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Hotel Del Coronado
Thomas Edison and Kate Morgan Legends

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Hotel Del Coronado front entrance 1892

Hotel Del Coronado - front entrance 1892.  Lottie Barnard would have traveled down Orange Avenue from the Coronado Ferry Landing to this front entrance. 

Research paper presented to the Hotel Del Coronado staff and historian has now been made public.  Read the research paper here

Live interview at KUSI Studio in San Diego, CA  Original air date 08/28/12

Actual communication with "The Beautiful Stranger" Lottie Barnard. 

San Diego, CA -- Jun 12, 2007 -- Researchers use a new process called “Interdimensional Communication” to separate fact from fiction on the internationally famous legend of Kate Morgan, the Hotel Del Coronado’s most longstanding guest.  


The “Legend” would have you believe that Kate Morgan was under the assumed name of Mrs. Lottie A. Bernard when she checked into the Hotel Del Coronado on the afternoon of November 24th, 1892.   She is accused of being a swindler and a cheat, using her charms to cheat men out of their money.  No doubt her suitors would have had flowers delivered to her every day. She is married to a gambler and pregnant and riding the rails.  She is also ruled a suicide when she is found dead on the steps leading to the beach on the morning of November 29, 1892.  Not only is this legend completely untrue for Kate Morgan, it is even more wrong when the legend is not even about the correct person.   Mrs. Lottie A. Barnard claims she is not Kate Morgan. Note: The spelling of Barnard is the correct spelling.  The front desk clerk who signed her in mispelled her name as Bernard.  The City Directory record from Detroit in 1890 shows her as Mrs. Charlotte Barnard.  

 Mrs. Charlotte Barnard City Directory record

Copy of the original Hotel Del Coronado Register from November 24, 1892.  According to the Hotel Del Coronado historian the Beautiful Stranger did not sign the register herself.  This was done by the front desk clerk.

Hotel Del Coronado Register - Beautiful Stranger signed in by hotel clerk

Bonnie Vent ( Research Medium located in San Diego, CA)  spoke with the famous spirit.  Vent said; “The first thing she wanted to make clear is that she is not Kate Morgan and her real name is Mrs. Lottie A. Barnard."  “This is the main reason why Lottie stays at the Hotel Del Coronado”.  “She is waiting for her true story to be told”.

There have been several books written about this case, but her identity was never questioned until now.  With this new information in hand, provided by Mrs. Lottie A.  Barnard herself, research into the facts of the case were initiated.  

According the San Diego Union December 2nd, 1892, Mrs. Lottie A. Bernard was seen on a train in Denver, CO heading to Coronado, CA.  Kate Morgan was under the assumed name of Katie Logan in Los Angeles, CA.  To quote the San Diego Union: “A bell boy of Hotel Del Coronado said yesterday that he was told by Joseph E. Jones of Boston, who came to the hotel on Thanksgiving Day, that the latter was a fellow passenger in the same car from Denver with the young woman.” “Mr. Jones said that he had not mentioned the fact as he was averse to being called to testify before the coroner’s jury”.  

Mr. Jones was never called to testify, even though he was a key witness.  His name is listed directly after hers on the hotel register.  Mr. Jones is the same person who saw Mrs. Lottie A. Barnard arguing on the train in Orange, CA.  This argument is a corner stone to the legend.  Some of the newspaper account was used for the legend but not all of it.  If Mrs. Barnard were on a train heading from Denver to the Hotel Del Coronado she cannot be Kate Morgan.  Kate Morgan under the name of Katie Logan left her employer’s home the day before Thanksgiving and said she would return the next day to make a Thanksgiving Dinner, she never returned, but she could not be on a train in Denver several days before leaving her employer’s home.   

This is just an example of the facts given by the famous spirit at the Hotel Del Coronado.  Research is ongoing and additional funding is needed.  

Media Contact:  Bonnie Vent  - bvent@sdparanormal.com   

Website:   www.sdparanormal.com 

LIVE trance channeling event at the Hotel Del Coronado with Bonnie Vent and John Streiff on September 7th, 2008 video archives.  

Full version with Higher Level Guidance providing information about the death process as well as spirit communication with the REAL Beautiful Stranger Lottie Barnard available upon request.  


If you have stopped by the Urban Legends page you will notice that Edison and the lighting at the Hotel Del Coronado fall into the Urban Legend files.   


