Local Spotlight: The Old Rawls Hotel

the Old Rawls Hotel

Looking for a little adventure this spring? If you love good food, beautiful architecture, history and ghost stories then you should plan a trip to the Old Rawls Hotel in Enterprise. It has all of the above on the menu!

A Haunted History

When a building is more than 100 years old, it’s bound to come with a few ghosts. The Old Rawls Hotel is no exception. Tracing its roots back to one of Enterprise’s original families, the Rawls, the two-story brick building was built in 1903.

Located behind the train depot and off of what is now Main Street, the hotel had a popular restaurant inside that made it a hub of the city. In the late 1920s, JP Rawls added an additional story and fully renovated the interior.

When he passed away in 1943, the hotel continued to be managed by Mack McKinney, whose family lived in the hotel. However, by the late 1970s, the once glorious hotel was headed toward demolition. Army Veteran Hayden Pursley purchased the building and spent three years renovating it.

In fact, it was during the renovation that the first reported ghostly encounter took place. According to an article in The Southeast Sun, Pursley hung window treatments in the ballroom. The next day, he found the window treatments on the floor, so he hung them again, and the same thing happened the following morning. He said as he was hanging them for a third time, a board came flying across the room and hit him.

Pursley took that as a sign that Rawls wasn’t happy with those particular window treatments. He went with something new and that was that!

Other Ghostly Encounters

Fast-forward to 1999, and the Old Rawls Hotel was purchased by Keith Gay and his Navigator Development Group. The building is now home to his offices, several real estate and law firms as well as The Rawls Restaurant.

The article shared several more accounts of ghostly interactions including the “lady in blue” believed to Margaret Rawls, JP’s wife. Guests and staff have reported seeing the faces of children or hearing them giggle. The children are thought to be that of the McKinney family reliving happy memories at the hotel.

Others report feeling a sudden chill or walking through the scent of a cigar or even vintage perfume. But no matter the encounter, all say it’s in the spirit of good fun.

The Rawls Restaurant

Today visitors can dine at the popular restaurant still located inside the hotel at 116 South Main St. Restaurant owners and chefs Bill and Daphne Schleusner have been running the restaurant since 2010. The menu features Southern fine dining dishes with a focus on farm-to-table.

For example, starters include coconut shrimp or gulf oysters. Main entrees range from pasta to steak to lamb. End on a sweet note with crème burlee or apple crisp with vanilla bean ice cream. For the full menu, click here.

The restaurant is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 5 to 9 p.m., and you can make reservations here.


After enjoying a fancy date night with potential spirits, it’s nice to come home to peace and quiet you’ll find at Summer Court Townhomes. New to the area? We’d be happy to show you around and help you get settled!

Explore more of Enterprise by reading our other blogs! From local spotlights to upcoming events, we’ll keep you in the know!