Atlanta, Ind. - Have you ever been inside a hotel that gave you the heebie jeebies?
We continue our haunted Your Town Friday series this month by going to one that might do just that!
Atlanta is in Hamilton County. It's quite small, with the last census recording 725 people live there.
The town has been called Atlanta since 1885. It was about ten years after that a hotel opened its doors. And it appears some guests never wanted to leave.
"We’ve had a lot of different things paranormal-wise happening," said Mike Couch. "A lot of people see shadows. Voices. Footsteps a lot, too."
Mike Couch had heard the stories of the Roads Hotel and now he has his own.
"I have times where I’m here by myself at night and I’ll hear someone walking around. I’m like wait, there’s nobody in the building. So I’ll go check it out, but there’s nobody here."
The sign out front says, "Where some have taken the idea of a late checkout to a whole new level."
"The hotel was built in 1893 by Abraham Coffman and it was purchased by Newton and Clara Rhoads and they opened it up as a hotel. Newton was a traveling salesman and he died in 1926 and Clara wanted to keep the place open, so eventually it became a speakeasy and a brothel."
Mike's foundation is the owner now. More on how that happened later. First, back to the tales of the dead.
"So Newton and Clara’s son, Everett, actually passed away in the hotel from tuberculosis at the age of 18," explained Mike. "He was confined into the room before he passed. There was also a preacher that was here that hung himself in the attic. And then there was a lady during the brothel period. Her name was Sara and her room is really active."
Groups often rent the hotel to investigate the rooms themselves. And Mike brings in celeb ghost hunters for charity events, benefiting his Lost Limbs Foundation.
"I started the Lost Limbs Foundation from struggles of losing my leg. I had a venous malformation in just the right leg. The veins were knotted up and as I got older there was more pain and swelling. From those struggles, I learned that the sockets that hold your leg on, like in my case, it was $15,000."
"Kids are constantly growing so they’re going to go through two, maybe even up to three or four sockets a year, so things like that made me kind of sit back and think. I wanted to start something to be able to help kids that are going through the struggle that I went through."
Meanwhile, the hotel's previous owner was looking to sell and contacted a mutual friend of Mike's, a big supporter of his charity.
"He gives me a call and says, what do you think of the charity owning the place and then that’s more money coming in for the charity? My first thought was, OK, I don’t want to dip into charity funds to be able to purchase the place because it’s more kids we could help, so he’s like, well what if you had an angel investor?"
Since Mike and the Lost Limbs Foundation took over, Mike has moved into the hotel and gets stopped around town and told stories.
"We have a lot of rumors that Dillinger spent time here, which makes sense with Dillinger being in Indiana. One lady stopped me and actually told me that he would come in through the stairs at the back of the building and come up through the back door and would go to his regular room he had upstairs. Been trying to validate that, but it’s Dillinger so not like he came in trying to sign a guest book or something saying, I’m here!"
The Roads Hotel has teamed up with the Nickel Plate Express to do the Ghost Express. Hop aboard if you dare! You can ride Saturday evening at 6:30 and the train departs from downtown Atlanta.