The quest for Boyertown’s haunted history continued recently.
On Sunday, March 23, when the Boyertown Historical Society in conjunction with Greater Leigh Paranormal and Boyertown Paranormal conducted a paranormal investigation of Durango’s Saloon.
Hosts Pete and Sandy Haberle, owners of Durango’s, closed down early to give investigators and their guests full access to the building. Introducing the evening was Carl Harner, member of the historical society’s board of directors.
The Historical Society has been running at a deficit for years, and now—due to the efforts of the board and the new found interest the community has had in Boyertown’s History and her haunts—the Society is moving out of the red and into the green, clearing profits.
Approximately twenty locals purchased tickets for the Durango’s Paranormal Investigation Event. Harner turned the floor over to Gretchen Gross of Greater Leigh Paranormal who introduced the different forms of technology.
“Of all the tools we use, my favorite and best friend is the flashlight,” said Gross. “First, I have used a flashlight to hold entire conversations with ghosts and second, it’s dark in the basement. A flashlight can really come in handy.”
Next up was Gary Schlegel of Boyertown Paranormal who gave a short review of the past investigation and a few pointers on how to gain the best results. “Trust your senses, many times you will feel something well before you hear or see it.”
Haberle presented a brief history of Durango’s being careful not to say too much about personal haunting experience for the sake of not ruining the fun. “After we conclude the investigation I will be here to answer any questions.”
Durango’s was first built in 1847 as a private home before being converted into an inn in 1869 when the railroad came through. There has been a handful of deaths on the property and interestingly a previous owner of the inn was one of the many victims of the Rhoads Opera House fire.
Reportedly, a traveling sales man who for some period of time locked himself up in Boyertown had stayed at the Inn rather steadily. He hanged himself locally but off property for reasons unknown.
There is some discrepancy in the story that Durango’s was used to house bodies following the opera house fire, but the close proximity of the properties cannot be denied.
Another note worth mentioning is the unexcavated remains of a tunnel that reportedly use to connect Durango’s to the adjacent building running under the railroad. There is much belief that supports the tunnel was once used for the Underground Railroad. Though due to the nature of the Underground Railroad there is little evidence to support the claim. Also, due to the weight of the railroad above it is unlikely that the tunnel will ever be cleared and investigated.
As it is, Durango’s is a haven for untold stories of tragedy or mystery. Down deep in the basement of old inn and saloon, history seeps from the old stone walls, wooden joists and cast iron pipes—the 1800’s and the voices of the dead come through clear as the voices of the patrons above enjoying a pint at the bar.
Gretchen, using a SP7 device which scans in reverse amplitude modulated frequencies asks, “Is anyone here with us?” Through the crackling sound comes the yells of a women and the muffled words of a man. “If you are here with us, turn the flashlight on the table on.” From pitch darkness to the orange glow of a modern day torch, it is clear the group is not alone.
The next paranormal investigation to be presented by the Boyertown Historical Society will be held on Sunday, April 27, at the Other Farm Brewing Company. Seating is limited; contact the society at HauntedBoyertown@gmail.com for more information.