National Exchange Hotel

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This is considered to be the oldest operating hotel in California, and possibly all of the West. Established in 1856, it has been in continuous operation except for a brief period where it was closed down due to fire damage and repaired.  People have reported seeing full body apparitions of men dressed in old-fashioned clothing sitting in the lobby and smoking cigars which would be odd if only for the fact that there is a no-smoking policy at the hotel.  Some claim to have seen the figure of a woman in Victorian era dress gliding through the bar area.  The piano is said to sometimes play at night and people have reported hearing other strange noises and to have felt cold spots.

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    Geographic Information

    211 Broad St.
    Nevada City, CA
    United States

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    39.2623927, -121.01782200000002
    Nevada County, California
    Nearest Towns:
    Nevada City, CA (0.1 mi.)
    Grass Valley, CA (3.8 mi.)
    Rough and Ready, CA (6.7 mi.)
    Alta Sierra, CA (8.6 mi.)
    North San Juan, CA (8.7 mi.)
    Lake Wildwood, CA (10.0 mi.)
    Penn Valley, CA (10.3 mi.)
    Dutch Flat, CA (10.4 mi.)
    Colfax, CA (11.7 mi.)
    Alta, CA (11.7 mi.)


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    Comments (9)

    1. I worked at the National Hotel as a housekeeper. I was never scared of being alone while I worked or experienced anything I couldn’t explain but the womens bathroom in the bar has freaked me out. I refuse to go in there because of the lady with long dark hair.

      • Hi Erin..well you say you never saw anything..but obvious you heard something about ladies room in please..elaborate.. i’d like to hear more about this woman with dark tell more..thanx

    2. Hi I worked at the National for two years as Building maintenance and many times up on the 2nd floor i would hear the sounds of people walking down the Hall way,and the voice of a little girl who i was told ,her name was beth,,in the two yrs many many unexplained things happened it was a awsome place to work!

    3. I stayed in room 42 last night from 9p-1a, I told Jaimie at the front desk that I wanted to stay in the main building after she tried to put me in the structure out back.. She explained that she would need to give me a space heater because the boiler for the main building wasnt running because there were no other guests besides me in the main I knew that I was on the 3rd floor alone.. anyway, the room was decent but definitely a historical musty atmosphere… I feel asleep hard around 10p and was awoken at midnight by a soft knocking that sounded like it was coming from the next room over.. I told myself it was either the plumbing, someone downstairs in the bar or Jaimie hanging a picture down in the lobby.. The knocking went on and off for about 15 minutes, I could not get back to sleep…finally the knocking was really aggressive and I heard a soft female voice say don’t leave..Naturally I packed my things and left immediately

    4. I stayed at the National about 5 years ago. I knew nothing about its history of being haunted until after I stayed there. Although I did not see or hear anything, the morning I checked out to leave, the receptionist asked me what I was doing walking around the lobby around 2am in the morning. Strange thing is…. I was fast asleep in bed and I have no history of sleep walking.. Now that’s eerie!!

    5. I stayed in one of the garden rooms several years ago and Up In my return to my room in the evening from the bar, I saw a woman w/ light brown hair in a Victorian dress pass down the hallway.

    6. Staying at this place was probably the sketchiest experience of my life. I didn’t see anything but I definitely felt some strange vibes. I felt like I was in the cast of conjuring 2.

    7. Two days ago I was in Nevada City for the first time and was not aware of it’s history other than a gold mining town. I am a psychic-medium-channel and was there with a friend who is sensitive to energy. She mentioned the heavy energy in the National Hotel that she had felt when she visited last year. We went inside and almost immediately felt the energy as a denseness. When we went upstairs to the lobby area I immediately felt swarmed by spirits. I started to feel nauseous which generally means that a spirit is trying to come through for me to channel. It happened literally within a minute and I had to leave. I picked up on the energy of a little girl but then a lot of male energy. It was overwhelming with the number of spirits that were there. They do have something to say but I wouldn’t go back unless I was with 15 or 20 other mediums to handle the sheer number of them. Of course since I got home I’ve been reading what I can about the paranormal activity in this hotel and the town. Very interesting…

    8. It has been purchased by an investment company from Boston and it closed today. FEB 11th 2018. It will be closed and rebuild inside for the next year or so.

      We went in and did some EVP work and spirit photography.

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    Disclaimer: The stories posted here are user-submitted and are, in the nature of "ghost stories," largely unverifiable. makes no claims that any of the statements posted here are factually accurate. The vast majority of information provided on this web site is anecdotal, and as such, should be viewed in the same light as local folklore and urban legends.