Can You Visit H.H. Holmes' Hotel? The "Murder Castle" Isn't What It Used To Be
History's new documentary series American Ripper dives into the bloody history of H.H. Holmes. The Chicago serial killer is infamous not just for the multiple murders he confessed to committing (the actual total is probably higher), but the resources he dedicated to conning and then killing his victims. The tricked-out hotel he had built for the purpose of more easily satiating his urges probably saw more mayhem and murder than any other travel accommodations, but could the morbidly curious still spend a night at the "murder castle"? If you dared, could you visit H.H. Holmes' hotel and see the site of an undetermined number of deaths?
Those interested in taking a haunted tour of the base of Chicago's most infamous serial killer will be disappointed to learn that Holmes' hotel is no longer standing. According to The Chicagoist, an aspiring entrepreneur purchased the building after Holmes was hanged for murder, intending to make it into a tourist attraction. "On Aug. 19  at 12:13 a.m., a railroad night watchman spotted flames coming through the Castle's roof," the piece reads. "Seconds later, explosions blew out the first-floor windows, and the fire was out of control by the time help arrived. 90 minutes after the fire was reported, the roof had collapsed and most of the building demolished." The source of the fire was not determined, though it's possible that some neighbors may have rather seen the building destroyed than turned into a circus.
While the building where Holmes committed his most atrocious crimes has fallen, a new building has been erected in its spot. If you choose to walk onto these possibly haunted grounds, you'll be able to do so during regular business hours. You can even buy stamps while you're there.
That's right – The only building that still exists on the land where H.H. Holmes built his modern dungeon is the Englewood Post Office. While most of the area formerly occupied by the Murder Castle is now overtaken by grass and foliage, the post office erected on its land serves as the closest thing to a H. H. Holmes landmark. What was once a place of isolation and death is now the home of helpful USPS staff members, P.O. boxes, and medium-sized wait lines.
Despite the unassuming nature of the post office, its loose affiliation with the Holmes "murder castle" has turned it into a makeshift tourist attraction. While the ground it sits on is probably considered by some to be a prime location for multiple hauntings, it seems that this establishment provides more services than scares. The post office's Yelp page provides far more insight into the quality of the post office itself (free street parking!) than reports of hauntings or relics from Holmes' time on the site.
the post office that is located where H.H. Holmes murder castle once stood pic.twitter.com/GRVj7TeueQ— lump (@lxseyourself) May 6, 2016
While the post office has absolutely no affiliation with Holmes and features no official acknowledgement of the site's bloody history, the address itself is still a popular destination for everything from Chicago walking tours to investigators of the morbid and paranormal. While Holmes likely never intended for his "murder castle" to become a government building, there is one detail about the site that reveals something about the building that used to stand there.
While the Englewood post office only takes up part of it, the castle itself took up the entire block and was also three stories high. So if you visit, you can compare the building that currently stands there to the comparatively massive scope of Holmes' hotel. It just so happens that you can also send a package while you're there.