It takes vision to convert a once-bustling train station into a hotel. Nashville's Union Station railway stop opened in 1900 and served as a landing area for humans and merchandise alike.
The station has a colorful history. Mae West once disembarked there. Al Capone was escorted through the area on his way to serve jail time.
The station played a pivotal role in World War II, with thousands of troops deployed from this stop. Because of this, it was the site of a USO canteen, in which Hollywood figures would try to raise GI morale with exclusive performances.
But as rail travel declined, the station became less critical and was ultimately closed down in 1979.
In 1986, a group of investors purchased the decaying property and restored it to its former glory. In a nod to its heritage, it was called The Union Station Hotel. Many of the original features were retained, such as stained glass, marble floors, oak doors, and limestone fireplaces.
Today, the cavernous lobby where people once scurried to their train has been converted into a stunning high-ceilinged reception area. Meanwhile, the guest rooms epitomize luxury in a modern, minimalist way.
As if that weren't enough to attract guests, now this landmark has been deemed one of America's "Best Haunted Hotels" by USA Today readers.
With such a rich history, it seems logical that spirits are attracted to the place.
In particular, the story of Abigail looms large among guests and staff alike. As the legend goes, she came to the station to say goodbye to her paramour when he was deployed to France during World War II. When the war ended, she returned in search of him but couldn't find him. Deciding she couldn't live without him, the story goes that she threw herself on the railway tracks in front of a train.
While people report seeing Abigail's ghost searching for her lost love in the hallways, her presence is most often felt in her room. As Nashville Ghosts tells it:
People say that they hear a phone ringing, however, no phones are ringing. Lights have been known to turn on and off. One person had stayed in the room and it sounded like furniture was being moved on the ceiling. This floor also had mirrors at one point, and people who have taken pictures often see a silhouette.
While Abigail has presumably been unable to rest, Union Station Hotel assures guests she means no harm. "Rather than be afraid, guests should embrace her presence and enjoy the company."
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