Read House Hotel, located in downtown Chattanooga at the corner of Broad Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard, was constructed in 1926 at a cost of over two million dollars. The hotel was designed by Holabird and Roche, an architectural firm from Chicago, and built by George A. Fuller and Company of Washington, D.C.
The Read House is a ten-story red brick building designed with Georgian detailing. It features a one-story limestone base with storefront windows. Terra cotta detailing decorates the exterior of the building in the form of quoining, window surrounds and pediments, beltcourses, and cornices. The interior features 237 guest rooms as well as meeting and banquet space. Two of the most notable rooms include the “Silver Ballroom” and the “Green Room.” The Silver Ballroom is decorated with Waterford crystal chandeliers and silver leaf ornamental cornice and medallions. The ground floor is dominated by a two-story lobby with black walnut paneling, terrazzo and marble floors, carved and gilded woodwork, and a richly detailed plaster ceiling with two bronze chandeliers.
Dr. John T. Read built and opened the original Read House in 1872. In 1879 he sold the lease and furniture to his son, Samuel R. Read. Much of this building was demolished in 1926 and the current structure built. Read operated the hotel until 1943 then sold it to Albert Noe Jr. Upon Noe’s death in 1947, his son, Albert Noe III, began operating the hotel. In 1960 Noe converted a portion of the hotel to a motor inn. The motor inn opened in 1962 and featured 106 rooms and a 135-car parking garage. Provident Life and Accident Insurance Company purchased the Read House in the mid-1960s and contracted with the National Hotel Company to manage it in 1968. After suffering recent financial trouble and several changes in ownership, the Read House is currently owned and operated by the Radisson Hotel chain. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the Read House is a significant example of the grand hotels built for railroad passengers in the early twentieth century.
Linda L. Burton, Chattanooga Great Places (1996); John Wilson, Chattanoogas Story (1980)