In 1881, Anton Stark, a pole man, was taken with the town of St. Elmo to the point that he quickly settled with his family. Anton became head of a department of a local mine and his wife, Anna, operating a general store and Home Comfort Hotel, which later became home to the post office and the telegraph office.
Anton and Anna raised three children in St. Elmo, Tony, Roy, and Annabelle, who worked at the hotel and shop. It was said that the hotel was the cleanest in town, the best meals and supplies in the store are more plentiful than other establishments.
The Stark family was part of the elite St. Elmo. Anna was said to be a non-funny woman who has great control over children, believing they are better than other city dwellers – miners, railway men, prostitutes and young women. Children were rarely allowed to leave the house, they were prevented from attending local dances or social activities and they only had each other for the company.
The failure of many mines and the closure of the Alps tunnel in 1910 began to decrease St. Elmo. But the Stark family remained, believing that St. Elmo would prosper again, and buy property in tax sales.
For many years Roy and Tony Stark tried to influence developers in reopening mines, but when they failed, they sought refuge in tourism, rented empty cabins for vacationers and continued to run the general store.
After the death of Anton Stark, Anna realized that tourist tourism in St. Elmo was not provided to the family and sent Annabelle to work at the Telegraph Office in Salida, 20 miles south of St. Elmo.
Long before, Annabel met a young man named Ward and in 1922 they got married. Unfortunately, the marriage did not work and after only two years she returned to St. Elmo, where she spent the rest of her life.
The three stark children of Stark, along with their mother, continued to run the general store and rent a cabin for tourists, despite the deteriorating general condition of the city. By 1930 St. Elmo’s population had fallen to just seven.
In 1934, Roy Stark died and his mother Anna died soon after. The only remaining residents are Annabelle and Tony who lived in the dead town without plumbing or electricity. The store, which was said to have had a sour odor, is said to contain faded cans of old food and old tobacco.
Although Annabele has always been said to have been kind and generous to the few who still frequent the store, locals began calling her “Dirty Annie” because of her dirty clothes and tangled hair. It is known that she was patrolling the old town with a gun to protect her belongings.
Ultimately, Tony and Annabel were sent to a mental institution. However, only a few weeks later, a sympathetic friend convinced the authorities that they were not harmful to anyone and were released.
Tony died shortly thereafter and Annabelle was sent to a nursing home in 1958 where she died in 1960. Their property was left to the sympathetic friend who helped them.
Shortly after Annabelle’s death, the two grandchildren of the two friends were said to be playing in a room of the hotel, when suddenly all the doors of the room were closed and the temperature dropped around 20 degrees. The children refused to play at the hotel again.
One of the grandchildren, a young woman in her twenties, decided to take the hotel as a project, clean rooms, make minor repairs, and wash the walls and floors. After cleaning up for the day, she and her friends will redeem their tools and cleaning tools, only to find them in the middle of the floor when they return the next day. After this continues to happen, they start placing the items in a locked cabinet, but they will stay in the middle of the floor when they return.