Designing Chattanooga: Read House

An old postcard of the Read House | Photo via Flickr

Find your reading glasses — we’re digging into the history of The Read House.

Ownership history

The Reads

  • Dr. John T. Read built the Read House Hotel + opened it on New Year’s Day in 1872.
  • John sold the lease to his son, Samuel R. Read, in 1879.
  • Much of the original building was demolished in 1926, and the current structure was built.

The Noes

  • Albert Noe Jr. bought it in 1943, who operated it until his death in 1947.
  • His son, Albert Noe III took over, and in 1960, converted a portion of the hotel to a motor inn, which opened in 1962 + had 106 rooms and a parking garage.

Current

  • After some shuffling, The Read House is now owned and operated by Avocet Hospitality Group.
  • The Charleston, SC-based group worked with local residents, historians, and architects to recreate a modern version of the original, 1920s hotel.
  • The Read Hotel is listed in the National Register of Historic Places + is an example of the grand hotels built for railroad passengers in the early 1900s.

The architect

The current structure was designed by Chicago-based firm Holabird and Roche in the Georgian style. Holabird and Roche is now called Holabird and Root + is best known for designing some of the world’s first skyscrapers.

The style

Georgian (n.): an architectural style marked by symmetry and proportion based on Grecian and Roman classical architecture and Renaissance revival architecture. You will not find a lot of ornament, if any at all, on the exterior.

In 2016, local architecture firm, Artech Design Group began working with Texas-based company ForrestPerkins to restore and refresh the Read House. The $27 million renovation project was completed in 2018.

Bonus: during its renovation, the Read House donated its furniture to Chattanooga Furniture Bank, which provides furniture to families + individuals in need.

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