Swingers Tiki Palace

The Swinger’s Tiki Palace began as a dream home idea of Billy Hull, a prominent club owner in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Located high atop Missionary Ridge, the house on Cliff Road overlooked the city. After two years of planning, architect Ed Ball set out to build the most fantastic house in Tennessee. Anticipation grew as the house took fourteen months to complete. The 5,600 square-foot home featured three bedrooms and 4.5 baths, a large indoor pool, and a helipad. In 1972, close to 10,000 people attended the open house.

Swingers Tiki Palace
The exterior of the home in 1972.
Swingers Tiki Palace
Homeowners Billy & Gloria Hull pose for a photo inside their new home for a trade magazine.

Billy and Gloria Hull were married in 1951 while they were juniors in high school. During their senior year, Gloria Hull worked on the second shift at the Chattanooga Glass Company while attending school. After high school, Billy Hull worked at the Peerless Woolen Mills for a year or two before he enrolled in college at Tennessee Tech in Cookeville, Tennessee. He graduated from Tennessee Technological University in 1958 or 1959 and moved back to Rossville, Georgia, where he found employment at Muller Company, a foundry, as a sand lab technician. The Hulls welcomed their first child in 1958. Soon after, Gloria returned to work at Riviera Carpet Mill, where she continued to work until 1962 and the birth of their second child. Thereafter, she went to work at Concrete Forms.

In 1967, Billy Hull opened a two-room go-go club known as The Castaways Club and the Lion’s Den as a side business while still working at the foundry. He also worked from time to time at gymnasiums or spas. After six months or so of working multiple jobs, Hull quit the foundry and began devoting his full time to his new business venture. Gloria Hull began to work there in the evenings, eventually quitting her job and working at the club full time as the evening cashier. She filled the cigarette machines during the day as well as kept the club’s books.

At approximately 12:55 A.M. on May 1, 1973, Larry Parker, shot and killed Roland Hargis, a boyfriend of Gloria Hull, as he was leaving the Tradewinds Night Club in Chattanooga. Parker was a friend of Billy Hull and was hired by him along with Wayne Carter to carry out the assassination. A victim of his own lifestyle, the evidence proved to be overwhelming. Billy Hull was found guilty of murder-for-hire and sentenced to 20 years and one day in the Tennessee State Penitentiary. Larry 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.

Billy Hull’s mother, who was alive at the time of the trial, was the daughter of Katie Holcomb, a bootlegger. Holcomb purchased and sold bootleg whiskey from her home. Billy Hull helped his grandmother in her bootleg business by burying whiskey in the yard at night and digging holes for her to place barrels and fill with whiskey that would be left there for a year to char. He would also watch at night for the incoming whiskey deliveries, and at times help her count money since it was a cash only business. At one point during his trial, Billy 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 to explain why his lifestyle did not add up to what he reported to the IRS that 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.

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 Billy Hull since paying people to lie wasn’t against the law, and no one made the allegations in open court.

In 1977, Billy Hull was acquitted on an arson charge after the star witness for the prosecution recanted his statement that Hull had paid him to burn down a competing club several years prior. 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 in the parking lot of a Chattanooga hospital. Corvin had been 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-for-hire trial.

Life after prison was not easy for Billy Hull. Charges of tax evasion of his nightclubs while being incarcerated led him to go bankrupt. It is unclear if Billy and Gloria ever divorced. Billy Hull passed away in 1989 from a massive heart attack. Gloria is alive, in her 80s now, and still lives near Chattanooga.

Several families have lived in the home over the years before it was vacated. In 2014, the property was listed for sale. By 2015, the home had been severely vandalized and was in foreclosure. The City of Chattanooga condemned the property and seized it for unpaid taxes. In September 2017, the city demolished the home.

Swingers Tiki Palace
Billy Hull lived in the home on North Crest Road for only a year before the murder-for-hire scheme. Columns were added to the front during a 1990s renovation.
Swingers Tiki Palace
Swingers Tiki Palace
The main focal point of the house was this extravagant Playboy-themed pool.
A broken chandelier hangs under a faded skylight above the pool.
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.
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.
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 pool.
Swingers Tiki Palace
Live palm trees were planted around the pool area. The walls were covered in tiki-style bamboo matting and animal heads from around the world.
Swingers Tiki Palace
The pool had swim tunnels leading to separate bedrooms that were behind tinted glass.
Swingers Tiki Palace
The master bedroom with built-in mirrored cabinets and closed-circuit tv monitors of the pool room as well as an intercom system.
Swingers Tiki Palace
The bedrooms were modest in size compared to the large indoor pool area.
Swingers Tiki Palace
Marble and faux rock cover the walls and hallway in the living room located in the back of the house.


The living room in the back of the house had another full marble bar and mirrored walls with a wall of doors leading out to the patio area.
The patio area featured a 12-person jacuzzi tub, copper top outdoor tiki bar, and a large sauna.
metal face sculpture was attached to the outdoor sauna.
The large sauna on the rear deck of the house.
A love note left behind by previous occupants of the Swingers Tiki 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

      2. My father and Billy were best friends in school said Billy taught him to box because of all the fights Billy would start


    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.


  10. I first found links to this house searching for a much nicer place on the Ridge that also hand a pool. I knew this couldn’t be it. My granddad was a landscaper and had taken me to the other house when I was a kid when it was under construction.

    But finding this, I was unable to look away. I never realized what a car wreck the life of the owners was. What a tale! Thanks!

    BTW, I did find the house I’d been looking for. It’s stunning!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. My dad briefly worked for Hull as a teenager and spent a few nights there. My dads, dad was a bar owner that was murdered by his business partner in Chattanooga in the 60’s.
    My dad took me up there a few times and showed us the house. The gate was always interesting to me.


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