The Bijou Theatre is not only one of the oldest buildings in Knoxville, it’s also one of the most haunted.
Originally built as an upscale hotel in 1817, the building on the corner of South Gay and Cumberland Avenue changed hands several times in the mid-19th century. During that time the structure was used as a hotel, boarding house and even a brothel.
During the Civil War the building became a hospital for Federal soldiers and also served as headquarters for Union General William Tecumseh Sherman. After the war the building became a theatre where vaudeville acts and motion pictures were shown. The theatre eventually shut down and was scheduled for demolition until it was saved by a local historical group. Today you can visit the historical theatre to see shows featuring comedians, musical acts and maybe even a ghost!
The spirit of Union General William Sanders is said to haunt the building. Sanders died in the old hotel after the Seige of Knoxville in 1863. The apparition of a man with a beard wearing a uniform has been spotted around the building.
A mischievous little boy is also said to be wreaking havoc in a bathroom on the second floor. Staff members have heard rambunctious footsteps coming from the restroom and some have even felt him tugging on their clothing.