This building has had many owners and many names over the years, but in the rich tapestry of northwest Ohio folklore, it will always be known to ghosthunters as the Chadwick Inn. In fact, no conversation about local haunts would be complete without even a cursory mention of this historic location.
Sources differ as to when it was built (1836 according to the Toledo Blade and 1837 by others) and they even differ when it comes to the man who built it. The Toledo Blade names him as Levi Barbee, but popular folklorists have taken to calling him Levi Beebe. At least we can all agree on his first name, right?
This three-story structure, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, began its life under the name, the Commercial Building, and was home to a number of businesses, including a general store, a bank, and a post office.
After Levi passed away in 1838, the building was sold and re-opened in 1840 as a hotel. It’s said it became a popular among travelers heading through the area by stagecoach, river, and along the Miami-Erie Canal.
In 1841, a man by the name of Jonathan Neely established the Neely House on the premises which quickly became well-known for its tasty meals and excellent service.
Over the course of the next 100 years or so, the building underwent even more name changes and ownerships, housing a wide variety of businesses. It’s even said that a bordello operated for a time during the 1930s.
In 1940, it became known as the Old Plantation Inn. This business appears to have had some longevity to it because the next recorded name-change I found was in 1973 when it was christened the Governor’s Inn.
Tragedy struck in 1975 when a fire broke out on the third floor and is generally blamed for the eventual decline of the Governor’s Inn. The fire, it is said, was the work of arsonists. Rumors persist that the building’s owner caught his wife and her lover in bed together, shot them both, and then set the blaze to cover it up.
Despite the reasons for the fire, it certainly was a contributing factor to the closure of the Governor’s Inn during the latter portion of 1983. The building was eventually sold in a sheriff’s sale in 1985
Jim Hodulik and his wife, Linda, were the proud new owners and launched Chadwick Inn. It is during their ownership where we find some of the first claims of paranormal activity.
In May of 1986, Jim was setting up the Inn’s ballroom for a wedding reception that would take place the next day. When he came in the next morning, he found the ballroom chairs either knocked over or tilted up against the tables. On one of those tables sat a bottle of Jack Daniels and two glasses.
Many have come to believe this was the doings of the ghost of Levi himself. In fact, it is the popular belief that ol’ Levi enjoys a nip of whiskey now and then. Though, I’m of the opinion that perhaps the ghost of Jonathan Neely is the one we should be blaming. After all, it was Neely who ran a popular tavern and eatery way back when.
A rearranged ballroom wasn’t the only curious tale to go public. We also heard stories of unpleasant odors that couldn’t be accounted for, presumably emanating from some unseen spirit.
Another common story involved a ghost, called the “Lilac Lady,” who can sometimes be witnessed wandering the building and leaving the fragrant smell of lilacs in her wake.
Most ominous of all, though, is the frightening apparition of a woman who hung herself in the building. Legend says she was one of the prostitutes who worked there when it was a bordello. It is said, when her phantom makes an appearance, you can clearly see her hanging from the rafters, the noose tight around her neck.
Fast-forward to April of 1995 when Jim and Christine Wilson purchased the building, renaming it the Linck Inn. For the six years they owned the building, it’s unknown if anything out of the ordinary ever took place. I once tried to interview them about the building, but they wanted nothing to do with the kind of reputation that often comes along with owning a haunted business.
In 2001, they decided to put the place up for sale.
The doors to the Linck Inn closed for good after the final New Year’s Eve party of 2001. Jim Wilson gave very little announcement or information about his decision. “There’s no business,” was all he would offer publicly.
After having received little to no agreeable offers, they finally placed the property and its contents up for public auction. The Wilsons had even toyed with the idea of renovating the structure and converting it into an apartment building if it didn’t sell.
But, it did sell. The building now houses the very popular Degaje Jazz Cafe. Unfortunately, the new owners are just as opposed to the building’s haunted reputation as the previous ones.
In an interview with one of the cafe’s employees, the owners receive numerous requests from area ghosthunters for access and interviews, and they are turned down every time. They DO NOT want ghosthunters in their building and they WILL NOT entertain any questions regarding the building’s paranormal past.
But, of course, that doesn’t mean there still isn’t something mysterious wandering the confines of the old Chadwick Inn. On the condition of anonymity, the employee related to me numerous odd encounters she experienced while working at Degaje and swears she’s not the only one who has a tale to tell.
The second floor appears to be where she experienced most of the strangeness, from unaccounted for cold spots to phantom voices. The most startling encounter she had was while setting up for a private party. After having arranged tables and chairs for the appropriate number of guests, she went to grab a stack of tablecloths. Upon returning, all the tables and chairs had been placed back into their original positions. She swears she was the only one on the second floor and never even heard the telltale sounds of someone moving all those pieces of furniture back to their original spots.
And, of course, there’s the whiskey. The most popular tale surrounding this building is the fondness for alcohol the Chadwick’s otherworldly visitors seem to have.
Whether it’s due to the antics of Levi or Neely, someone there still enjoys having a shot of the good stuff every now and then. (When no one else is looking, of course.) On several occasions, employees have shown up to work in the morning to find a lone bottle of Jack Daniels sitting out near the end of the bar. No one really bats an eye about it anymore. They just put the bottle back where it belongs and set about their day’s work.
Cover photo credit: Toledo Blade
Degaje Jazz Cafe is located at 301 River Road in Maumee, Ohio.
“Haunted Ohio III,” by Chris Woodyard, (c) 1994
“Linck Inn To Be Closed,” Toledo Blade, January 1 2002, pg B-7