The Elms didn't become a twinkle in someone's eye until after a local farmer used the healing mineral waters to cure his daughter's incurable tuberculosis in 1880. Word of her miraculous recovery spread about the country and people began to descend on the location in hopes of curing their own ailments. A pastor named John Van Buren Flack and a landowner named Anthony Wyman saw it's business potential, forming Excelsior Springs.
Excelsior Springs Company was created to bring the town pavilions, parks and The Elms Hotel. The hotel opened in 1888 and guests enjoyed the mineral water baths, gardens and luxurious parties and balls. Ten years after it open its doors, the first fire burned the wooden structure to the ground on May 9, 1898. Another ten years went by before the second Elms Hotel was completed. It reopened its doors on July 31, 1909. However, guests were only allowed to enjoy it for a little over a year before burned down again. Again there were no fatalities.
Third time was a charm for The Elms. The structure seen today was completed and opened on September 7, 1912. It continued to advertise and sell it's healing waters, experiencing success in the 1920s. Was even nearly converted into a sanitarium. All good things come to an end at some point. The hotel may have aided in the good health of its guests but couldn't survive the Great Depression. It filed for bankruptcy in 1931. New owners were able to revive it, attracting a variety of famous guests including Harry S Truman, Jack Dempsey and well known criminals such as Bugsy Moran and Al Capone.
The Elms saw many changes in ownership over the decades. Even experienced a second bankruptcy and a couple of renovations but managed to keep it's doors open to guests. So why is The Elms be labeled haunted?
Many believe one of the spirits tied to the hotel was from it's speakeasy days during Prohibition. This particular ghost hangs out in the basement, enjoying the lap pool. This area of the hotel use to host all-night gambling events and a popular hiding place for liquor brought by gangsters. Another spirit is that of a woman, searching for her child. They say she has been known to pull a person's hair and throw objects.