In 1946, the deadliest hotel fire in Georgia history killed 119 people

The Ellis Hotel in Atlanta is rumored to be Georgia’s most haunted hotel. Originally built in 1913 as the Winecoff Hotel, it was hailed as a fireproof establishment. This 15-story building, located next to 200 Peachtree, was intricately designed by William Lee Stoddart.

On the morning of December 7, 1946, a devastating fire engulfed the hotel. Tragically, the incident occurred at a time when the hotel was at its busiest, with numerous guests staying for various reasons. The hotel was fully booked, with shoppers getting ready for Christmas and families excitedly anticipating the Disney premiere of Song of the South. Additionally, the hotel housed a group of approximately 40 students who were in town for a mock legislative session.

The fire started on the third floor and quickly spread throughout the hotel. Despite being advertised as fireproof, the hotel lacked modern fire prevention measures. As a result, the fire rapidly ascended the only available stairway, leaving everyone above the third floor trapped.

Fortunately, the Atlanta Fire Department promptly arrived at the scene, equipped with a workforce of 400 firefighters, supported by 22 engine companies, 11 ladder trucks, and four aerial units. Regrettably, the ladders fell short of reaching the upper levels of the engulfed structure.


Guests and workers have reported eerie occurrences at the hotel. Elevators have been known to move on their own, adding to the building’s mysterious ambiance. During renovations, workers have discovered their tools missing or relocated from their original positions. Additionally, many individuals claim to have heard footsteps, voices, screams, and the sound of people running down vacant hallways. Some guests have even been awakened by the scent of smoke lingering in their rooms.


According to reports, certain staff members have experienced strange occurrences at the hotel. They have received calls from empty rooms and have heard the smoke alarm going off at 2:48 am, which is the precise time the fire broke out in 1946. Additionally, some people claim that if you observe the hotel’s windows from the outside, you can see faces that seem to be screaming.

The hotel fire in the United States still holds the unfortunate title of being the deadliest in history, leading to significant revisions in building codes. After the incident, the hotel underwent renovations and reopened in April 1951, implementing fire alarms and automated sprinkler systems. Later on, in 1967, the Georgia Baptist Convention received the hotel as a donation, repurposing it for housing the elderly.

After changing hands multiple times, the building remained vacant for over twenty years before a renovation project commenced in April 2006. This ambitious endeavor transformed the structure into a sophisticated and exclusive hotel known as the Ellis Hotel, which opened its doors once again on October 1, 2007.

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