History Of Chattanooga
(source was Wikipedia for all information)
Credit to Wikipedia
Chattanooga is a city in the U.S. state of Tennessee, with a population of 176,588 in 2015. The fourth-largest Tennessee city, it is the seat of Hamilton County. Located in southeastern Tennessee in East Tennessee, on the Tennessee River, served by multiple railroads and Interstate highways, Chattanooga is a transit hub. Chattanooga lies 120 miles (190 km) northwest of Atlanta, Georgia, 120 miles (190 km) southwest of Knoxville, Tennessee, 135 miles (217 km) southeast of Nashville, Tennessee, 120 miles (190 km) northeast of Huntsville, Alabama, and 148 miles (238 km) northeast of Birmingham, Alabama.
The city, with downtown elevation of approximately 680 feet (210 m), lies at the transition between the ridge-and-valley portion of the Appalachian Mountains and the Cumberland Plateau. Surrounded by mountains and ridges, the official nickname for Chattanooga is the Scenic City, reinforced by the city’s reputation for outdoor activities. Unofficial nicknames include River City, Chatt, Nooga, Chattown, and Gig City, referencing Chattanooga’s claims that it has the fastest internet service in the Western Hemisphere.
Chattanooga is internationally known for the 1941 song “Chattanooga Choo Choo” by Glenn Miller and his orchestra.
Chattanooga is home to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) and Chattanooga State Community College.
Chatype, the typeface used by Chattanooga
The city has its own typeface, Chatype, which was launched in August 2012. According to the Nooga.com website, this marks the first time that an American city has its own custom-made typeface and also the first time a crowd-funded custom-made typeface has been used for any municipality in the world.
The first inhabitants of the Chattanooga area were Native Americans. Sites dating back to the Upper Paleolithic period showed continuous occupation through the Archaic, Woodland, Mississippian/Muskogean/Yuchi (900-1714 ce), and Cherokee (1776–1838). The Chickamauga Mound near the mouth of the Chickamauga Creek is the oldest remaining visible art in Chattanooga.
The Citico town and mound site was the most significant Mississippian/Muscogee landmark in Chattanooga up to 1915. The first part of the name “Chattanooga” derives from the Muskogean word cvto /chắtȯ/ – ‘rock’. The latter may be derived from a regional suffix -nuga meaning dwelling or dwelling place.
The earliest Cherokee occupation dates from Dragging Canoe, who in 1776 separated himself and moved downriver from the main tribe to establish Native American resistance during the Cherokee–American wars) to European settlement in the southeastern United States. In 1816 John Ross, who later became Principal Chief, established Ross’s Landing. Located along what is now Broad Street, it became one of the centers of Cherokee Nation settlement, which also extended into Georgia and Alabama.
Union troops swarm Missionary Ridge and defeat Bragg’s army during the Battle of Missionary Ridge, 1863
In 1838 the US government forced the Cherokees, along with other Native Americans from southeastern U.S. states, to relocate to the area designated as Indian Territory, in what is now the state of Oklahoma. Their journey west became known as the “Trail of Tears” for their exile and fatalities along the way. The US Army used Ross’s Landing as the site of one of three large internment camps, or “emigration depots”, where Native Americans were held prior to the journey on the Trail of Tears. One of the internment camps was located in Fort Payne, Alabama and the largest was at Fort Cass, Tennessee.
In 1839, the community of Ross’s Landing incorporated as the city of Chattanooga. The city grew quickly, initially benefiting from a location well-suited for river commerce. With the arrival of the railroad in 1850, Chattanooga became a boom town. The city was known as the site “where cotton meets corn,” referring to its location along the cultural boundary between the mountain communities of Southern Appalachia to the north and the cotton-growing states to the south.
Confederate prisoners at a railroad depot in Chattanooga, 1864
During the American Civil War, Chattanooga was a center of battle. During the Chickamauga Campaign, Union artillery bombarded Chattanooga as a diversion and occupied it on September 9, 1863. Following the Battle of Chickamauga, the defeated Union Army retreated to safety in Chattanooga. On November 23, 1863, the Battles for Chattanooga began when Union forces led by future United States President and Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant reinforced troops at Chattanooga and advanced to Orchard Knob against Confederate troops besieging the city. The next day, the Battle of Lookout Mountain was fought, driving the Confederates off the mountain. On November 25, Grant’s army routed the Confederates in the Battle of Missionary Ridge. These battles were followed the next spring by the Atlanta Campaign, beginning just over the nearby state line in Georgia and moving southeastward. After the war ended, the city became a major railroad hub and industrial and manufacturing center.
