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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Banta Inn



In Banta east of Tracy, California, Banta Inn was originally built as a two-story saloon and inn in 1892 by Frank Gallegos, reputed former member of Joaquin Murrieta's band. Gallegos Saloon was also a sporting house where the "sporting" continued in the upstairs inn rooms used as the bordello.

The building was destroyed in 1937 by fire. It is unknown how the fire was started but two people, supposedly a mother and child, were reported to have died. The structure was rebuilt using some of the timber from the original building as a general store. It retained no bedrooms but kept the name of Banta Inn.

In the 1960s, Frank's youngest daughter Jenny and her third husband Tony decided to turn the store back in to a bar and restaurant. Her third husband Tony suffered a heart attack and died instantly behind the bar. The Inn remained in the Gallegos family until 1981 when, at the age of 92, Jenny sold the establishment. Today, it continues to operate as a bar and restaurant. You may walk in for the food and entertainment and leave with a ghost story.

There were already rumors the Banta Inn was haunted after the 1937 fire. However, it was after Tony's death that the business sealed its haunted reputation. While he was alive, he spent much of his time tending bar, playing one-man poker or stacking coins in the register when business was slow. It seems after death his odd habits continue. Employees have found the register drawer opened with coins stacked neatly even after they closed it.

Witnesses have reported seeing Tony playing poker by himself in a corner or working at the bar. Glasses flip over, plates and ashtrays move on their own, and even the jukebox starts playing on its own whether its plugged in or not. Doors open and close on their own. Shadows are seen.

According to the Banta Inn website, the ghosts have been rather quite as of late, but who knows when they might make a reappearance.

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