Skirvin Hilton Hotel

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Coordinates: 35°28′8″N 97°30′49″W / 35.46889°N 97.51361°W / 35.46889; -97.51361

Skirvin Hilton Hotel
General information
Location1 Park Avenue
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73102
United States
Opening1911 (Skirvin Hotel)
2007 (renovation and reopening)
Closed1988 for renovation and improvement
OwnerSkirvin Partners, LLC
ManagementMarcus Hotels & Resorts, Inc.
Technical details
Floor count13
Design and construction
ArchitectSolomon Layton
Hicks & Forsyth
Kahler Slater
Other information
Number of rooms225
Number of suites21
Number of restaurants1
Skirvin Hotel
Skirvin Hilton Hotel is located in Oklahoma
Skirvin Hilton Hotel
Skirvin Hilton Hotel is located in the United States
Skirvin Hilton Hotel
Location1 Park Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK 73102
Coordinates35°28′8″N 97°30′49″W / 35.46889°N 97.51361°W / 35.46889; -97.51361
Area1 acre (0.4 ha)
NRHP reference #79002010
Added to NRHPOctober 10, 1979

The Skirvin Hotel at the corner of 1st Street and Broadway in downtown Oklahoma City is the city's oldest hotel.[1] It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[2]

Skirvin Hilton Hotel is a member of Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.[3]


First opened in 1911, the Skirvin Hotel contained 220 rooms in an eight-story two-winged tower. A third 12-story wing was added in 1928, and then in 1929–30 all three wings were leveled off to 14 floors with a total of 525 rooms.[4] The hotel is named for its founder, William Balser "Bill" Skirvin, whose daughter, Perle Mesta, became the ambassador to Luxembourg under Harry Truman.[1] The hotel closed in 1988 and sat abandoned for most of the next 19 years, until it was renovated and re-opened as part of the Hilton chain of hotels in 2007. The renovation project restored the original exterior finish, installed historically accurate windows, reconfigured guest rooms and added new guest elevators.[4] The process to return the hotel to life started nearly a decade earlier, however, when, in 1999, Oklahoma City Mayor Kirk Humphreys appointed a Skirvin Solutions Committee to evaluate whether or not the historic building could be saved. The committee started its work by touring other restored historic hotels, looking at how those projects were paid for, and then recommended in October 2000 that the City of Oklahoma City explore creating a public-private partnership to get the Skirvin re-opened. In May 2002, Oklahoma City acquired the building from its current owners for $2.875 million and issued a request for proposals from potential developers late that same year. Partners in Development, a firm put together by principal John Weeman, made a proposal to renovate the building for $42.1 million and to re-open it as a full-service Hilton operated by Marcus Hotels and Resorts. The Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority selected Partners in Development as the developer in January 2004. Weeman bought the building from Oklahoma City in 2005, and, using money he invested plus funds from various other public sources including tax increment financing, grants, Empowerment Zone credits, historic tax credits and New Markets tax credits, completed its renovation for about $51 million.[5]


Rumors of a haunting in the hotel persist, and have been cited by National Basketball Association (NBA) teams. The most notable examples occurred in 2010, when the New York Knicks famously blamed their loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on the haunting and when the Chicago Bulls reported doors slamming shut on their own and strange sounds outside their rooms.[6][7] The story received national attention again in June 2012, when the Miami Heat were staying in the hotel for the NBA Finals.[8][9][10] Most recently, the Baylor Lady Bears, who were the defending National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Women's Division I basketball champions, were put up at the Skirvin. In one of the biggest upsets in tournament history, the Lady Bears unexpectedly lost, 81–82, to Louisville in the regional semifinals of the 2013 NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Tournament.

As the story goes, the hotel's original owner, W. B. Skirvin, had an affair with a maid named "Effie", which led to a pregnancy. To protect his reputation and avoid a scandal, Skirvin locked the maid on the 10th floor. The maid became depressed and even after the birth of her child, she was still not let out of her room. She eventually jumped out a window killing herself and the baby, without notice in newspapers. In some versions of the legend, this maid is described as "a woman of loose morals", and men who have stayed in the hotel have reported being propositioned by a female voice while alone in their rooms.[11][12] Others claim to have seen the figure of a naked woman with them while taking a shower.[12] One man claimed he was sexually assaulted by an invisible entity during his stay.[6][12] Over the years, hotel staff say they have seen objects moving by themselves and have heard strange noises at night.[13] According to Steve Lackmeyer (who also co-wrote a book about the hotel) and Jason Kersey (both reporters from The Oklahoman), Skirvin was "a notorious womanizer and drinker" and the 10th floor was known for various incidents of gambling and other vices, but there is no real-life evidence corresponding to the "Effie" story: Skirvin's family did believe that he had an employee (his assistant and bookkeeper, Mabel Luty) who was also his mistress, but she outlived him.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Hotel Overview". Skirvin Hilton Hotel (Oklahoma City). March 13, 2015. Retrieved March 13, 2015.
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  3. ^ "Skirvin Hilton, a Historic Hotels of America member". Historic Hotels of America. Retrieved January 28, 2014. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. ^ a b "Skirvin Hotel" Archived February 4, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Marcus Hotels and Resorts. Retrieved September 25, 2009
  5. ^ Skirvin, Money & Lackmeyer, p. 121–139, ISBN 978-0-9661460-7-3
  6. ^ a b "New York Knicks blame loss on 'haunted' hotel". Yahoo7 Sport. Retrieved January 13, 2010
  7. ^ Friedell, Nick (January 27, 2010). "Gibson's close encounter". Retrieved January 27, 2010.
  8. ^ Dorsey, Patrick (June 13, 2012). "Photo tour: Heat's 'haunted' OKC hotel". Retrieved June 13, 2012.
  9. ^ Boren, Cindy (June 13, 2012). "Miami Heat's hotel supposedly is haunted. Game 1 was scarier". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 13, 2012.
  10. ^ a b Kersey, Jason; Lackmeyer, Steve (June 14, 2012). "NBA Finals: Miami Heat players not worried by Skirvin ghost stories". The Oklahoman. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
  11. ^ Andrew Knittle, "10 Unusual Places in Oklahoma", The Oklahoman, October 31, 2008.
  12. ^ a b c "Oklahoma Legends: Haunted Skirvin Hotel in Oklahoma City", Legends of America (accessed June 14, 2012).[unreliable source?][better source needed]
  13. ^ Skirvin Hotel | Haunted Hotel Oklahoma City | Scary Website[unreliable source?][better source needed]