The largest flood in Chattanooga’s history occurred in 1867, before the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) system was created in 1933 by Congress. The flood crested at 58 feet (18 m) and completely inundated the city. Since the completion of the reservoir system, the highest Chattanooga flood stage has been nearly 37 feet (11 m), which occurred in 1973. Without regulation, the flood would have crested at 52.4 feet (16.0 m). Chattanooga was a major priority in the design of the TVA reservoir system and remains a major operating priority in the 21st century.
Market Street in 1907
In December 1906, Chattanooga was in the national headlines as the United States Supreme Court, in the only criminal trial in its history, ruled that Hamilton County Sheriff Joseph H. Shipp had violated Ed Johnson’s civil rights when Shipp allowed a mob to enter the Hamilton County Jail and lynch Johnson on the Walnut Street Bridge in United States v. Shipp. Chattanooga grew with the entry of the United States in the First World War in 1917, as the nearest training camp was in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. Effects of the Influenza of 1918 on Chattanooga included having movie theaters and pool halls closed. By the 1930s Chattanooga was known as the “Dynamo of Dixie”, inspiring the 1941 Glenn Miller big-band swing song “Chattanooga Choo Choo”. The late 1950s saw the creation of the Interstate Highway System with President Dwight D. Eisenhower signing legislation into law in June 1956. Due to Mayor P.R. Olgiati’s efforts, Chattanooga became the first city in Tennessee to have a completed interstate system in the early 1960s. In February 1958, Chattanooga became one of the smallest cities in the country with three VHF transmitters: WTVM (now WTVC-TV) channel 9 (ABC), WRGP-TV (now WRCB-TV) channel 3 (NBC), and WDEF-TV channel 12 (CBS).
The same mountains that provide Chattanooga’s scenic backdrop also served to trap industrial pollutants which caused them to settle over the community, so much that in 1969, the federal government declared that Chattanooga had the dirtiest air in the nation. But environmental crises were not the only problems plaguing the city. Like other early industrial cities, Chattanooga entered the 1980s with serious socioeconomic challenges, including job layoffs due to de-industrialization, deteriorating city infrastructure, racial tensions, and social division. Chattanooga’s population declined by more than 10% in the 1980s. However, Chattanooga was the only major U.S. city to lose this proportion of its population in the 1980s and then regain the same proportion in the next two decades.
In late 20th and early 21st centuries, substantial private and governmental resources have been invested in transforming the city’s tarnished image. They have worked to revitalize its downtown and riverfront areas, making use of its natural resources. An early cornerstone of this project was a restoration lasting several years, from the mid-to-late 1980s to 1993, of the historic Walnut Street Bridge. An excellent specimen of the Camelback truss bridge, it is the oldest surviving bridge of its kind in the Southeastern United States, having been built in 1891.
Downtown Chattanooga, viewed from Lookout Mountain
Efforts to improve the city include the “21st Century Waterfront Plan” – a $120 million redevelopment of the Chattanooga waterfront and downtown area, which was completed in 2005. The Tennessee Aquarium, which opened in 1992, has become a major waterfront attraction that has helped to spur neighborhood development. Chattanooga has garnered numerous accolades for its transformation of its image. The city has won three national awards for outstanding “livability”, and nine Gunther Blue Ribbon Awards for excellence in housing and consolidated planning. In addition to winning various national and regional awards, Chattanooga has been in the national limelight numerous times. Chattanooga was the profile city of the August 2007 edition of US Airways Magazine. In a seminal event for Chattanooga, Volkswagen announced in July 2008 the construction of its first U.S. auto plant in over three decades, the Volkswagen Chattanooga Assembly Plant. In December 2009, Chattanooga was ranked 8th out of America’s 100 largest metro areas for the best “Bang For Your Buck” city, according to Forbes magazine, which measured overall affordability, housing rates, and more. Chattanooga launched the first one gigabit a second Internet service in the United States in September 2010, provided through the city-owned utility of EPB. In August 2012, Chattanooga got its own typeface, called Chatype, which marks the first time a municipality has its own typeface in the United States and the first crowd-funded, custom-made typeface in the world.
