A Brief History: The Muenchinger King Building is located at 38 Bellevue Avenue in Newport, Rhode Island. Built in 1845, it was originally owned by the first president of the Newport Historical Society, David King. He expanded construction on the building over the next several decades before giving the property to his sister, Sarah Gibbs King in 1893. The property was sold in 1903 to Gustave and Amanda Muenchinger, who converted it to a hotel. They created a rather exclusive location that became a popular reception hall for weddings, anniversaries, banquets, and other important meetings and receptions for government officials and dignitaries. It also became a popular “summer home” for wealthy socialites in Newport, the most famous of whom would be Margaret Tobin Brown better known as The Unsinkable Molly Brown, survivor of the Titanic sinking. Throughout the 1950’s and 60’s it served as a popular dancehall and concert venue. Eventually, the MK ran into trouble with taxes and was sold to the Rhode Island Hospital Trust Co. in 1968. It was then sold to John Clifford in 1969, who renovated it into an apartment building and gift shop and tore down a section in order to put in a parking lot. It still stands today as an office condominium.
Haunted History: While there are not a lot of documented claims of paranormal activity at the Muenchinger King Building, it’s easy to see how a location with such a rich history could still be a popular haunt for some of the elite dearly departed. Does Molly Brown still summer here? Perhaps. One notable death related to the location is that of Elizabeth Sanford Blye. She was a longtime hostess at the MK and also lived just up the block on Catherine St. She passed away at home in 1974 at the age of 90. It’s not impossible to think that she may have resumed her hostess duties at the beloved Muenchinger King.