Swingers Tiki Palace

Located high atop Missionary Ridge overlooking Chattanooga, the Swinger’s Tiki Palace began as a dream home idea of Billy Hull, a prominent strip club owner. Hull owned The Castaways Club and the Lion’s Den, which were next door to each other. After two years of planning, architect Ed Ball set out building the most fantastic house in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Anticipation grew as the house took 14 months to complete. Finally, in 1972, close to 10,000 people attended the open house.

The exterior of the home in the 1970s24705602479_4443ffd6b0_o.jpgHomeowners Billy and Gloria Hull in 1972 stand on bridges over the swim tunnels.

The 5,600 square-foot home had three bedrooms and 4.5 baths. The house received a bit of notoriety after being featured in a 1972 issue of the trade publication Electricity in Building Magazine for its unique Playboy-style pool. The pool had swim tunnels leading to separate bedrooms. The bedrooms were modest in size compared to the large indoor living room/pool area.

The Playboy pool was the focal point of the home and the first thing you would see once you entered the front door. With a chandelier overhead, the massive 12-foot deep, 20 x 40-foot pool was electrically heated and had separate humidity controls. A faux rock waterfall and diving board sit on the far side with a fireplace with a sitting area and full bar. Large tinted glass walls separated the bedrooms from the pool room over the swim tunnels.

Live palm trees were planted around the pool area. The walls were covered in tiki-style bamboo, palm matting, and animal heads from around the world. Each bedroom also had closed-circuit tv monitors with feeds from the pool room as well as an intercom system. The hallways and bathrooms were covered floor to ceiling in marble. The living room in the back of the house had another full marble bar and mirrored walls leading out to the patio area. The patio area featured a 12-person jacuzzi tub, copper top outdoor bar as well as a large sauna.

Columns were added to the house during a renovation in the 1990s.

In the early hours of May 3, 1973, Larry Parker, a friend of Billy Hull, shot and killed Roland Hargis, Gloria Hull’s boyfriend, as he was leaving the Tradewinds Night Club. A victim of his lifestyle, the evidence was overwhelming. Billy Hull was found guilty of murder-for-hire and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Parker was found guilty of manslaughter. Hull fought his conviction to the Tennessee Supreme Court, which affirmed it four years later. During the trial, Parker brought forth another unsuccessful murder-for-hire plot implicating Billy Hull on a second murder charge.

The large sauna located on the rear deck of the house.
A metal face sculpture attached to the outdoor sauna.

In the summer of 1976, a former Chattanooga police officer made allegations of corruption in the police department and city attorney’s office. One of those claims was that the assistant district attorney picked up alleged sex workers at Castaways and brought them to Billy Hull’s house. The officer making the allegations had worked at some point at Castaways Club. During Hull’s murder trial, allegedly the same cop had set up the victim, so Hull could get his mug shot to give to the hitman.

A six-month investigation into the corruption allegations concluded in March 1977, and no merit was found in the claims. A report from the investigation said that people paid by Billy Hull were the source of many of the allegations in an effort to take down the sheriff. No charges were filed against Hull since paying people to lie wasn’t against the law, and no one made the allegations in open court.

Hull was acquitted on an arson charge in November 1977 when the star witness for the prosecution recanted his statement that Billy Hull had paid him to burn down a competing club in April 1973. Another witness – who was also involved in the murder-for-hire plot Hull orchestrated – said Hull had talked to him about burning down the club. However, Hull’s lawyer attacked the additional witness’s credibility due to his extensive criminal record.

In April 1979, 32-year-old James Corvin’s body was discovered in the trunk of a stolen car at a Chattanooga hospital. Corvin was shot, and the body had likely been in the car for several months. Sixteen years later, a Crime Stoppers program led to the arrest of James Steven Turner of Ringgold, GA. Turner was charged with Corvin’s murder. Years earlier, Corvin had been a defense witness in Billy Hull’s murder trial.

The 1980s were no easier on Billy Hull. Charges of tax evasion of his night clubs while being incarcerated led him to go bankrupt. At one point Hull told the court that he made a substantial amount of money from helping his grandmother with her whiskey bootlegging business. He claimed she gave him a lot of money and extravagant gifts, explaining why his lifestyle did not add up to what he told the IRS he was making. Hull also claimed that on his grandmother’s deathbed she had the presence of mind to tell him where she had buried jars containing large amounts of money.

It is unclear if Billy and Gloria remained together or ever divorced. Billy Hull passed away in 2008 from cancer. It is rumored several families may have moved in and out of the home over the years before it was vacated. The house was listed for sale in 2014. By 2015, the home had been severely vandalized and was in foreclosure. The property was condemned and seized by the city for unpaid taxes. On September 7, 2017, the swinger’s tiki palace was demolished.