On July 16, 2015, a shooting occurred at two U.S. military facilities in Chattanooga. Six people—four U.S. Marines, one sailor, and the gunman—were killed and two people were wounded.
Child labor at Richmond Spinning Mill in Chattanooga, 1910. Photo by Lewis Hine.
Chattanooga’s economy includes a diversified and growing mix of manufacturing and service industries.
Notable Chattanooga businesses include Access America Transport, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, CBL & Associates, The Chattanooga Bakery, Chattem, the world’s first Coca-Cola bottling plant, Coker Tire, U.S. Xpress Inc., Covenant Transport, Double Cola, CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries, Luken Communications, Miller & Martin, the National Model Railroad Association, Reliance Partners, Republic Parking System, Rock/Creek, Tricycle Inc., and Unum. The city also hosts large branch offices of Cigna, AT&T, T-Mobile USA, and UBS. McKee Foods Corporation, the maker of nationally known Little Debbie brand snack cakes, is a privately held, family-run company headquartered in nearby Collegedale, Tennessee.
Notable companies that have manufacturing or distribution facilities in the city include Alstom, Amazon.com, BASF, DuPont, Invista, Komatsu, Rock-Tenn, Plantronics, Domtar, Norfolk Southern, Ferrara Candy Company (manufacturer of Brach’s candies), Alco Chemical, Colonial Pipeline, and Buzzi Unicem. The William Wrigley Jr. Company has a prominent presence in Chattanooga, the sole site of production of Altoids breath mint products since 2005. There is also a Vulcan Materials quarry in the vicinity of the city.
In May 2011, Volkswagen Group of America inaugurated its Chattanooga Assembly Plant. The $1 billion plant, opened in May 2011, serves as the group’s North American manufacturing headquarters. The plant, which currently employs some 2,700 people and will increase by another 2,000 people within the next few years and manufactures the Passat (since April 2011) and the Atlas (from late 2016), will have a first-in-the-South full research and development center in downtown Chattanooga, employing some 200 engineers. The plant is the first one in the United States for Volkswagen since the 1988 closure of the Volkswagen Westmoreland Assembly Plant near New Stanton, Pennsylvania.
In addition to corporate business interests, there are many retail shops in Chattanooga, including two shopping malls: Hamilton Place Mall in East Brainerd and Northgate Mall in Hixson. Eastgate Mall in Brainerd used to be a shopping mall, but has changed into a multi-use office building. The P.F. Chang’s restaurant at Hamilton Place Mall has had a unique theme since the restaurant opened in November 2006: water, based on the fundamental role the Tennessee River plays in Chattanooga and the fact that the CEO of P.F. Chang’s since 2000, Richard Federico, is a 1976 alumnus of the University of Tennessee and has family in Chattanooga. In December 2001, Chattanooga was the site of the first two Dairy Queen Grill and Chill restaurants in the United States.
Tourism and Hospitality has been a growing part of Chattanooga’s economy, with 2014 being the first year for Hamilton County to surpass $1 billion in revenue.
Startups have been an increasing trend, due in part to EPB’s fiber optic grid. Notable venture firms based in the city are Blank Slate Ventures, Chattanooga Renaissance Fund, Lamp Post Group, SwiftWing Ventures, and The Jump Fund. The city is served by several incubators, notably Co.Lab, the Business Development Center, and Lamp Post Group. The Business Development Center is among the nation’s largest incubators, both in square footage and in the number of startups that it supports. Co-working spaces have picked up downtown, including Society of Work and Chattanooga Workspace. Unique in the city is the startup accelerator Gigtank, which utilizes the city’s gigabit capacities and focuses on 3D printing, healthcare, and smartgrid technologies. Notable startups include Quickcue (acquired by OpenTable in 2013), Reliance Partners, PriceWaiter, Bellhops Moving Help, Variable Inc. (NODE), Ambition, Feetz, and TransCard. Chattanooga went from zero investable capital in 2009 to over $50 million in 2014.
