Spooky Claims at
- The spirit of a murdered prostitute named Sarah is commonly reported in the hotel
- Shadow figures are regularly encountered in the living room area
- Dolls left in an old bedroom are known to be moved around and even thrown
- Phantom footsteps have been reported on the hotel staircase
- Whole disembodied conversations have been overheard by visitors
- Visitors report being touched and having their hair and clothes pulled by unseen forces
- Movement on the second floor is commonly heard when no one is up there
Roads Hotel’s Haunting History
In a tiny, quiet village in central Indiana sits a quaint, two-story Queen Anne home that shows off its age proudly. With faded red siding and chipping white paint, the Roads Hotel might look like its best days are behind it. But, in fact, the hotel sees more visitors today than it has in almost a century. Step inside and you might find sights you weren’t expecting.
Maintained woodwork, restored wallpapering, and rich décor all contribute to a comforting sense of warmth within the old home. Though this aged building has worn many hats in its life, today it’s been brought back to life to educate and entertain paranormal enthusiasts, as well as support an important charity.
Timeline of Roads Hotel's History
Swipe or use timeline points to see Roads Hotel through the years
The Roads Hotel’s story began in 1893, when Newton Roads and his wife, Clara, opened the 22-room inn hoping to capitalize on the natural gas boom that gripped Indiana a few years earlier. Travelers and fortune-seekers flocked to the state and, of course, needed a place to hang their hats while they tried to stake their gas claims in the region. The couple saw early success operating their modest hotel in the small town of Atlanta.
By 1900, the town’s population reached 1,000, and though the gas boom had settled, the Roads Hotel stayed prosperous. But, the good times would not last. The family’s first brush with misfortune came in 1909, when their 18 year old son Everett contracted tuberculosis and died in one of the hotel’s rooms.
To their credit, Newton and Clara Roads kept their business flourishing through both personal tragedy, and the post-gas boom downturn in Atlanta. But, by 1920, the town’s population fell to 678 with no signs of slowing.
In January, 1926, Newton Roads died in the hotel, leaving Clara alone to keep it open. Clara Roads, however, saw a bleak future for the family hotel, and hatched a plan to keep it open. In the late 1920s, Prohibition raged, and even remote Atlanta, Indiana saw a black market for alcohol. In this,
Clara saw a chance to capitalize and began operating the Roads Hotel as a brothel and speakeasy. The keen but scandalous business model came with permanent changes to the building, including hidden rooms and trick doors.
Through the early 1930s, tragedy continued to haunt the little inn. Reportedly, the likes of John Dillinger and Al Capone passed through the speakeasy and brothel during this time, bringing waves of law-breakers in their wake and leaving behind the legend of Sarah. Sarah was said to be a prostitute reportedly murdered in the hotel after an unfortunate run-in with a customer.
The Roads Hotel embraced the seedy side of business until, in the midst of the Great Depression and after the repeal of Prohibition, it formally closed in 1937. A few short years later in 1941, Clara Roads died in the building, which sat empty before being converted into apartments by Roads family heirs.
It wasn’t until 1968 that the Roads clan finally relinquished their legacy, auctioning off the hotel and its contents.
The building sat empty until 1995, when it was bought by potential restorers. Over the next twenty years, the building came back to life, and also gained a reputation as the most haunted place in town. Though the then-owners didn’t focus on it, the Roads Hotel’s ghost stories kept accumulating.
By the time the building was sold in 2017 to its current owner, investigators were clamoring for a chance to spend a night. And, given all the spooky stories about the inn, it’s no wonder it remains an in-demand paranormal hotspot.
Roads Hotel’s Permanent Guests
One room at the Roads Hotel is particularly renowned for its paranormal activity. Now stuffed full of old dolls, the room is known for numerous EVPs captured by visitors, and dolls mysteriously moving around or even being tossed across the room by unseen forces. But, beyond just the tales of one room, ghosts are known to infest the entire building.
Roads Hotel’s Ghost Might Grab You
Other figures are known to appear in the halls and around the staircase. Beyond the sights and sounds, some visitors have reported being touched by the ghosts of the Roads Hotel, commonly saying the spirits tug on clothes, grab arms, and pull hair to get attention.
Perhaps this is the phantom of Clara Roads, trying to nudge guests to her speakeasy side-business?
Footsteps and creaks are often heard from the staircase when no one is near it. On the second floor, disembodied voices are often experienced, with some visitors claiming they hear entire conversations carrying on in mysterious unknown corners.
Roads Hotel’s Story Lives On
Ultimately, whether the ghosts of the Roads Hotel come from the original owners, unfortunate prostitutes, or the residual energy of speakeasy patrons, the haunting reputation of the inn cannot be denied. In recent years, the Roads has been labeled the third scariest location in Indiana, and the owner regularly hosts public and private investigations at the hotel. These regular ghost hunts help to share the stories and the history of the building, and to benefit the owner’s charity, the Lost Limbs Foundation.
So, whether you’re looking for the most haunted hotel in Indiana, or just hoping to find a fun way to give to charity, you’re likely to find just what you’re looking for at the Roads Hotel.