Tennessee Virtual Archieve, Consider Yourself Virtually Made Out With

So, my curiosity about the Congress Inn remains piqued.

Here’s the Google view of the house we’re talking about:


As you can see, the house has a certain pre-Civil War appearance to it, with the book-end chimneys and the looking like it’s been added on to, but it’s hard to say.  So, I go to the Tennessee Virtual Archive (I’m not sure how this link is going to go, but roll with me here, folks.) and I find a map from 1907.  In 1907, as best I can tell, there are two candidates for ownership of this home–A.N. Inman or R. B. Jones.

Doesn’t tell us anything about 40 years prior, but it tells us something.

Four Things

1. I’m getting new shingles today. I couldn’t afford a whole new roof, and I have been waiting through every single storm hoping we would get enough “storm damage” to get some insurance help, but alas, you can pull near tornadic conditions on my roof repeatedly and the thing is like “Is that all you’ve got?” But you sit too near it on a regular sunny day and crumbly roof parts fall on you.

The funny thing is that, like everyone who’s worked on my house, this crew is a bunch of tattooed Christians. If I were feeling monotheistic, I’d try to discover if they all went to the same church and check it out, because they all seem sweetly sincere.

So, I mean, I suspected they were Christian  by the Bible on the dashboard, but they didn’t say anything at all religious until after all the paperwork was signed, when the one guy turned to the other and said, “Just when we needed a job, God provided.”

I know that sounds corny, but in person, you could hear a little bit of desperate relief in his voice.

I’m a little freaked out about spending that much money. I keep reminding myself that the inspector told us the roof was on its last legs and that the whole reason I had that money in savings was for the roof.  This is exactly what I had planned and now I am executing it.  It’s all fine.

And, yeah, it’s a lot of money, but even if this guy has no overhead, if he’s praying for work, and that thankful for it, I can’t shake the knowledge that it’s a nice amount of money for a day’s work, but it’s not much money if you don’t know when the next job is coming.

2. This sure seems like a poison-ivy rash, but I have been no place exciting to get into poison ivy. I didn’t even get outside as much this weekend as a girl should. I wonder if I’m allergic to some of the weeds in my garden and this is their revenge.

3.  I really like my silver hairs. Sometimes Coble will say something to me–like about how people seem to find certain things pleasurable that they then spend a lot of time acting like are gross–that I realize is broadly applicable.  Silver hairs are supposed to be terrible and you’re supposed to cover them up lest you look old, but I like having shiny silver hair.  It’s like free jewelry growing out of my head.

4. So, I’m trying to get together 31 fake as hell ghost stories about Nashville to post in October. Yes, I know, it’s July and never in this history of Tiny Cat Pants has there been this kind of planning and, quite frankly, we may never see its likes again. But I am slowly working my way up to 31.

Anyway, while doing research (yes, I know, research. What is happening to me?!) I discovered this story about the Congress Inn on Dickerson Road. I should take a short side-track to explain to you the joke of having a hotel called the “Congress” Inn on Dickerson Road. I know on its surface, it sounds like a dick joke, but it becomes even more junior high funny when you understand that Dickerson Road is notorious for being the road in Nashville where the working girls ply their trade.

Where were we?  Oh, yes, the ghost story is a simple one of the sleep paralysis genre. A man reported being held down by some being he couldn’t see and being unable to move, even though he sensed someone in the room.

That’s not what interests me.  What interests me is the explanation for why the place is supposed to be haunted.  Supposedly the main house was used as a hospital during the Civil War and they had so many people die there that they just walled the bodies up in the basement.

You can see why I’m intrigued.

Here’s what the story has going against it. 1. Walling dead folks up in the basement is a quick solution to getting rid of the bodies?  Why not just throw them in a heap outside? 2. While much of downtown Nashville that didn’t serve as giant brothels was indeed used as hospitals, I’m unfamiliar with any Civil War hospitals in East Nashville. My understanding is that the east bank of the Cumberland was kind of bottom-y–marshy, prone to flooding, not that fun to traverse–until you got to right about where I-24 is.  So, it’s hard for me to believe that a Civil War hospital that saw any great use would be located, across the river, through the bottoms, and almost halfway up Dickerson Pike towards Briley.  If that’s true, no wonder they had so many dead people. That would have been a hell of a journey.

But it’s intriguing. Have any of y’all heard of this?  And, say I did get into that basement, what would I be looking for in order to judge if there were bodies there walled up?