On this spot in 1825, Henry Hagy and his wife Polly docked their flat boat, laid claim to several acres of bottom land, and began to build a farm and family. Later their son John built a rough log shack next to the river to store items that were to be shipped by steamboats. The shack was occupied by Union soldiers during the Battle of Shiloh.
The shack earned the name “Catfish Hotel” during the early thirties when Norvin Hagy entertained friends at cookouts. He became well known for the delicious catfish, hushpuppies, and hospitality he served up. Guests who had arrived by river were often forced to spend the night after becoming engrossed in yarns spun and darkness made it unsafe to travel the river, thus the nickname Catfish Hotel.
In 1938 Norvin held a political campaign gathering at the site for his old friend Gordon Browning, who was seeking his second term as governor. Upon tasting the catfish and hushpuppies, Gordon recommended Norvin open a restaurant. With the help of his wife, Dorothy, and sons Jack and Bob, the restaurant became a success. Several additions were made to the original shack to accommodate the growing business.
In 1975, fire destroyed the original structure. The present building opened as the Catfish Hotel a year later. The Catfish Hotel is one of the oldest family owned restaurants in the country. Today a third Hagy generation strives to bring you the same quality food and hospitality that has become a family tradition.