Marietta, Georgia, like most Southern towns, has its share of ghost stories, many of which I documented in my book, Haunted Marietta. But of all the alleged haunted places in Marietta, perhaps the most fascinating is the Kennesaw House. Located next to the railroad tracks and adjacent to the Marietta Welcome Center, the very location of the house makes it easy to picture bygone times. History is in the very air, and it does not seem unlikely that shades from the past would linger there and all around the square.
Now the home of the Marietta Museum of History, The Kennesaw House was originally built in the 1840′s as a cotton warehouse, but was then turned into a restaurant, to serve the passengers from the railroad depot next door. In 1855, the Fletchers bought the building and turned it into an inn. Its location right next to the railroad made it a natural home for Union soldiers and spies during the War Between the States, especially since Mr. Fletcher was an alleged Union sympathizer.
It was from the Kennesaw House, then known as the Fletcher House, that James Andrews and his group of spies plotted their attempt to steal the train, the General, which became the basis for such films as “The Great Locomotive Chase” in later years. In 1864, the hotel was taken over by the Union army, and Sherman briefly used it as his headquarters.
Most of the ghostly activity that has been widely reported in the Kennesaw House seems to stem from the use of the building as a makeshift hospital and morgue during the war. Television documentaries from PBS, CNN, and The History Channel have told the story of visitors who descended to the basement in the elevator, only to be greeted by the gruesome site of a crowded hospital room, men screaming in agony, blood everywhere, as weary surgeons operated and removed limbs with little or no anesthesia. Other people have seen an apparition of what appears to be a Civil War-era surgeon, dressed in uniform, who apparently likes to ride the elevator.
Another ghostly figure that has been reportedly seen, especially by children, in the Kennesaw House, is a lady in an old-fashioned dress with pink trim. Some children have identified her as the lady in a portrait in the house, Mrs. Fletcher, the wife of the second original owner.
Some years ago, the paranormal investigation group to which I belong, Ghost Hounds, investigated the house and caught what appears to be a ghostly figure of a woman on film. Other people have caught anomalies in photos, as well. The museum director, Dan Cox, has also captured several ghostly images in photos taken from the security cameras at the museum.
Whether you encounter ghosts or not, Kennesaw House is a handsome building which houses an excellent museum that is well worth your visit. The museum is open from 10 AM until 4 PM Monday-Saturday. It is located just off Marietta Square next to the railroad tracks.
About Rhetta Akamatsu
Rhetta Akamatsu is a long-time resident of Marietta and the author of Haunted Marietta, which is available at local bookstores and online at Amazon and all other major bookstores. She also writes about the Atlanta area for examiner.com as the Atlanta Historic Places Examiner.