That story is based on a real thing. Apparently it wasn’t uncommon in cow towns for similar things to be constructed. In Garden City there are remains of the old tunnels but you can’t go through them anymore. Like much of its cultural history Garden has allowed them to be filled in, closed off, or generally destroyed. I worked in the main street area at one time, and was able to fiddle around in some of the historical sites. They are not well kept, unfortunately. I often found evidence of homeless people spending the nights in the darkest corners of the old hotels.
Even on the sunniest of days the old Brown Hotel is dark as night in most places. It was constructed between other structures and is weirdly tall and narrow. A steep double flight of stairs leads to an old reception desk. It’s the only lit part of the building now, and only because the most of the old skylight remains. It’s made of thick slabs of glass that sometimes fall from the ceiling and shatter. People would scavenge it whenever that happened, and rarely fill the hole.
Any place you go from that central point is dark, save for a few rooms that still have windows. Even then the light spears in, but doesn’t fill the area. It looks like the darkness is almost pushing back against it. It’s unquestionably creepy. Everything is a dull brown and coated in thick dust. The dark corners where once were rooms to rent are now storage for local businesses. Heaps of random junk are piled where no one can see them. Cobwebs hang everywhere, and there is able evidence of mice and bugs. It’s pretty bleak.
I’m very glad I had a chance to snoop around the old place because that sort of building is only going to get more rare, and less easy to access as the years roll by. Eventually it’ll be boarded up for good and the only evidence that it had any kind of storied history will be the sad, faded, yellow sign explaining what the Brown Hotel used to be.
It’s a shame I didn’t have access to the place at the start of the ghost hunting craze. It would have been a lot of fun to stand in the dark with my friends and talk to an empty building. in spite of how creepy it was to be in it didn’t have that feeling of being haunted that you get in some old places. If ever there were spirits lingering it felt like maybe it was too sad even for them to hang around.