Sixty Years After Her Death, Anna Houston Is Still A Mystery


The Houston Museum houses thousands of pieces like these.

In this segment, we visit the Houston Museum of Decorative Arts, located in Chattanooga’s Bluff View District.   The museum houses one of the world’s largest collection of antique glassware and ceramics.  But the museum also houses a mystery–a series of unanswered questions about Anna Safley Houston.  More than sixty years ago, she single-handedly bought thousands and thousands of antiques, which the museum now houses.  How was she able to afford so many priceless pieces?  Where did her wealth come from?  During her lifetime, some people called her “Antique Annie,” but others called her “Crazy Annie.”  Her personal life was just as intriguing as her collection–she was married at least nine times, possibly more.

The Houston Museum is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and they have a special event coming up.  From a media release:

December 11

Holiday English Tea and Open House at the Houston Museum, 201 High Street, Chattanooga, Sunday, Dec. 11 from 1-4 p.m., guests participate in a traditional English tea, tour the museum’s unique glass collection and shop in the charming gift boutique.  Cost is $20 for adults and $5 for children. Reservations are required.  All proceeds benefit the Houston Museum for Decorative Arts.  267-7176 or

Antique glass pitchers hang from the ceiling, similar to the way Anna hung them in her East Ridge barn.

One of Anna Safley Houston's many, many marriage certificates.

Anna also collected antique plates.


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