The Haunted Don?

“Time is infinite. I wait for you by our fountain . . . to share our timeless love, our destiny is time.” Thomas Rowe received this note upon the death of his love, Lucinda.

The two met in the 1890s when Rowe was studying in Europe. Rowe had attended a production of Maritana in London and had fallen in love with the female lead, Lucinda.

Lucinda’s parents decided Rowe was not a suitable beau and forbade the relationship. Rowe and Lucinda held secret rendezvous by a fountain until they were caught. Rowe returned to America, heartbroken.

For years, he mailed letters to his love but they were returned unopened.

Lucinda died in the early 1900’s never having traveled to America and never seeing her love again.

Rowe learned of Lucinda’s death and in 1925 he built the Don CeSar is a monument to their love. The lobby of the hotel included a replica of the courtyard and fountain where he and Lucinda met to share their forbidden desires.

A sudden heart attack claimed Rowe’s life in 1940 in the lobby of the CeSar. Stories claim that Lucinda’s traveled to the hotel to be with Rowe as they could not be together in life.

Although the fountain no longer exists, employees at Don CeSar tell tales of seeing a couple who suddenly appear, walking hand-in-hand in the hotel, and then disappearing. Others report seeing the couple walking the beach.

The second, fifth and sixth floors of the Don CeSar in Pinellas are said to be haunted by the ghost Rowe. Staff has reported seeing an older man wearing a dark suit and a Panama hat.

The St. Petersburg Times printed a story about the haunted hotel for its 2002 Halloween issue.

"About nine years ago, there were so many noise complaints that the general manager built a room for (Rowe) in between the floors and asked him to please stay there because he was scaring the guests," said Michael Chagnon, director of sales and marketing to the newspaper.

by: Bruce Kitchens
photo placement: April Slazas & Suzanne White


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