Marion Pellicano Ambrose
On a dark Chattanooga night, the glow of the lights and the sound of music beckons you. As you approach the old brick building, the aroma of sizzling steaks, crusty calzones and the enticing bouquet of micro brewed beer fills the air. You’ve come to The Terminal Brewhouse for a fantastic meal and a fun evening, but you may find much more. You might find spirits of a different kind!
The building was built in 1909 as a hotel to serve the Terminal Station across the street, during the golden age of rail travel. Many important people rode the “Chattanooga Choo Choo” and stayed at the hotel. After travel by automobile became popular, the train station closed and the hotel failed. It was used at one time or another as a speak easy, illegal gambling establishment, and even a bordello. Some say even more “unspeakable” activities went on behind closed doors. . Sometime in the 1940’s an enterprising luggage handler at the station named Chester Davis, had saved his tips and eventually purchased the building.
Eventually, the building fell into disrepair. Its metal stairways and cold brick walls were covered in dust and shadows. No one wanted to enter the building because of the eerie sounds and shadows within. Finally in 2006, a local raconteur began restoring the property. Two friends became interested in the Historic building and the three of them entered the building together. The walls and the rafters seemed to cry out to the men. They felt the presence of those spirits who had lived and died there, and wanted the building to come to life once more. As a result, the men decided to create a Brewhouse and restaurant. The eerie sounds continue, especially at night when the brewer is alone and brewing the many fine ales and beers served at The Terminal. I spoke to one waitress who believes that the building is definitely haunted and reports that the wait staff have seen or heard mysterious things, but they all feel that the spirits are content and friendly. Visitors to the Brewery sometime sense the “residents”, but it doesn’t take away from the pleasure of a fabulous meal, great music and some of the best beer you’ll ever taste.
If you’re ever in Chattanooga, stop by The Terminal Brewery at No.6 East 14th Street, right across from the Chattanooga Choo Choo. Who knows who you might meet!