LINDEN, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Dumonts were searching for peace and quiet away from their busy lives in Rhode Island when they discovered rural Tennessee.
“We wanted to find a getaway,” said Kathy Dumont. “Our next door neighbors were, you know, sort of right on top of us.”
Michael and Kathy Dumont found what they had been looking for in 2003. “My husband came down here and phoned me and said, ‘You’re not going to believe how beautiful Tennessee is – it’s just gorgeous.'”
The couple found a place to move shortly after that trip, and “We’ve been in love with Tennessee ever since.” They have since purchased and renovated several historic properties.
“We saw this hotel in the middle of downtown Linden, and it was becoming dilapidated and looked like it was headed for the wrecking ball,” she recalled.
In 2007, the Dumonts bought the Commodore Hotel, restored and renovated it, and opened it to the public. The rebirth of the 1939 historic hotel also provided much needed rejuvenation for downtown Linden, which also meant more visitors.
It wasn’t long after opening that guests would tell them about various mysterious experiences.
“Back in 2008, I remember a self-professed mildly psychic guest tell us, ‘You have a little girl who likes to play in the hallway,'” said Dumont.
She was surprised to hear more than one of her guests – at separate times – sharing their encounters with a little girl in the hallway of the hotel.
“I kept seeing that little girl and thought to myself, who is she?” said Taylor Byrd, whose mother is the General Manager of the Commodore Hotel.
Byrd continued, “None of the employees have a daughter, and there can’t be a guest who is staying that many times.”
The little girl, as described by Byrd, was wearing a blue dress and had blonde hair in pigtails that were tied with pink ribbons.
“When I first saw her, I was standing in the lobby, and she peeked behind this doorway. I turned back around, and she wasn’t there,” Byrd remembered.
After seeing the little girl more than once, Byrd wanted to play with her.
“I remember her dragging me up the stairs. She’s running up and down the hallway looking into all the rooms, and I’m like, ‘What are you doing?'” said Haley Byrd, Taylor’s mother.
Byrd responded, “I’m looking for the little girl.” They finally walked into another room, and Byrd pointed at a chair in the corner and asked if she could play.
“I was like, no, no. Let’s go,” her mother said.
Byrd isn’t the only person who has seen the little girl.
“The crazy thing that was so mind blowing about this story was I overheard Taylor telling the story to some guests one day, and I about fell over, because the way she described the little girl was exactly how this man described her to me when he stayed here,” said Dumont, adding she got chills recalling the story.
She said that man shared his story with her about 10 years ago. He told Dumont that he had stayed at that hotel when he was a child.
“He came one day and was running around looking for the little girl. His grandmother said, ‘What are you doing?’ And he said, ‘Oh, I’m looking for the little girl because I want to play with her. She likes to play in the hall.’ And he said she turned white and said, ‘There’s no little girl here.'”
Dumont said just six months ago one of her guests said he, too, had seen a little girl in a dress playing in the hallway. “He had a look of shock on his face when we were telling the story, because he thought it was just a little girl and that it was just bad parenting going on because it was like 12:30 at night.”
The complete history of the Commodore Hotel is somewhat of a mystery to Dumont.
“We tried to research it as much as we could; there wasn’t a lot of written history and not a lot of photographs,” she said.
And, the mystery of the little girl looms large.
“There was a fire on this block in 1929, but no one was killed in it. So, we don’t think it’s that. We haven’t heard any stories of little girls passing away here,” she said. “Someone has told me before that if they really liked the place that they want to go back there.”
So, maybe that little girl really loved her time at the Commodore Hotel, forever freezing that moment in history for future generations.
To learn more about the Commodore Hotel and how to book a visit, click on this link.