Tiki Palace
The outdoor bar on the deck.
The large back patio featured a 12 person Jacuzzi tub, bar area, and sauna.
The main focal point of the house was this extravagant Playboy-themed pool.
A love note left behind from previous occupants.
The living room was in the rear of the house, covered in marble, mirrors, and faux rock.
A broken chandelier hangs above the indoor pool under the faded skylight.
View from the bridge looking back over the pool and front entrance.
The master bedroom with built-in mirrored cabinets and closed-circuit tv monitors of the pool room.
The Swinger’s Tiki Palace had several bars. This one was located in the rear of the house and was solid marble. These mirrors were the few that remained intact.
A view of the Playboy pool from the diving board.
Swinger's Palace
A wall of tinted glass separates the master bedroom from the pool.

Swinger's Palace

Swnger's Palace

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  1. What decadence! Would love to have seen who went to party there! Sounds like those involved were not nice people though, so maybe not. My IPad battery is nearly flat so just as well I have reached the end of your posts. I have NEVER been so gripped that I have gone through and read every post on a newly discovered blog. Very impressed by what you are doing.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. No problem! I saw a post on a local blog about this and a few other articles about the house. I remember when I was a kid it having a Mickey House painted on the driveway – also a helicopter pad – and there being some fuss about the owners having to paint over it.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. The tunnels are only about 5 feet long. They extended under the wall into the front two bedrooms to a pool ladder. There’s not much to see but you can sort of see under the bridge in several of the photos.


  2. Hi there! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the outstanding work!


  3. This place has been torn down, I stopped by it 7/6/18, and all that’s left is the helipad and the gate, and the gate has been vandalized some. Supposedly a lady I go to church with went to school with Billy Hull, his sister Gloria, and his now ex-wife named Gloria. Her and her husband told me about going into this house in it’s glory days for a class reunion, and she still sees the ex-wife Gloria, she said Billy died a few years ago, but doesn’t remember specifics like when, where, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. WOW! After looking at endless pictures of the destruction vandas visited upon this home, the link above, which DOES open, is absolutely amazing to look at. You get inside and outside views of the home BEFORE any vandals got to it. It was incredibly garish, even by standards of the 1970s. You cannot look at this property without looking at this link. Thank you for sharing it.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. your link does still open so thanks for sharing it. All I can say about it is that I like it better abandoned lol they had truly gaudy bad taste for such a unique property. I remember the house when I was little, hate that it’s gone I’d have loved to have had the chance to photograph it but too late now.


    3. This house had to be an amazing tribute to the tackiest, most tasteless “design” ever perpetrated on humanity, once again proving that money cannot buy class (or happiness). The vandals couldn’t do it justice. The demolition crew did.


  4. When I was about 10 my mom done some sort of sheet rock work there. me and my little sister happened to go with her some work days. My mom allowed us to swim in the pool. It was so cool swimming through those tunnels.


  5. whoever wrote this blog doesn’t know a damn thing he or she is writing.Billy Hull sold this house to (Brenda O’linger) after her death her daughter inherited it and the city of Chattanooga did everything illegal for her not to get even her own attorney. The city of Chattanooga are full of crooks. They robbed them of 2.1million dollars


  6. whoever wrote this blog doesn’t know a damn thing he or she is writing.Billy Hull sold this house to (Brenda O’linger) after her death her daughter inherited it and the city of Chattanooga did everything illegal for her not to get even her own attorney. The city of Chattanooga are full of crooks. They robbed them of 2.1million dollars I have 1000’s of pictures of all the great parties that took place. little Richy playing her piano,playboy bunnies, and Hugh Heff


  7. Fitting enterprise, on ‘Missionary’ Ridge…..

    Thanks for sharing – also the realtor-pics….. though it looks like they gave Liberace free hand. Too bad those walls can never talk anymore.


  8. When I was a teenager, my father took me to Billy’s house when he went for a visit. They were buddies and no doubt partners in crime, as my dad was a real character, charter member of the Dixie Mafia-type! I remember that it was the most unbelievable house I had ever seen – indoor streams and palm trees. I was totally enamored with this place and to this day have my own Tiki bar in our basement, complete with decor of the 50s and 60s, all inspired by my visit to Billy Hull’s extravaganza!


  9. I believe this location is gone. I might be wrong. I was there years ago. The Playboy pool and tunnels were interested. Heard it was demo’d around 2017-18 or so.


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