Chickamauga Lock and Dam on the Tennessee River at Chattanooga
Electric power for most of the city and surrounding area is provided by the city-run Electric Power Board (EPB). EPB also provides high-speed Internet service, TV, and telephone service to business and residential customers throughout Hamilton County, as well as parts of Bledsoe County, Bradley County, Catoosa County, Dade County, Marion County, Rhea County, Sequatchie County, and Walker County, via the nation’s largest municipally owned fiber optic system. TVA operates the nearby Sequoyah Nuclear Power Plant, Chickamauga Dam, and the Raccoon Mountain Pumped-Storage Plant, all of which provide electricity to the greater Chattanooga area. TVA’s corporate power generation and distribution organization is headquartered in downtown Chattanooga.
Natural gas and water are provided by the privately run Chattanooga Gas Company and Tennessee-American Water Company, respectively. In 2005, then-Mayor Ron Littlefield stated his desire for the city to purchase the Tennessee-American Water Company, which was sold in a public offering in 2007. Former Mayor Jon Kinsey’s attempts to have the city buy control of Tennessee-American Water were defeated in court.
Comcast remains the dominant cable provider for most areas of the city. The incumbent telephone company is AT&T Inc. However, competing phone companies, such as EPB, cellular phones, and VoIP are making inroads. A major interstate fiber optics line operated by AT&T traverses the city, making its way from Atlanta to Cincinnati. There are more choices among TV, Internet, and phone service providers for Chattanooga residents than in most other cities its size because of the intense competition between AT&T, Comcast, and EPB.
EPB’s gigabit public fiber optic network
Beginning in 2009 and continuing through March 2011, when Haletown, Tennessee received service from EPB’s fiber optic network, EPB began to establish its exclusive fiber optic network to its 600 sq mi (1,600 km2) service area, which covers the greater Chattanooga Metropolitan Statistical Area. In September 2010, EPB became the first municipally owned utilities company in the United States to offer internet access directly to the public at speeds up to one gigabit (1,000 megabits) per second by utilizing its fiber optic network. The network has been emulated by at least six other cities in Tennessee and studied by other cities in the US and even internationally. Jay Weatherill, South Australia’s Premier, visited Chattanooga in January 2012 and “looked at the current gigabit network that was supporting critical city safety functions such as police and fire communications infrastructure, equipment and applications. He also inspected wastewater management, storm water management, traffic control and medical diagnostics applications [and] first-hand operations of a smart lighting and camera system that allows the police to control public lighting and see what is happening in heavy crime areas. [The article says the] use of broadband to carry the video and control signaling has contributed to making Chattanooga’s Coolidge Park a safer place to visit.”
In 2011 the expansion of EPB’s network became a subject of major controversy in Tennessee. The success of its network, credited with the expansion of Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant and the establishment of Amazon.com facilities in Chattanooga and Cleveland, led to a number of legal challenges by AT&T and Comcast insisting that public funds not be used to fund expansion of public networks in competition with private ones. However, according to EPB itself, federal agencies, electricity industry trade sources, and other press sources, the investment in the fully fiber optic network is justified by electrical system benefits alone, including early fault detection and decreases in standby power.
As of 2014, there are 27 banks operating in the Chattanooga metropolitan area, lending to financial strength. Among the heavy hitters are regional banks First Tennessee, SunTrust Banks, and Regions Financial Corporation, but the area also has offices from UBS, Chase, and Bank of America. In part to the strength and growing economic development, Chase recently shifted its East Tennessee headquarters from Knoxville to Chattanooga.
Within the first four months of 2015, Chattanooga became a very hot market for bank mergers with the merging of 3 locally owned banks, and 1 in nearby Cleveland, Tennessee. CapitalMark, formed in 2007, will be acquired by the Nashville-based Pinnacle Financial Partners for $187 million to have the fourth largest market share in the Chattanooga metro area. First Security Group, Inc, the largest Chattanooga-based bank, formed in 2000, will be acquired by the Atlanta-based Atlantic Capital Bancshares, Inc., for $160 million. Cornerstone, started in 1985, will merge with the Knoxville-based SmartBank in a stock deal. Cleveland’s Southern Heritage Bank was acquired in 2014 by First Citizens National Bank in Dyersburg, Tennessee, for $32.2 million. All these mergers only leave one Chattanooga-based, independent bank, First Volunteer Bank. Others in the area locally based include Ringgold, Georgia-based Northwest Georgia Bank, Dunlap, Tennessee-based Citizens Tri-County Bank, Ooltewah-based Community Trust and Banking Co., Dayton, Tennessee-based Community National Bank, Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia-based Capital Bank, LaFayette, Georgia-based Bank of LaFayette, and Cleveland-based Bank of Cleveland.
