Ask Hamilton – Haunted Room at The Read House

(Above) The Read House, 1890

The Read House & Room 311

Photos Courtesy of Chattanooga Public Library, The Read House


Dear Hamilton,

With Halloween just around the corner, I was wondering if you knew of any spooky ghost stories that I can share with my friends when they come to town. I’d love to show them around the city and impart a tantalizing tale or two.


Ghost Getter

(Above) Crutchfield House, circa 1861; Silver Ballroom, circa 1926; The Read House, 1974


Dear Ghost Getter,

Any chance your friends are staying at The Read House during their visit to Chattanooga? It just so happens that the historic hotel is also home to one of the city’s most haunted locales.

To paint the full picture of what is today The Read House, we’ll need to rewind to 1847. It was in that year that Thomas Crutchfield, Sr. began constructing the Griffin House. Renamed the Crutchfield House several years after its construction, the hotel sat just across the street from a train station and constantly catered to the hustle and bustle of travelers.

Crutchfield’s son took over ownership of the hotel in 1853 and operated the building until he ultimately sold it in 1861, fearing that the Civil War would result in the building’s demise. While the hotel did survive the Civil War (during which it served as a hospital), in 1867 a fire broke out in the oil room, and the building burned to the ground.

Kate Kaye Read and Samuel Read headshotsFour years later, Dr. John Read, alongside his wife Caroline, opened another hotel on the former Crutchfield House site. This three-story structure had rooms starting at $1 per day, and it featured a restaurant, café, grill, and Turkish bath. It even had a ticket office for the railroad located within the building for added convenience. The Reads’ son, Samuel, took over the hotel in 1879 at the young age of 19. Seven years later, Samuel Read ordered a renovation of the hotel, and in 1925, the majority of the structure was demolished to make way for the present 10-story building.

Not long after the rebuild, a crime allegedly took place in room 311 of the hotel, leading many to deem the unit as one of the most haunted hotel rooms in the Southeast – and perhaps even the nation.

It is rumored that in the late 1920s, Annalisa Netherly was beheaded in the bathtub by a jealous lover. In the years following the incident, visitors and employees alike have reported flickering lights, running water, shadowy figures, and unexplained noises among other paranormal experiences in room 311.

And there’s more! The same room housed Al Capone in the early 1930s when he was en route to Atlanta for a federal trial. At the time, rebar was secured to the room’s windows to prevent Capone from escaping. Recently, the hotel reinstalled rebar to allow visitors a glimpse into the past.

In 2018, The Read House underwent a renovation, and during the process, restored room 311 to the style that would have been reflected when Annalisa Netherly was a guest herself. Today, you will notice that modern amenities, such as a TV or hairdryer, are nowhere to be found. Instead, ornate Victorian furniture, a clawfoot tub, and even a pull chain toilet can be found in the room.

The 2018 renovation also had its share of strange occurrences surrounding room 311. In addition to experiencing several busted pipes, the hotel’s ownership group had issues accessing the room on demolition day. When keys, and later brute force, didn’t work, construction crews had to saw the door open to get into the room.

With a flurry of reported activity, paranormal enthusiasts from across the nation flock to The Read House for their chance to have a unique experience, and while an overnight stay in room 311 is possible, it’s not for the faint of heart.

Hope this helps!

Hamilton Bush

Resident History Hound

Chattanooga, Tennessee

The Read House Room 311 present day The Read House Room 311 present day(Above) The Read House Room 311, present day

You Also Might Like

Working in the City: Smith-Perry Berries Farm
strawberries growing at Smith Perry Berries

Strawberry Fields Forever Farm-Fresh Strawberries, Sunflowers, and Pumpkins By Kathy Bradshaw | Photography by Emily Pérez Long   Bill Perry Read more

Ask Hamilton – Movies Filmed in Chattanooga
TN valley railroad train

Movies Filmed in Chattanooga   Trains such as this one (above) from the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum have appeared in Read more

On the Map 2021
map with a pin in chattanooga, tn

Area High School Alumni Take on the World These graduates have accomplished incredible things and enjoyed great successes since their Read more

Chattanooga Muralists Make It Big
the artist 7 standing by his mural

Larger than Life Art is defined as the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination to produce works Read more

Working in the City – Bead Therapy
Susan Council showing off beads at her shop Bead Therapy

Local Shop Helps Cultivate Community Creativity   When Susan Council’s employer transferred her to the Scenic City at the turn Read more

Ask Hamilton – Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Museum
medal of honor recipients at museum opening

Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Museum   (Above) Medal of Honor recipients at the grand opening of the Read more