Flickr/ Nicolas Henderson

Sengelmann Hall: Ghosts Play Music in this Haunted Central Texas Dance Hall


Just between Austin, San Antonio, and Houston sits the small town of Schulenburg, Texas. Though the city only has a population of about 2,500, it has some big stories- especially surrounding Sengelmann Hall.

Sengelmann Hall has been standing in Schulenburg since 1894. Since then, it's been a host of dancing, drinking and housing everything a small German town should. The dance hall closed during World War II and wasn't occupied again until 1970, when the first floor became an auto garage. Shortly after that, the property fell into vacancy again and wasn't open again until 2009 when Dana Harper shook the dust off the old dance hall and brought it back to life.

With every 100-year-old building, you have to wonder, is it haunted? According to Garrett Pettit, there's no wondering. Sengelmann Hall is haunted and he's witnessed it all! Pettit told Edible Houston, "In my world, there are no woo woo big chain rattling ghosts. All [our] ghosts are happy. If they play music, they've gotta be happy, right?"


Ghosts that play music? You read that right. On the stage of Sengelmann Hall, a lively polka band plays a new tune every night- even when the hall is empty. You're scared and want to run upstairs? Some footsteps follow you up; the faster you run, the quicker you're followed.

There's no ending to ghost sightings at Sengelmann's. A little boy that sits at the bar, men in their coats and tails, voices arguing upstairs when no one is around, even soldiers with their heads hung low appear from time to time at the dance hall.

Pettit shared that people who come to visit don't shy away from the haunted history of the Hall and that most find them captivating, not frightening. "It's a topic of conversation," he says. "You hope something happens. It's interesting and intriguing, and it's old, and it's fun. Who doesn't like a good ghost story?"

Musician Joan Osborne plays Sengelmann Hall often and even recalled her haunting experience at the Hall on a TV show called Celebrity Ghost Stories.


"I feel this tug on my sleeve. I looked around; I looked down, you know- no one what there," Osborne said.


I don't mean to frighten you, but with Halloween just around the corner, I can't help but dig into this haunted hall. Actually, Sengelmann Hall isn't the only place in the small town of Schulenburg that's supposedly riddled with spirits. The Von Minden Hotel, which sits just three blocks away from the music hall, has some ghost stories of its own. According to town history, two very significant deaths took place in the hotel. One in Room 23, a railroad worker who went to bed sick and never woke up. Room 37, a returning World War II soldier who had found his girl married to someone else. He jumped out of Room 37's window and got tangled up in the clothesline on the way down.


Do both of the men's souls still wander the halls of the Von Minden? Does a polka band of ghosts really play at Sengelmann's every night? You'll have to take a visit to Schulenburg and find out for yourself.

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