By 1871, the City of Chattanooga was finally recovering from the losses it felt during the Civil War. And, it was during this same time period that Dr. John T. Read decided to make something of the rubble that was the Old Crutchfield House.

Along with his son, Samuel, the Reads set out to build the finest hotel Chattanooga had ever seen. And, for the most part, they succeeded. Over time, the Read House Hotel became synonymous with opulence and luxury. 

It opened officially on New Year's Day in 1872 to the excitement of Chattanoogans. Over the years though, the Read House began to show its age, until in 2017, a group of investors decided to rehabilitate the building with a 25 million dollar investment.

"We really wanted to make the Read House the grande dame that it used to be in the 20s and 30s,” explained general manager, Ken Merkel. “We really wanted to make sure that we did it right. And we wanted to make sure that it represented Chattanooga in the heart of the city."

Being in the heart of Chattanooga, the Read House has come onto contact with many familiar faces. Among those are Oprah Winfrey, Gary Cooper, Winston Churchill, and one of the more well known, the notorious Al Capone. Capone stayed in the Read House a short time during his federal trial in the early in the early 1930's. Custom iron bars were added to the window in the room Capone resided in, room 311.

Perhaps the thing the Read House is most known for is the haunting of room 311. Many believe the room harbors the spirit of a woman named Annalisa Netherly.

"Annalisa, as legend has it, was kind of getting around and her husband caught her with another gentleman in the room. He took exception to that and then...ended their relationship in the bathtub. It was a little gruesome, we don't want to go too far into it, but now we have a permanent guest in 311."

There have many reported instances of unusual activities in that room. It’s been the subject of many paranormal researchers.

"You walk in the room and the water is on and everyone kind of goes, how did that happen,” Merkel said with a wry grin. “Different things with the pictures tilted one way or the other or bumps in the night. All of the things that add to the allure of 311."

The Read House decided to keep Room 311 in the style familiar to Annalisa. Forgoing renovations the rest of the hotel has seen. You will have the opportunity to visit this room through daily guided tours beginning Tuesday, March 12, 2019.

However, plans to rent the room for overnight stays will have to wait.

"We are probably not going to rent that room immediately so that we can fill the void and let people get a look at it,” said Merkel. “We will eventually rent that room, probably at a premium rate, just because Annalisa, you know we have to make sure she gets her due."