If these walls could talk, they would tell stories of all the famous people who have stayed at the House of Ludington. Suzell Eisenberger, the owner of the House of Ludington said, “The hotel does have a great history to it. There have been all kinds of famous people that have stayed and the stories and every year we hear something different or we learn something.”
The hotel is rumored to have been a hideout for 1920’s gangster Al Capone. “If you look at the hotel and how it’s set up, you could believe that it. It could be a lookout for Al Capone and his people. On the third floor, there’s a little trap door that goes to an attic,” said Eisenberger.
But, not everyone believes the stories. Historians say, owner Pat Hayes bought the Ludington after Capone was imprisoned. A few years later, Hayes opened his doors to the Harlem Globetrotters, who were turned away from other hotels in the city. Karen Lindquist, the chairman of the archives committee said, “Hayes was like that. He could recognize real opportunities to publicize Escanba and publicize the hotel. He was a real genius at it. He did a great job of that type of thing.”
And, what’s a 150-year-old hotel without some ghost stories? Ed Eisenberger, another owner of the hotel said, “Wyatt (the Eisenberger’s son) was with Suzell in the office one day and a door opened and there was nobody behind it, so that was pretty strange.”
The Eisenberger’s bought the hotel 17 years ago and have done a lot of remodeling but kept the same premise of the hotel. “We just said, we didn’t want to say, ‘what if?’ And if it didn’t work, it was only money,” said Suzell.
“Suzel and Ed have done a great job of trying to keep the building going and people in town really appreciate the business. It’s a good thing for Escanaba,” said Lindquist.
So Al Capone may never have spent time there but, other famous people like Henry Ford, Johnny Cash, along with many others did in fact visit what is known as the Great White Castle of the north, and it remains one of the U.P.’s biggest attractions.