The Hotel Del Coronado was under construction in 1887 and completed in 1888.  There is no sign of Thomas Edison until October 1915.  We know for sure he was here in San Diego and that he stayed at the Hotel Del Coronado.  To quote the Union Tribune article dated January 25, 1994 on the subject of the Edison Legends.  "Edison and his party journeyed to California in a private Pullman car named "Superb".  They went first to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco then came south to San Diego, where Edison Day was declared.  12,000 schoolchildren came out to greet Edison and they received a bonus.  In Balboa Park they discovered Henry Ford who chatted with the press about his peace movement, seeking to halt the war in Europe."  As you can see by this excerpt from this Union Tribune article, Edison made the news in a big way and would have before had he actually been here before 1915.  Others have attempted to research these legends.  Marcie Buckley who was then the secretary of M. Larry Lawrence (a former owner of the Hotel Del Coronado)  put an article in the "Del Tidings" column in the Coronado Journal to ask for information on Edison's appearances at the hotel.  The response must have been disappointing, for 3 weeks later she repeated the request in her column with no success.  Also, according to the curator of the Edison National History Site in New Jersey, Edison was nowhere near San Diego in 1888 or 1904 for the lighting of the Christmas Tree.

There is an article dated February 1st, 1888 in the San Diego Union Tribune explaining the lighting installation and Thomas Edison's name is not mentioned. The first-in-the-nation (was really the first on the west coast) outdoor electrically lighted Christmas Tree was at the Hotel Del Coronado in December of 1904.  Best we can tell the legend started with a simple remark.  Edison was quoted as marveling at the first and largest installation of the new incandescent lamp.  Thus started the legend that it was he who had put it all in place. The truth is Mather using Alternating Current that was patented by George Westinghouse installed the lighting.  Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse were competitors and rivals.  In this case Thomas Edison thought Direct Current was the best method not AC.  During this same time frame Thomas Edison was suing most of the lighting companies of the day.  This included Mather and Westinghouse.  Not only did he not install the lights at the Hotel Del Coronado but also he was opposed to their use and considered AC power as a fire hazard. Edison may have been wrong about AC power, but at least he was concerned about possible fire hazards which could endanger the lives of hotel employees and guests. T

The details of the lighting taken from a San Diego Union article dated Wednesday February 1, 1888. Titled: The Wonderful Light...The Electric Plant at the Hotel Del Coronado.  Largest of it's kind in the world.  Description of the Marvelous but simple System that Lights the Mammoth Hotel.

In building the Hotel Del Coronado, the Coronado Beach Company has established to their lines a peerage over similar works that have been accomplished, both in this country and on the other side of the Atlantic.  Among these things are the enumerated the electrical appliances with which the hotel is equipped.  There the same agent not only turns darkness into light, but it runs errands and protects from fire in every and any portion of the house.  Probably the most interesting feature in these appliances is the incandescent electric light plant, which is the largest local installation of the kind in the world.  On the northern shore of Glorietta bay, just south of the hotel, is the two-story brick laundry and engine house, in the basement of which is placed the dynamos, together with the pumping and heating machinery of the hotel.  In an addition are the two Hazelton boilers.  The dynamos for the incandescent plant are of the Mather type and are five in number; two having a capacity of 400-lights each and the other three each bring "250-lighter."  The machines are, as they appear, the simplest dynamos for general efficiency that are made.  The field magnets are of horseshoe form, curving down until they almost completely envelop the side of the armature.  In the 400-light machine, this is nine inches in diameter by twenty-two inches in length and is run at 1,300 revolutions per minute consuming about 40-horse power.  Although each machine is not over 60 inches in height and apparently of light construction, it weighs near two and one-fourth tons.

