from the 1920s. Others claim she dresses more like a traveler in the 1940s.

But while the source of Lily’s phantom is somewhat mysterious, most can agree on how her spirit makes herself known: an apparition.

The Spirit of Room #7

Lily’s ghost has been seen lingering in the halls, walking down the hotel’s main steps, and even following some people around the hotel. She is most often seen in an old dress, either lavender or white. In some cases, she has been seen so vividly that workers mistake her for a guest.

She has reportedly appeared in the lobby after hours, and when workers go to tell her the lobby is closed, they watch her figure disappear into thin air.

Room #7 in the hotel is said to be Lily’s room, or at least where she spends much of her time. The room was also once home to a mirror that several people reported seeing a woman’s face in. Additionally, a TV in room #7 was said to be notorious for turning on and off all by itself, even while unplugged.

Both the mirror and the TV have since been moved out of the room, but #7 remains a hotspot for spooky happenings at the Franklin Hotel.

The Franklin’s Phantom Sounds

Along with Lily’s supernatural figure lingering around, strange sounds have also been reported at the Franklin. A ghostly, womanly singing has been heard in certain areas, leading some to think Lily is serenading the hotel guests.

Disembodied voices have also been heard echoing through the hotel’s long corridors. Some even report hearing their name called, only to turn and find no one there to respond to. Additionally, visiting ghost hunters have reportedly captured many EVPs in the building.

A Hotel of Haunting Sensations

The ghosts around the Franklin Hotel are known to move things around and get physical at times too. While never seeming angry or violent, guests and workers alike have reportedly encountered some ghostly pranks and playfulness at the hotel.

In some instances, guests report that clothes hung up in the closets will flutter when there’s no wind, and other items will end up knocked off their hangers. Down in the bar, patrons report being tapped on the shoulder, only to turn and see nobody there.

Haunted Basements
& Creepy Kitchens

Workers have also been on the receiving end of the Franklin’s spiritual mischief, with kitchen staff reportedly seeing plates levitate and get tossed around.

At other times, sounds of crashing plates would come from the kitchen, only for staff to investigate and find nothing amiss.

The Franklin Hotel’s basement is also said to be a hotbed of ghostly activity.

Along with being home to the reportedly haunted TV and mirror from room #7, some say they get strange feelings when going down there. Others have reportedly seen shadow figures and heard odd, unexplainable things in the basement.

The Franklin Hotel:
Strawberry Point’s Haunted Hotspot

While the historic Franklin Hotel still has a lot to offer to travelers and locals of Strawberry Point, the hotel’s hauntings are likely to remain a cornerstone of its allure for a while longer.

Many paranormal enthusiasts travel from far and wide to experience spirits in Strawberry Point and often leave with more ghost stories to share about the old inn.

While the Franklin stays busy as an open hotel, they always try to make time for visiting ghost hunters and those interested in investigating the old building.

So, while the name Strawberry Point might draw you first to the giant berry monument in town, the little Iowa community has a lot more to offer. And no place proves that better than the Franklin Hotel. For many travelers, it’s been the perfect place for a quick rest. While for many phantoms, it seems to be the perfect place for an eternal one.