Long Live The Legend - Alex Johnson
Posted: February 03, 2017
The historic Alex Johnson hotel looms over downtown Rapid City carrying a history unlike any other. The cultured décor reflects the founder’s German heritage as well as the Native American tribes in the region and gives the hotel its unique charm that guests from around the world anticipate. Behind its walls are decades of stories, memories, and a few friendly ghosts.
On October 3, 1927, just one day before construction began on South Dakota’s national monument, Mount Rushmore, Alex Carlton Johnson began work on the hotel that would bear his name.
At the time, Johnson was the Vice President of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad. He had a passionate interest in the Black Hills as well as the Lakota Sioux Tribes that called the area home. His dream was to dedicate a legendary landmark to the Native Americans and the beloved Black Hills.
To this day, the hotel’s front lobby embodies Johnson’s vision. With Native American works of art, tiles in the floor representing the “four sacred corners of the earth,” and hand painted beams along the ceiling, Johnson’s legend remains.
But maybe more remains than we thought. Stories have been told that Mr. Alex Johnson has never left the building. In fact, some guests have reported seeing his ghost in the halls of the hotel. Since his death in 1938, it is thought that he remains on the premises to ensure operations are still running smoothly.
The curious thing is, Johnson may not be alone. Other guests admit to hearing a knock on their room door followed by giggling, night after night. Then they open the door to find no one there. This young girl has many names, but we like to think that Alex Johnson’s daughter. After passing away from polio in the hotel decades ago, she remains to keep her father company and play around the halls as she did before.
We are proud to share the legacy of Alex Johnson with guests from around the world. Stop by our hotel lobby and make memories of your very own. Book your room online now.