DICKSON, Tenn. (WKRN) – Just off Main Street, and a stone’s throw from the railroad tracks in Dickson, sits the Clement Railroad Hotel Museum, also known as Hotel Halbrook.
It’s a building with a lot of history and was once the home of former Tennessee governor Frank Clement.
The museum is one of the few remaining examples of a railroad hotel in Tennessee, and while the town of Dickson has changed over the years, a walk through the halls will paint a picture of what it looked like in the early 1900s.
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You might even meet a few of the hotel’s early guests.
The hotel was built in 1913 and was a stop for travelers as well as salesmen. Dickson was once a hub for trade, and the trains that ran through town were a big reason for that.
And with Hotel Halbrook being so close, it was the place to be.
“The traveling salesmen used this hotel. They could set up in the front room to sell their wares to the public; the merchants could come in and place orders for their stores. Yeah, there was a lot going on in this building,” said Martha Shepard with the museum.
Today, you won’t find a “no vacancy” sign outside, but the rooms aren’t for rent. Some are convinced those rooms are still occupied— but not by the living.
“The adult sized hand print was about right here, then we had a child’s print appear down here,” said Mike Sears.
Sears told News 2 he is used to experiencing paranormal activity. In fact, he has investigated more than 200 haunted locations.
But when he started working at the museum in 2009, he never realized how many run-ins he would have.
“This staircase and the other stairs, if you are coming up real heavy with your feet, we have a female that will yell at you [to] pick up your feet if you are coming up stomping like this,” Sears said.
He says he’s even had an experience with what could be former Governor Clement.
“I asked, ‘Can you tell me your last name?’ and I have heard, clear as day, the man replies with the last name Clement,” Sears recalled.
But to catch the voices and communicate, sometimes you have to have the right equipment, and Sears is always prepared.
“We were sitting here doing a session in this room and we had a full communication session with one of the meters I have,” he said.
What’s drawing the spirits to the hotel? Sears says there is a lot of energy with the railroad still running close by, but they can be drawn to places for other reasons as well.
“Most of it is linked to the past history, usually some type of trauma, or we found that individuals from the past have an attachment to the location,” Sears told News 2.
Either way, he says the hotel guests who forgot to check out aren’t here to hurt anyone.
“Nothing that I feel is negative or anything. People should not be fearing or scared here,” Sears added.