The Spirits of LMU

Lincoln Memorial University is located in Harrogate, TN, just across the border from Middlesboro, KY. According to legend, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln suggested to General O. O. Howard, a Union officer, that when the Civil War ended he hoped General Howard would organize a great university for the people of this area.

The Reverend A. A. Myers opened an elementary school in the area around 1890. A few years later, Myers met with Howard and many other people to fulfill Lincoln's request to establish a university to educate the mountain people. This group even included Robert Patterson, a Confederate veteran! Lincoln Memorial University was chartered by the State of Tennessee on February 12, 1897, which was Lincoln's birthday.

Every college seems to have at least one ghost, and LMU is no exception.

The most well known haunting at LMU is the haunting at Grant-Lee Hall. This hall predates the university itself. Grant-Lee was first built in the early 1890s as the Sanitarium of the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel. It later became part of the LMU campus, and was converted into a dormitory. The hall has burned twice, first in 1904, and again in 1950, but was rebuilt both times. In fire of 1904, it's said that only one person died in the blaze: a young woman wearing a red dress, and her infant child, who were on the fourth floor. The tragedy of their deaths would haunt the area for a years.

For years, it was said that the ghost of the woman haunted the dorm. According to legend, during the fire of 1950, a woman in a red dress appeared in a fourth story window screaming for help. Today, some witnesses claim to have heard a lady coming up the stairs, or seen the apparition of a lady in a red dress wandering the halls, especially on the fourth floor. She has also been known to knock on doors, and turn door knobs. Some say she is trying to warn residents of the historic fires! Perhaps we would be wise to listen to her. She has certainly experienced her fair share of fires.

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©2002-2005 John Norris Brown. Part of John Norris