Politics, government, and law
See also: List of Mayors of Chattanooga, Tennessee
Flag of Chattanooga from 1923-2012
The current mayor is Andy Berke, a former state senator, who won the March 2013 election.
The city operates under a charter granted by the state legislature in 1852; the charter has been subsequently amended. The city operates under a strong mayor system, which changed from a commission form of government with members voted at-large. In 1989 U.S. District Judge R. Allan Edgar ruled that the commission-style government violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by diluting the minority black vote. As a result of Brown v. Board of Commissioners, Chattanooga abandoned the at-large voting system that it had used for the commission form of government, established single-member districts to represent both majority and minority elements of the population, eliminated voting privileges for non-resident property owners, and created the city’s current mayor-council form of government. The current strong mayor system started in 1991 after a 1990 citywide election that used the district system.
The city’s legislative branch is represented by members from nine districts, elected from single-member districts in partisan elections. The current council members are Chip Henderson (District 1), Jerry Mitchell (District 2), Ken Smith (District 3), Larry Grohn (District 4), Russell Gilbert (District 5), Carol Berz (District 6), Chris Anderson (District 7), Moses Freeman (District 8), and Yusuf Hakeem (District 9).
Chattanooga’s delegation to the Tennessee House of Representatives includes Gerald McCormick (R), who represents District 26, Richard Floyd (R), who represents District 27, JoAnne Favors (D), who represents District 28, Mike Carter (R), who represents District 29, Vince Dean (R), who represents District 30, and Jim Cobb (R), who represents District 31. In the Tennessee Senate, Chattanooga is divided between Districts 10 and 11 with Todd Gardenhire (R) and Bo Watson (R) representing each district respectively.
Chattanooga is represented in the United States House of Representatives by Chuck Fleischmann (R), who represents the 3rd District. In the United States Senate, both Bob Corker (R) and Lamar Alexander (R) have district offices in Chattanooga.
Chattanooga, as the county seat of Hamilton County, is home to Chattanooga’s City Courts and Hamilton County’s Courts.
Chattanooga is the location of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee’s Southern Division, which is housed in the Joel W. Solomon Federal Courthouse. The Southern Division has jurisdiction over Bledsoe, Bradley, Hamilton, Marion, McMinn, Meigs, Polk, Rhea, and Sequatchie counties.
The Chattanooga Police Department dates from 1852. Starting in 1883, it hired black police officers, making Chattanooga one of the first major Southern cities to have them. But after the state legislature imposed segregation, black police officers were dropped from the force. They were hired again on a permanent basis beginning on August 11, 1948, years before other major cities in the Southeast, such as Birmingham, Alabama and Jackson, Mississippi, integrated their police departments. The first seven black officers in 1948, Thaddeus Arnold, Singer Askins, W.B. Baulridge, C.E. Black, Morris Glenn, Arthur Heard, and Thomas Patterson, were initially restricted to walking beats in black neighborhoods. In 1960, black police officers were authorized to patrol all neighborhoods and arrest white citizens.
Primary and secondary education
Most of Chattanooga’s primary and secondary education is funded by the government. The public schools in Chattanooga, as well as Hamilton County, have fallen under the purview of the Hamilton County Schools since the 1997 merger of the urban Chattanooga City Schools system and the mostly rural Hamilton County Schools system. The Howard School, was the first public school in the area, established in 1865 after the Civil War. Tyner High School (now Tyner Academy), was the first secondary school built east of Missionary Ridge in 1907. It is now the home of Tyner Middle Academy. The Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences, the STEM School Of Chattanooga and the Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts are additional public magnet schools.
The city is home to several well-known private and parochial secondary schools, including Baylor School, Boyd-Buchanan School, Chattanooga Christian School, Girls Preparatory School, McCallie School, and Notre Dame High School. The Siskin Children’s Institute in Chattanooga is a specialized institution in the field of early childhood special education.
