Roads Hotel

roads hotel

In the small town of Atlanta, Indiana located within Hamilton County, there sits this Historic Landmark. Although locals of the town tell us that the Historic Roads Hotel was built prior to 1893, we have been unable to verify that. Every documented piece of material we have found to date indicates that the Hotel was built in 1893. The hotel was built by Abraham Kauffman. Newton Roads purchased the hotel for his wife Clara. Clara ran the hotel along with her son Everett and daughter Hazel. The hotel had 7 boarders, Rev. Lester Poor , Clara Hare , Richard Hughes , Annie Hughes , William Mayer , John Wilson , WC Dezoto , 2 servants Ida Cook & Minnie Summers and Phillip Roads was the porter ( bell hop ).  The hotel served as a layover for the railroad that passed through the business district of Atlanta. We know that Hotel was never in Newton?s possession; or rather his name has never appeared on the deed for the property. Rather it was in his wife Clara’s name. 

  In some research they have verified, that Newton Roads was the son of Philip Roads. Philip walked from his home in Lancaster county Pennsylvania, to claim property that the government had granted him for his participation in the Civil War. Philip Roads was known as one of the founding members of Hamilton County. Back then the small town was called Shielville.  It was name by the primary founder of the land, Michael Shiel who settled on the Land in 1836. Soon after came a gentleman by the name of Caleb Sparger.  Sparger’s land was just west of Sheil’s land and was called Spargersville. Eventually the two lands merged and became a small town called Buena Vista. It was at this time that other settlers started coming to the land. On a side note it was during the Civil War that the name of the town became Atlanta. From my understanding it was indeed named after Atlanta Georgia due to the fact that several of the local young men were killed during the battle of Atlanta in the Civil War. Among these first settlers was of course Philip Road’s.  Philip was a wagon maker, and once his land was claimed, he returned to gather his family and bring them to their new home. Philip was married to a woman by the name of Susanna. We do not know much about her, but apparently she died traveling with her family from Pennsylvania to Indiana. It is said that she was buried in the Wagon trails so that Native Americans would not desecrate her body. Eventually Philip and his children made it to their new home. He re-married to a woman by the name of Catherine Robinson whose family had also re-located to the small area. One of their ten children was Newton A. Roads. 

Newton was a good man. He was a Mason, Odd Fellow, and a Maccabee. Not only was he kind but he sought the betterment of his fellow man and community. It was he that made the contacts and secured the Atlanta Library. It still stands to this day as a monument to what he achieved in life. From what I understand the Atlanta Library is one of the few remaining Carnegie Libraries that, other than maintenance, remains almost identical to the day it was built.  Newton married Clara Sanders, and they had 2 children a boy by the name of John Everett, and a girl by the name of Hazel Dell.  

This is the basic picture of the history, however tragedy became well known at the Hotel. John Everett’s Obituary tells us that when he was four years old he came down with whooping cough, which left him asthmatic. This goes along with local stories telling us that he was always sickly and a little frail. When he was 19 years of age he was diagnosed with Tuberculosis. It was thought at the time that proper treatment meant plenty of rest, and isolation. So they confined him to an area of the hotel. They did what they believed was right to keep his condition from getting worse. Unfortunately, on April 15th 1909 John Everett lost his battle with tuberculosis.  He died where they tried to keep him safe. As customary of the time his funeral was held in the hotel. 

They have also verified that Newton, Clara, and Catherine (Newton’s stepmother) all passed in the hotel from age and ailment.  This was a good family who was prominently loved through the community. In Jan 1968 Hazel passed away at a nursing home of some illness she has been suffering with for a few months . The Hotel closed for business in 1927 . The estate auction was on June 8th 1965, and on June 15th 1965, the hotel was auctioned off and purchased by Dean Shaffer. 

When it was built, it was “The Hotel” in Atlanta, Indiana. Time progressed and in the early 1900’s natural gas wells were discovered. The industrious Walton family, help engineer the town’s “Gas Boom”. This immediately made Atlanta the place to be for employment. Rumors and legend tell us that with six taverns in town the hotel became a natural place to establish a bordello. Census shows us that this town went from a mere 80 people to over 1200 people during this time.  The locals of the town describe a view of the hotel we are still researching.   Apparently the hotel eventually became a speakeasy/Brothel, hosting guest like Al Capone and John Dillinger.  Although these allegations have not been proven it does make sense, as these were the days of Prohibition in America. During this time alcohol was illegal to buy or sell. We are told by locals that there was a burial casket in the bay window of the Hotel. This again would coincide with the speakeasy atmosphere. Since alcohol was illegal, they would give the impression of a funeral, but in reality the casket was filled with bootleg alcohol.  We have not yet verified all of this information. However, we can tell you that we know several guest have come through these doors over the past 120 years. Eventually, with the changing moral atmosphere, the Historic Roads Hotel was abandoned as a brothel and for a time was a personal residence, and with exception of a short period when it had become a bed and breakfast, it has remained that way.   Although it has passed through the generations and begun to show signs of its age, it has good bones and the underlying beauty is just waiting to be re-borne. 

  Recently the Hotel was purchased by an Indianapolis paranormal investigation group called Sixth Sense Indy Paranormal. In the short time the Group has owned the hotel they have already experienced several paranormal events. They claim that the Hotel is “Very Haunted” Most investigators walk away with EVPs, and video of shadows. More common, are the reports of hearing conversations from people in the upper story, when no one is there. Doors have been known to open and close and even slam when there were no people around them. Reports of footsteps and shadows and even glimpses of men, women, and children have been reported. The lights are being turned on and off, even when the hotel is unoccupied. 


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