Yesterday's sign is still intact
Ralph Paty Jr. in old lobby
The Ross Hotel at Patten Parkway is on the market for the first time in over 40 years.
Realtor Ralph Paty Jr., whose family has owned the hotel along with the rest of the block all that time, said it has been drawing widespread interest.
"I'm showing it almost every day. We have a lot of local developers want to see it as well as some out-of-town ones."
Mr. Paty said the brick building has not been a hotel since 1979 and needs plenty of work, but he said it is basically in sound condition with a good roof. He said, "It's got many interesting features from the "maid's sinks" in the hallways to a wide atrium and some unique corner rooms. The ceilings are about 15 feet high. A lot of the old clawfoot tubs are still in place. Most of the original walls and floors are still in place."
He said there is a full basement with its own fascinations, including a kitchen and a barber shop with the barber chairs still in place.
The atrium area is a curiosity because it is possible to look down from the upper floors and see a sloped roof line below.
The lobby was on the left side of the building and it has a full-size elevator that has not been called into service for many years.
The entrance closest to Patten Parkway was long Edmund's Restaurant and later was Yesterday's and then Midtown Music Hall.
Mr. Paty noted that his parents, Ralph Paty Sr. and Selma Paty bought the line of brick buildings that date to the first of the last century from Cartter Patten in 1972.
He said Ms. Paty, a prominent local attorney who is still practicing, has a special attachment to the entire block, but is waiting to see what offers are out there.
Mr. Paty said when he was a teenager the family moved into the parkway and he lives there still.
The Ross Hotel opened March 2, 1925, with a full house and with dancing in the ballroom, which was christened "The Grotto". A.W. Lessly was the owner and C.H. Barnes the manager. There were 70 rooms priced at $1.50 per day. There were large bay windows with clear views of Lookout Mountain to the south. The wide corridors on each floor were thickly carpeted. At the west end of each hall was "a fountain of ice water for the convenience of guests on each floor."
The lobby was furnished "as beautifully as the Blackstone in Chicago or the McAlpin in New York." The ballroom on the ground floor was 40 feet wide and 100 feet long. There was also a barber shop and beauty shop.
Not long after the opening, William Jennings Bryan, a presidential candidate who was a key figure in the Scopes Trial in Dayton, was a guest in room 301 at the Ross Hotel on July 25, 1925. He died the next day in Dayton. Later, a Bryan portrait was placed in the hotel lobby.
The building is said to date to Chattanooga's boom days in 1888 and to have long served as a boarding house before it was converted for a hotel.
The Patys decided in 1979 to close the hotel. At the time many of the guests were permanent residents.
Selma Paty later made an effort to convert the facility for upscale apartments, but that project did not materialize.