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s Founders Hall, June 2007
A wide variety of higher education institutions can be found in Chattanooga and nearby. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is the second largest campus of the University of Tennessee System, with a student population of over 11,669 as of 2015-16 school year. Chattanooga State Community College is a two-year community college with a total undergraduate enrollment of roughly 11,000 students. Tennessee Temple University is a Baptist college located in the Highland Park neighborhood that is no longer operating as of 2015. Chattanooga is also home to a branch of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, which provides medical education to third- and fourth-year medical students, residents, and other medical professionals in southeast Tennessee through an affiliation with Erlanger Health System. Covenant College, a private liberal arts college operated by the Presbyterian Church in America, is located in the nearby suburb of Lookout Mountain, Georgia, and has a student population of about 1,000. Southern Adventist University is located in the suburb of Collegedale, Tennessee, and enrolls roughly 3,000 students. Virginia College School of Business and Health offers a variety of programs leading to diplomas, associate degrees, and bachelor’s degrees.
The Chattanooga Public Library opened in 1905. Since 1976, the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Bicentennial Library system had been jointly operated by the city and county governments; due to Chattanooga terminating a 1966 agreement with Hamilton County to distribute sales tax revenue equally, the city has taken over full funding responsibilities as of 2011. The city was given a Carnegie library in 1904, and the two-story purpose-built marble structure survives to this day at Eighth Street and Georgia Avenue as commercial office space. In 1939, the library moved to Douglas Street and McCallie Avenue and shared the new building with the John Storrs Fletcher Library of the University of Chattanooga. This building is now called Fletcher Hall and houses classrooms and offices for the university. In 1976, the city library moved to its third and current location at the corner of Tenth and Broad streets.
Main article: Hospitals in Chattanooga
Chattanooga has three hospital systems: Erlanger Health System, Parkridge Hospital System, and Memorial Hospital System.
Erlanger Hospital is a non-profit academic teaching center affiliated with the University of Tennessee’s College of Medicine. Erlanger is also the area’s primary trauma center, a Level-One Trauma Center for adults, and the only provider of tertiary care for the residents of southeastern Tennessee, north Georgia, northeastern Alabama, and western North Carolina. Erlanger treats approximately 250,000 people every year. In 2008, Erlanger was named one of the nation’s “100 Top teaching hospitals for cardiovascular care” by Thomson Reuters. Erlanger has been operated by the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Hospital Authority since 1976.
Parkridge Hospital is located east of downtown in the Glenwood district and is run by Tri-Star Healthcare. Tri-Star also operates Parkridge East Medical Center in nearby East Ridge.
Memorial Hospital, which is operated by Denver-based Catholic Health Initiatives, is located downtown. In 2004, Memorial was named one of the “100 Top Teaching Hospitals” by Thomson Reuters.
Culture and tourism
Contemporary extension of the Hunter Museum of American Art
As the birthplace of the tow truck, Chattanooga is the home of the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum. Another transportation icon, the passenger train, can be found at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, called TVRM by locals, which is the largest operating historic railroad in the South. Chattanooga is home to the Hunter Museum of American Art. Other notable museums include the Chattanooga History Center, the National Medal of Honor Museum, the Houston Museum, the Chattanooga African American Museum, and the Creative Discovery Museum.
Arts and literature
Chattanooga has a wide range of performing arts in different venues. Chattanooga’s historic Tivoli Theatre, dating from 1921 and one of the first public air-conditioned buildings in the United States, is home to the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera (CSO), which became the first merged symphony and opera company in the United States in 1985. The CSO performs under the baton of Kayoko Dan. The Chattanooga Theatre Centre offers 15 productions each year in three separate theater programs: the Mainstage, the Circle Theater, and the Youth Theater. Another popular performance venue is Memorial Auditorium.
Chattanooga hosts several writing conferences, including the Conference on Southern Literature and the Festival of Writers, both sponsored by the Arts & Education Council of Chattanooga.
Chattanooga touts many attractions, including the Tennessee Aquarium, The Southern Belle Riverboat, caverns, and new waterfront attractions along and across the Tennessee River. In the downtown area is the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel, housed in the renovated Terminal Station and exhibiting the largest HO model train layout in the United States. Also downtown are the Creative Discovery Museum, a hands-on children’s museum dedicated to science, art, and music; an IMAX 3D Theatre, and the newly expanded Hunter Museum of American Art. The Tennessee Riverwalk, an approximately 13-mile (21 km) long trail running alongside the river, is another attraction for both tourists and residents alike.
