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Cisco’s First Hilton Hotel Tells the Story of a Lady in Wandering White Hallways


CISCO, Texas (BigCountryHomepage.com) – While you may have heard the story of the first Conrad Hilton hotel at Cisco, have you heard of its creepy inhabitant? According to legend, a young woman named Irene will stroll the halls of the Conrad Hilton in her 1920s wedding dress. Have you seen her?

History of the Conrad Hilton Center

Tammy Loran, former Mayor of Cisco and current Executive Director of the Cisco Chamber of Commerce and the Conrad Hilton Center, sat down for an exclusive interview with Big Country Homepage (BCH) and even gave us a tour of the center.

Loran told BCH that after a bank purchase agreement was struck in 1919, Conrad Hilton came to the Mobley Hotel just for a room for the night.

“And instead of having a room, he [Hilton] ended up buying the hotel for $40,000,” Loran said.

Hilton would come to refer to Cisco’s first Hilton hotel as its “grande dame”.

At some point, presumably in the mid to late 1920s, a married couple, Irene and Larry Waterbury, stayed for a short time at the Cisco Hilton.

“We here at the Conrad Hilton Center kind of got it. [Irene’s] wedding dress that is upstairs.

The legend of Irene

According to the Conrad N. Hilton Center, Irene White married Larry Waterbury in 1924 or 1925 when she was 24 years old. Raised in Carbon, Texas, she was the daughter of the president of Carbon Bank and Larry, Eleanor Roosevelt’s nephew. The couple met while Larry was involved in the oil field. The newlyweds spent two weeks at the White House with President Calvin Coolidge as part of their honeymoon.

Together, Irene and Larry had a son, Larry Waterbury Jr., better known as “Sonny”.

Irene would go on to write Abilene’s Meals on Wheels program, as well as start a daycare program for seniors – also in Abilene.

The little family then moved to San Marcos. When Sonny was 10 in 1953, Larry passed away. Irene didn’t make it until 1993, when she was 92 years old.

So why is Irene at the Conrad Hilton Center today?

Some say it’s because she’s with her dress. The dress can take her back to her happiest moment with her love, Larry.

Paranormal experiences at the Conrad Hilton

“I think if we could hear these walls talking, we could hear a lot of ghost stories and things [that’ve] has happened throughout the history of the Conrad Hilton Museum and Center,” Loran advised.

Loran told BCH that she has heard several reports of strange occurrences and tends to keep her distance where she can; “I try not to go up here at night on my own, and especially go upstairs in the museum itself.”

There have been reports of the elevator running on its own, mysterious music playing from the second floor, numerous creaks and other strange noises.

“She [previous Director of Conrad Hilton Center] said, ‘I was here one day by myself’ and she said she heard a noise,” Loran recounted. “She went to check, she couldn’t figure out what it was. She said it scared her so much, that she packed her things, called the board and said, “I’m going home for the day!” And that was my first true story that I had heard that, you know, we were having some kind of activity.

Loran also said that some Ghostbusters were able to register a ghostly presence on their gear, and Irene may have identified herself.

The center said it considers Irene a friendly presence, “As long as she [Irene] don’t bother me, I don’t usually bother her!

For the future of the Conrad Hilton Center, you may soon have the opportunity to get an idea of ​​Irene’s presence! In November, the center will seek board approval to allow a guest room in the center. Just like a bed-and-breakfast, you can spend the night at the Conrad Hilton.

You can visit the Conrad Hilton Center at 309 Conrad Hilton Avenue at Cisco. Who knows, you might see Irene! Admission is free and includes interesting exhibits, such as Santa’s bank robbery in 1927.

Take a look Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., or 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday.

“We have to share space,” Loran added. “She was there first.”

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