Woodruff Fontaine House

More From Memphis More From Tennessee

There is a gentle former resident who politely gives suggestions and advice,

and a not-so-nice, rude male entity who is just the opposite.


Amos Woodruff, an energetic, successful entrepreneur who was a mover and a shaker came to Memphis in 1845, to establish a carriage-making business, which became a huge money maker. He expanded his business interests into building structures, cotton and lumber, life insurance, organized and ran two banks, the Memphis Ohio Railroad and even a hotel; the Overton Hotel. He certainly built businesses that employed a lot of people, and offered goods and services, becoming a boom to Memphis’ economic growth. He was admired by the people, and elected to the city council. He ran for Mayor, twice!


He bought land with plans to build a home, worthy of his position in the community as business leader and politician. He certainly had no contractor issues, taking only a year, from 1870-71 to build this lovely, 3 storied French Victorian architecture home, with a Mansard roof. Many skilled craftsmen worked on this house. The woodwork is made of machine-carved, solid cypress. The original flooring is also mostly cypress. The hallway ceiling at the top of the third floor staircase showcases an embossed design, hand hammered tin in a classical design.

A roomy Carriage House and other buildings were also built. Today, those buildings are used for events, such as wedding receptions. There is a lovely courtyard, a fountain and gardens, as well as a lovely front lawn where couples like to say their vows in front of family and friends.

His daughter, Mollie, was married in this brand new home in 1871, becoming Mollie Woodruff Henning, who eventually inherited this property, and probably lived there until she died.

The second well-to-do family who moved into this mansion was the Fontaines, an old Memphis family. Noland Fontaine was a cotton executive for the very prominent business of Hill, Fontaine Company. Noland died in 1912, and his wife died in 1928.

This property was sold in 1929 for $25,000, to be used as an antique shop. Probably because of the market crash, this planned business was never able to open, which must have been a huge disappointment to someone.

The Woodruff Fontaine House was again on the market. This property was bought by entrepreneur, Rosa Lee, who needed a bigger place for her Free Art School. When the art school moved to Overton Park in 1959, this fine home sat forlornly vacant until 1961, badly in need of TLC, as it had become a real fixer-upper opportunity.

Luckily, it was saved from the wrecking ball by the Association for Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities, who raised funds through a public fund drive. The Association for Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities used the funds raised to restore the mansion. Woodruff Fontaine House reopened as a museum in 1964.



For a variety of reasons, Sometimes people are so attached to their homes, that they can’t bring themselves to leave them when they pass on, and choose to stay, instead of going on to the other side.



Rich Newman of Paranormal Incorporated led an investigation at Woodruff Fountain House Museum and came up with some evidence pointing to the spirit entities who reside here, backing up personal experiences of the staff.

Female Entity; Thought to be Mollie Woodruff Henning

This friendly, helpful entity is thought to enjoy staying in her old room, known as the Rose Room or Mollie’s Room, located on the second floor.

It was reported that this female entity likes to sit on her bed, as there are impressions left on the bedspread. Her bed is roped off so the living can’t sit on it during a tour, or anytime there are people in the Woodruff Fontaine House Museum.

She once appeared in her room, and explained in a kindly manner to the rather startled docents of the museum how her furniture was originally arranged, suggesting that she would like this traditional arrangement.

She also likes to wander throughout the mansion, checking up on what the living are up to, and like a good hostess, will follow interesting people around her home.

During the Rich Newman and Paranormal Inc. investigation, a female presence followed them down to the basement, not normally a paranormal hot spot, to watch what they were doing and hear what they were saying.

A not-so-nice entity in the parlor and third floor – Known to be a male:

A staff member had her necklace ripped off her neck by an unseen presence, who gives off hostile vibes.

It seems that death hasn’t changed his personality, or given him any new virtues to embrace.


Yes indeed! Evidence has been gathered by at least two paranormal investigation groups who have examined the Woodruff/Fontaine House Museum.

A paranormal researcher in the 1980s documented a female entity on the second floor, and a male entity on the first and third floor, who was a bit surly, bitter with a bad attitude.

Rich Newman of Paranormal Incorporated led an investigation at Woodruff Fontaine House Museum and came up with some evidence pointing to these same two spirit entities who reside here. For all the details, check out the above link to Paranormal Incorporated’s blog spot, which reports what they have found not only for Woodruff Fontaine House, but some of their other past investigations.

Female Entity

Just outside the Rose Room, where there were no other sources that could cause the readings, the investigators caught some sudden/sporadic EMF hits; (3.7mg and higher).

At the beginning of the investigation, they made sure that the covers were pulled tight across the bed in the Rose Room, which was still roped off. They periodically checked on the bed. About half way through, they noticed that a deep impression was on the bed, like someone had sat there. While discovering this impression, they heard the chair next to the bed move; A whole two inches. An audio recorder picked up the sound.

Over 20 EVPs were recorded of a friendly female voice on the second floor and around the Rose Room.

While in the basement, another EVP of a female voice was recorded, when a question was asked.

Male Entity

Several EVPs of a male voice were recorded on the first floor, which revealed his bitterness and hostility toward the living. When asked via recorder, “Is there anyone who likes to hang out here?” The EVP recorded a terse whisper, saying “NO!”


680 Adams Avenue
Memphis, Tennessee 38105

Woodruff Fontaine House Museum can be found on Adams Avenue, near the corner of Orleans Street.

Woodruff Fontaine House Museum is just one block south of Morris Park, and 2 blocks south of a main drag, Popular Street. Orleans Street intersects Popular Street, making Adams Street fairly easy to find.



  • memphis.about.com
  • woodruff-fontaine.com
  • paranormalincorporated.blogspot.com

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

Haunts in Memphis Haunts in Tennessee