Across the river from downtown is the North Shore district, roughly bounded by the Olgiati Bridge to the west and Veterans Bridge to the east. The newly renovated area draws locals and tourists to locally owned independent boutique stores and restaurants, plus attractions along the Chattanooga Riverpark system, including Coolidge Park and Renaissance Park.
The Chattanooga Zoo at Warner Park is located a short distance from the downtown area.
Parks and natural scenic areas provide other attractions. The red-and-black painted “See Rock City” barns along highways in the Southeast are remnants of a now-classic Americana tourism campaign to attract visitors to the Rock City tourist attraction in nearby Lookout Mountain, Georgia. The mountain is also the site of Ruby Falls and Craven’s House. The Lookout Mountain Incline Railway is a steep funicular railway that rises from the St. Elmo Historic District to the top of the mountain, where passengers can visit the National Park Service’s Point Park and the Battles for Chattanooga Museum. Formerly known as Confederama, the museum includes a diorama that details the Battle of Chattanooga. From the military park, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of Moccasin Bend and the Chattanooga skyline from the mountain’s famous “point” or from vantage points along the well-marked trail system.
The Heritage park is a park that lies in East Brainerd. Heritage park has a bocce ball court, a playground complete with swings, and a walking pavement. The park also features an off-leash dog park which is operated by the Friends of East Brainerd, the City of Chattanooga Parks and Recreation Department, McKamey Animal Center and the Goodwill Assistance Dog Academy.
Near Chattanooga, the Raccoon Mountain Reservoir, Raccoon Mountain Caverns, and Reflection Riding Arboretum and Botanical Garden boast a number of outdoor and family fun opportunities. Other arboretums include Bonny Oaks Arboretum, Cherokee Arboretum at Audubon Acres, and Cherokee Trail Arboretum. The Ocoee River, host to a number of events at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, features rafting, kayaking, camping, and hiking. Just outside Chattanooga is the Lake Winnepesaukah amusement park. The Cumberland Trail begins in Signal Mountain, just outside Chattanooga.
The front of the Tennessee Aquarium
The Tennessee Aquarium from the back
Trail of Tears water steps off of Market Street, downtown Chattanooga
A view of the Walnut Street Bridge and the Tennessee River
Looking South towards Lookout Mountain
Festivals and events
Chattanooga hosts the well-known Riverbend Festival, an annual nine-day music festival held in June in the downtown area. One of the most popular events is the “Bessie Smith Strut”, a one-night showcase of blues and jazz music named for the city’s most noted blues singer. The annual “Southern Brewer’s Festival” and the “River Roast” festival celebrate such traditional Southern staples as beer and barbecue.
New events, such as GoFest!, the “Between the Bridges” wakeboard competition, Heritage Festival, and Talespin, complement well-established events, such as Riverbend and the Southern Brewer’s Festival, and attract their own audiences. Back Row Films is a citywide celebration of film co-sponsored by the Hunter Museum of American Art, the Arts & Education Council, and UTC.
“Nightfall” is a free weekly concert series in Miller Plaza on Friday nights that features an eclectic mix of rock, blues, jazz, reggae, zydeco, funk, bluegrass, and folk music from Memorial Day until the end of September.The Chattanooga Market features events all year round as part of the “Sunday at the Southside”, including an Oktoberfest in mid-October.
The Chattanooga Dulcimer Festival, held each June, features workshops for mountain dulcimer, hammered dulcimer, and auto harp, among others, along with performances by champion performers from across the nation.
Chattanooga is also the center of much bluegrass music. In 1935, as well as from 1993 to 1995, the city hosted the National Folk Festival. Since 2007, the annual 3 Sisters Festival showcases traditional and contemporary bluegrass artists, and has been named on of the country’s top 5 bluegrass festivals by Great American Country.
Each January, Chattanooga plays host to Chattacon, a science fiction and fantasy literary convention. The convention is organized by the nonprofit Chattanooga Speculative Fiction Fans, Inc. First held in 1976, the convention drew an estimated 1,000 attendees to the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel in 2012, as well as an estimated 1,300 attendees in 2013