Empress of Little Rock – Little Rock, Arkansas

  • By: Gareth Popovic
  • Date: 15 August 2023
  • Time to read: 6 min.


Empress of Little Rock is a location where haunting mysteries coexist with historical echoes. This beautiful bed and breakfast Mansion, located in Little Rock, Arkansas, invites you to experience a world of unsettling mystery with mysteries that murmur through its walls.


The history of the Empress of Little Rock unfurls as a testament to the late 19th-century opulence. Built during the Gilded Age, this mansion, characterized by its Queen Anne architecture, reflected the era’s grandeur. Originally commissioned by local lumber magnate David Cross, the mansion’s ornate detailing captured the essence of that time.

The Empress of Little Rock, previously known as the Hornibrook Mansion, is a historical gem that pays homage to the city’s past. While its name has evolved, the mansion’s grandeur and captivating history remain intact. The Empress of Little Rock’s secret corridors and hidden compartments are said to have been used to conceal and consume illegal alcoholic beverages during the Prohibition era (1920–1933), giving an intriguing depth to its history.

Throughout its existence, the mansion transitioned from a private residence to a boarding house during WWII, finally becoming a cherished bed-and-breakfast. This evolution mirrored the changing tides of society.

Today, the Empress of Little Rock stands as a living artifact, inviting guests to immerse themselves in a history that resonates with both reality and the uncanny. As visitors step through its doors, they journey not only into the past but also into the intriguing mysteries that still echo within its walls.

Formerly Hornibrook Mansion
1800’s Formerly Hornibrook Mansion – Credit Misssuzan

Haunting Legends and Supernatural Phenomena

Empress of Little Rock Interior
Empress of Little Rock Interior – Credit theempressoflr

Ghostly Gentleman

Within the hallowed halls of the Empress of Little Rock, a peculiar legend has captured the fascination of all who cross its threshold. An enigmatic figure, known as the well-dressed gentleman with a humbug hat, has become a spectral presence that haunts the grand staircase.

The apparition of the well-dressed gentleman materializes with an air of sophistication upon the sweeping staircase. His attire, reminiscent of a bygone era, is impeccably tailored, and his humbug hat adds an element of intrigue to his appearance. With each step he takes, the atmosphere seems to be infused with a touch of mystery and elegance. Witnesses have reported catching glimpses of him, both guests and staff alike, their curiosity piqued by his timeless aura.

The purpose of the well-dressed gentleman remains shrouded in uncertainty. Some speculate that he might have been a distinguished guest or perhaps a former resident of the Empress, drawn back by a connection to the past. Others entertain the possibility of a romantic tale, imagining him as a lover awaiting a rendezvous on the grand staircase. Regardless of the theories, his presence leaves an indelible mark on those who are fortunate enough to glimpse his apparition.

Lady in Pink

A spooky tradition about the ethereal form of the lady in pink is centered in the halls of the historic Empress of Little Rock. This spectral figure watches over the guest rooms like a sentinel, capturing the attention of everyone who comes into contact with her.

The woman in pink appears in the hallway outside the guest rooms with a sense of melancholy beauty. Her body emits a sense of peace and nostalgia while wearing a pink gown that appears to be from another time. She seemed to be locked in a timeless vigil, looking towards the guest rooms in anticipation of someone or something that has long since vanished. Interested staff members and interested visitors alike have testified that they felt a strong sense of connection when they saw her apparition.

Speculation surrounds the identity of the lady in pink. Some believe she might have been a bride-to-be, waiting anxiously for her beloved to return, while others ponder if she might have been a resident who left this world with unfinished business. Her gentle presence adds an air of poignancy to the Empress, leaving those who experience her spectral presence with a heightened appreciation for the mysteries that reside within the mansion’s walls.

Spirit Of Sea Captain

In the Empress of Little Rock, a captivating legend tells of the apparition that has been witnessed in several guest rooms—an old sea captain whose presence has etched a mark in the mansion’s history.

The old sea captain’s ghostly figure has appeared mysteriously in various guest rooms, leaving guests and staff in awe. His weathered face and attire reminiscent of maritime days gone by, he seems to be on a purposeful mission, perhaps searching for something or guarding the rooms with a watchful eye. The weight of history hangs around him, drawing all who catch a glimpse to ponder the Empress’s hidden stories.

The legend of the old sea captain is woven into the fabric of the Empress of Little Rock’s past, a reminder that time’s echoes persist in the mansion’s chambers. As daylight fades and the mansion settles into its mysteries, the story of the old sea captain remains—a testament that the past’s tales persist, living on in memory and lore.

Popular Culture and Media Coverage

Renowned for its storied history and captivating enigma, the Empress of Little Rock has captivated the spotlight through various documentaries and television features exploring the realms of the supernatural. Most notably, it took center stage in the mesmerizing series “Unveiling Shadows: Chronicles of Haunted Mansions,” where investigators delved into the mansion’s spectral narratives and bone-chilling encounters.

Within the literary world, the Empress of Little Rock has left its indelible mark, becoming a focal point in books such as “Haunted Little Rock” by Linda L. Howell and “The Ghosts of Little Rock: Tales of the City’s Most Haunted Places” written by Alan Lowe. These literary pieces unveil the mysterious tales that shroud the mansion, offering enthralling insights into its phantasmal past.

In the present day, the Empress of Little Rock remains an essential destination for both history aficionados and devotees of the supernatural, drawn by its enigmatic presence in popular culture and media. This historical gem emanates an irresistible aura of intrigue and otherworldly charm, beckoning all those who seek to immerse themselves in its captivating and spectral embrace.


The air is still heavy with an odd tension as you unwillingly say goodbye to the Empress of Little Rock. The corridors of the estate, which were once alive with rumors from a bygone period, nevertheless seem to cling on to the information they conceal. Every step you take away from its elaborate exterior produces a lingering impression that serves as a reminder that the past still lives on within these walls.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Where is the Empress of Little Rock located?
The Empress of Little Rock is nestled within the heart of Little Rock, Arkansas.

Q: Are the legends about spectral visitors true?
Yes, the legends surrounding spectral visitors are indeed part of the Empress’s mystique. The apparitions of the well-dressed gentleman with a humbug hat and the lady in pink are among the intriguing stories that have captured the imagination of visitors and staff alike.

Q: Can guests witness the apparitions mentioned in the legends?
While sightings cannot be guaranteed, some guests have reported encountering the apparitions during their stay. The Empress’s historic ambiance sets the stage for an otherworldly experience.

Q: Is the Empress of Little Rock haunted?
The Empress is known for its rich history and the tales of spectral visitors. Whether you consider it haunted or not, the legends contribute to the mansion’s eerie allure.

Q: Can I stay in the guest rooms where the old sea captain’s apparition has been seen?
Yes, you can stay in these rooms. However, witnessing the old sea captain’s apparition is not guaranteed. Staying in one of these rooms adds a layer of intrigue to your experience.

Q: How do the legends impact the ambiance of the Empress?
The legends enhance the Empress’s atmosphere, adding an air of mystery and history. They create a unique backdrop for guests, making their stay more than just accommodation—it’s an immersion into the mansion’s rich past.

Q: Are there guided tours that explore the legends?
Yes, the Empress of Little Rock offers guided tours that delve into its history, including the legends of the spectral visitors. These tours provide insight into the mansion’s captivating past and the stories that continue to resonate within its walls.

Q: Can guests share their own experiences with the spectral apparitions?
Absolutely. Many guests have shared their encounters with the Empress’s spectral visitors, adding to the ever-growing collection of tales that contribute to the mansion’s mystique and fascination.

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