The Switch Board

The heavy and doubly insulated copper wires leading from the five dynamos terminate in a large switchboard that occupies the entire space between two windows in the engine room.  This board is so arranged that a person standing before it can control every circuit throughout the hotel building.  Near the floor are five "controllers," one for each dynamo, by means of which the candlepower of the lamps is regulated.  Above this is the switch-board proper, where the current from either or all of the dynamos may be thrown on either or all of the five floors of the structure and either in series or in multiple.  The positive and negative wires are marked and are simply provided with safety fuses that will melt and so break the current of either machine in event it becomes too great through short-circuiting or other means.  The arrangement for testing is also perfect, and any short circuit can be located upon either the positive or negative wire by simply turning a switch lever opposite each wire and watching the effect upon a lamp that overhangs the board.  Above this are the volumeters and ammeters that show the pressure and quantity of the current respectively from each dynaton.  One beauty of the system of wiring is that it is the same in every part of the plant; hence it is easy to locate a wire no matter what portion of the building it may be found.  Up near the ceiling over the switchboard are five boxes about the size of telephone boxes.  These are the upper shunts, and they, in connection with the special winding of the field magnets of the machine, achieve an object that seems almost impossible to one unfamiliar with electrical science.  By means of the arrangement, the dynamos are made automatic and self-regulating, -that is, and their curlenis are regulated according to the number of lamps that are burning.  One of the 400-light dynamos will thus operate one lamp or 400 lamps with equal efficiency.  The lamps to be used are the Mather-Perkins incandescent sixteen- candlepower lamps, of which there will be nearly 2,000 in the entire building.  The combined capacity of the dynamos is 1,550 lights, yet this will be more than sufficient to operate the entire plant.    

According to this same article there was also a fire alarm system: "By pulling levers fire alarms are rung in every room of the hotel in the same manner an alarm may be rung in any room by pushing it's individual button.  This system was installed by W.W Dowd of Los Angeles who was assisted by C.C. Davis of Cincinnati".   

The remarks below are from an Edison expert from the Edisonian:

 A Restoration agreement was reached between SOHO and Hotel Del Coronado.  This article also clearly states that it was not Thomas Edison.  


Dear Bonnie Vent,

In my opinion, it appears the Hotel Del Coronado may have "inadvertently" misrepresented the true historical record to some degree.  It is well documented in historic record that in 1888 Edison was embroiled in the depths of the world's largest technology court battle at the time, which claimed numerous proprietary infringements of Edison's electric light patents.  Among the guilty infringers we find Mather and Perkins.  Without valid documentation as proof, the claim that Thomas Edison installed Mather Dynamos and Mather-Perkins incandescent lamps at the Hotel Del Coronado is without certifiable foundation or credible merit, circa 1888.  It should be further noted that in 1888 Edison was exclusively promoting and installing his own highly acclaimed newly designed Edison "Type 1888" Dynamo, and at that time Edison used his own Edison incandescent lamps exclusively.  It is also well documented in historic record that Edison was not one to promote electrical systems made by rival inventors such as Mather, Perkins, or others.  I'm afraid the Hotel Del Coronado has no valid claim to boast Edison installed a Mather Perkins electric light system in their hotel facility, circa 1888, historical record indicates otherwise.

In addition, in my opinion, the claim that Hotel Del Coronado in 1904 had the first-in-the-nation electrically illuminated "outdoor" Christmas tree is without certifiable foundation or credible merit.  The promotional spin of local news at the time may not have had access to each and every prior world wide fact regarding the first electrically illuminated outdoor Christmas tree, which may be the reason for some misunderstanding by the Hotel Del Coronado. The 
historical record does confirm the first known electrically illuminated
Christmas tree was the creation of Edward H. Johnson, Vice President of the Edison Electric Light Company, which he first illuminated for the Christmas season of 1882.  From that point on, electrically illuminated Christmas trees, indoors and outdoors, grew with mounting enthusiasm, especially among the well-to-do.  By the turn of the 20th century, common electrical lighting catalogs were advertising "weatherproof" electric light "Christmas Tree Outfits" for sale to the general public.  In other words, the first-in-the-nation electrically illuminated "outdoor" Christmas tree date of 1904 claimed by the Hotel Del Coronado is simply not supported by common historical record.  Between 1882 and 1904, indoor and outdoor electrically illuminated Christmas tree history had matured over a 22 year period to become a mass production business.


Above:  The tradition that spread around the world was started at the Hotel Del Coronado in 1904.  The suggestion of Mrs. Martha Ingersoll Robinson, mother of Mrs. Joshua Baily of San Diego, led to this first-in-the-nation electrically-lighted outdoor Christmas tree.  Carl H. Messner of Pacific Beach did the wiring.

According to the Edisonian:

"The historical record does confirm the first known electrically illuminated Christmas tree was the creation of Edward H. Johnson, Vice President of the Edison Electric Light Company, which he first illuminated for the Christmas season of 1882. Edward H. Johnson did find great praise for his successful creation of the Christmas tree."

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Need a reading, mandala or some jewelry?  Check it out. 

Bonnie Vent products and services website


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