Haunted Rock Island Roadhouse

The former YMCA may still be haunted by a few athletically-minded apparitions

Note: This location recently changed its name from Old Rock Island YMCA to Haunted Rock Island Roadhouse

Paranormal Activity at the Haunted Rock Island Roadhouse

  • An elusive, quiet spirit reportedly haunts the second floor classrooms
  • A spirit in the classrooms is said to interact with certain types of trigger objects
  • Loud unexplained bangs have been heard in upper floors
  • Shadow figures have been seen lingering in the halls
  • Disembodied footsteps are commonly heard in the halls
  • A ghost in Room 431 is known to physically assault people at times
  • Phantom cigarette smells have been smelled on the third floor
  • Shadow figures linger around one particular room on the fourth floor
  • A stairwell door is said to be pulled by unseen forces
  • Purported EVPs have been recorded throughout the building
  • Apparitions have reportedly been photographed around the old pool area
  • Visitors to the old boys locker room report being touched by unseen hands

The Varied History of the rock Island’s Old YMCA / Haunted Rock Island Roadhouse

On a quiet corner in the heart of Rock Island, Illinois, sits an unassuming old building with a storied past. Though the brown brick exterior is now etched with the name ‘Dan Vinar Furniture Co.,’ this building began life very differently.

For decades, the big brick building on 20th street served as the local YMCA.The former community center remains fondly remembered by many, with some even calling the old YMCA home in the afterlife.

Yes, whether it’s tales of shadows in the hallways to assaults by apparitions, something spooky is reportedly stirring at the old Rock Island YMCA.

Timeline of Haunted Rock Island Roadhouse's History

Swipe or use timeline points to see Haunted Rock Island Roadhouse through the years


By the early 1900s, Rock Island had enjoyed over half a century of prosperity and growth. As a result, the community needed a lot of resources, lodging, and recreation. One organization hoped to provide all three: the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA). The YMCA built their Rock Island chapter as a handsome brown brick building in the middle of town. The new community center finally opened to the public in 1913, and quickly became a popular stop off for travelers and locals alike.


From the moment it opened, the YMCA offered Rock Island numerous resources. The building included a gym, a pool, a reading room, a game room, and lodging for 100 people on the third and fourth floors. Additionally, outdoors areas had spaces for tennis, handball, basketball, and racketball. By the mid 1920s, the YMCA proved popular enough to expand. Developers demolished the next-door Kremble School in 1927 to make way for the expansion.


For the next half century, the YMCA building continued being an essential community resource. But, by 1977, the YMCA left after a devastating fire the year before. However, life would soon come for the former community center. In 1994, it was bought to be renovated into Dan Vinar Furniture. The building underwent extensive changes during this time, including the removal of the pool and gymnasium spaces to make way for storage and showroom space.


As the 2000s dawned, more changes came to the former YMCA. Now a furniture store and storage company, many lodging rooms were converted to storage lockers. But, pieces of the YMCA past remained, including the old running track and pieces of the gym floor…and a few restless spirits.. The owners tried to ignore the hauntings around the store. But they quickly became undeniable. In 2018, the building opened up to its first ghost hunters. Since then, countless ghostly tales have come out of the repurposed community center.

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As of March 2024, the Old Rock Island YMCA has changed its name to the Haunted Rock Island Roadhouse. 

Creepy Classrooms in This Old YMCA

To the owners of the former Rock Island YMCA, the hauntings have been common for years. In the old second floor classrooms, several distinct spirits have been reported.

One is a woman said to regularly refuse to speak. Those who have gotten through to her say she just isn’t responsive to a lot of questions investigators ask. Another specter around the classrooms is said to be a nurse who likes her liquor and will interact with liquor trigger objects.

Phantom Footsteps in the Haunted Rock Island Roadhouse

Much of the building’s activity centers around the upper floor storage spaces. As the former lodging spaces, they saw a lot of activity from long-term boarders. Loud bangs and phantom footsteps are often heard in the halls.

Additionally, others have reported shadow figures darting around, seemingly going room-to-room. At least one of these shadow figures has been claimed to be captured in a video of the fourth floor. In areas of the third floor, you may even smell phantom cigarette smoke.

This Old YMCA is Known for
its Shifting Shadows

Some lodging rooms on the upper floors have been identified as haunted hotspots. In Room G5 on the fourth floor, there is said to be a spirit that hides every time anyone comes by. Those who try to interact with the spirit report that shadow figures will appear in the hall just outside the room.

Reports suggest these figures are there to intimidate the spirit hiding in G5. Also on the fourth floor, in 431, is a spirit that has been said to physically assault people. At least one person had to leave the building completely after an experience in 431.

Spooky Stairwells of the Haunted Rock Island Roadhouse

Hauntings in the Haunted Rock Island Roadhouse even reportedly inhabit the stairwells. Or, one stairwell in particular, known for a trunk elevator running up the center. Here, EVPs of screams have been recorded, as well as recordings of loud door slamming.

Additionally, people have reported doors to the trunk elevator stairwell being pulled at by unseen forces. While no one knows the source of all the stairwell activity, there is one spirit identified in an attached storage room that may be the culprit.

Rock Island Roadhouse’s Many Ghosts

Along with the old YMCA’s countless hotspots, ghostly activity is spread far throughout the building. A potential apparition has been photographed around the filled in pool area.

Elsewhere, certain bathrooms have become known for EVPs of German-speaking specters. Sensations of being touched by unseen hands and strange light anomalies have also been claimed, especially around the old basement locker rooms.

Ghost Hunts at the Haunted Rock Island Roadhouse

While selling furniture remains the main business, the owners of Dan Vinar Furniture have been increasingly open about their building’s ghost stories. Since their very first investigations in 2018, the former YMCA has greeted countless additional ghost hunters. Many have since reported additional ghostly activity through the building and claimed to capture some of it on audio and video recordings.

Booking your own tour or ghost hunt at the old Rock Island YMCA is as simple as reaching out via their Facebook page or their phone line to book a date.

Just be sure to plan ahead! As the furniture store’s hauntings get increasing notoriety, the building seems destined to be known as much for its phantoms as its furniture.