More than four million people visit Chattanooga annually to explore the city's past, take part in activities, and enjoy the region's unique sights and diversions. The $45 million Tennessee Aquarium, the world's largest freshwater aquarium, takes spectators everywhere a river goes—from small mountain streams, to raging currents, to deep reservoirs, to the sea. Displays of thousands of living plants, fish, birds, and other river animals show how water supports life. A $30 million, 60,000 square foot addition, scheduled to open in April 2005, will hold 650,000 gallons of water, with ten-foot sharks, stingrays, and barracuda swimming among coral formations. This expansion is only part of a $120 million Waterfront Plan scheduled for completion by May 2005, which includes a $19.5 million expansion to the Hunter Museum of American Art, and a $3 million renovation and enhancement to the Children's Creative Discovery Museum, as well as other riverside revitalization projects. The story of Chattanooga's rich cultural, historical, and geographical significance is related through chronologically progressive exhibits at Ross's Landing Park and Plaza, which is adjacent to the Aquarium. The Chattanooga Regional History Museum was established in 1978 to collect, preserve, and exhibit the written, spoken, pictorial, and artifactual record of Chattanooga and the surrounding region.
The Chattanooga Zoo at Warner Park presents a variety of exotic animals and birds, including primates, jaguars, nocturnal animals, and a petting zoo, as well as classes about animal life. Its newest exhibit, "Himalayan Passage" features red pandas. The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum offers an impressive collection of classic railroad memorabilia, including a 1911 steam locomotive, a 1917 office car with three bedrooms, a 1926 dining car, a Pullman sleeping car, and a 1929 wooden caboose. Visitors can ride the train on its 40-acre site with its four railroad bridges and a historic tunnel through Missionary Ridge; four-hour roundtrip train rides to historic Chickamauga, Georgia, are also available. The National Knife Collector Association and Museum, which promotes the hobby of knife collecting, has many interesting knives on display.
The Chattanooga Choo-Choo is a 30-acre complex offering accommodations in restored Victorian railroad cars, dining options including dinner in an elegant dining car, browsing in unique shops, and touring the entertainment complex via old-fashioned trolley. At Ross's Landing, the sternwheeler Southern Belle, which can carry 500 people, conducts excursions up the Tennessee River on its dining and entertainment cruises. The river's newest excursion boat, the Chattanooga Star, is an authentic side paddle wheeler that can accommodate up to 145 passengers.
The Lookout Mountain Incline Railway ascends and descends the mountain every half hour with trolley-style rail-cars, offering panoramic views of the city. One of the steepest railways in the world, its gradient reaches 72.7 percent. The self-guided tour of famous Rock City on Lookout Mountain reveals giant prehistoric rock formations, breathtaking views, and visits to Fairyland Caverns and Mother Goose Village, where fairy tales are celebrated. Ruby Falls-Lookout Mountain Caverns is a cave providing a view of a 145-foot waterfall that is 1,120 feet underground. The Tennessee Wildlife Center is an environmental educational facility featuring exhibits such as a wildlife diorama, interactive computer games, and a crawl-in beaver lodge, as well as a 1,200-foot Wetland Boardwalk, and a Wildlife Rehabilitation laboratory. Adjoining Lookout Mountain is Reflection Riding, a 300-acre nature preserve that permits visitors to drive through a grand variety of trees, shrubs, and wildflowers similar to those in an English landscape.
Straddling the Tennessee-Georgia border, the 9,000-acre Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park is the nation's oldest and largest preserved area of Civil War sites. Chickamauga Battlefield unit offers "living history" programs, the Fuller gun collection, a self-guided tour, and a multimedia presentation on the battle. Lookout Mountain unit offers free programs, the Craven's House Museum, and magnificent views from Point Park. The National Medal of Honor Museum displays memorabilia, artifacts, equipment, and history about the Medal of Honor. An exciting three-dimensional presentation of Chattanooga's Civil War history is presented at the Battles for Chattanooga Museum, which features 5,000 miniature figures, 650 lights, sound effects, and details of major battles. Signal Point, atop Signal Mountain, is the site where messages were relayed to clear the way for supplies coming down the Tennessee River for Union soldiers during the Civil War.
A number of interesting historical houses and buildings are located around the city. The Brabson House, built in 1857 and later used as a hospital during the 1878 yellow fever epidemic, was destroyed by fire in 1881 and rebuilt in the early 1990s. The John Ross House, a memorial to the man who was the greatest chief of the Cherokee Nation, was built in 1779 by Ross's grandfather. Craven's House, built circa 1854, was the center of action in the Battle of Lookout Mountain, and the 1840s Gordon Lee Mansion served as headquarters to General William Rosecrans in 1863 as well as serving as a soldiers' hospital. After the Confederate evacuation of Chattanooga in 1863, General Braxton Bragg established his headquarters at the Lee & Gordon's Mill.
Other area attractions include water fun at the Alpine Slide, views of the underground lake of Lost Sea at Sweet-water, tours of the Jack Daniels Distillery at Lynchburg, and the games and rides at Lake Winnepesaukah Amusement Park.
Arts and Culture
Chattanooga has a very active performing arts community. The Symphony and Opera Association presents symphony concerts, operas, chamber music, pops programs, young people's concerts and operas, and youth orchestras, with guest artists of international renown at the Tivoli Theatre. The restored Tivoli is a fine example of 1920s baroque elegance. With its ample stage depth and first-rate backstage and rehearsal facilities, the theater is the site of some of the city's major entertainment and cultural events, including touring Broadway productions. The Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium was built in 1924 and rededicated in 1991 after being refashioned into a theatrical venue with a sloped concert hall with permanent seating. The auditorium is an ideal venue for concerts, theatrical performances, meetings, andconventions.
Founded in 1923 as the Little Theatre of Chattanooga, the Chattanooga Theatre Centre is a 40,000 square-foot facility with a main stage seating 380 and a smaller Circle stage seating 200. The Theatre Center offers a variety of locally produced programs featuring professionally directed local and regional talent in its eight main stage shows, four smaller and more adventurous Circle Series shows, and four youth theater productions each year. The Backstage Dinner Playhouse, the Mountain Opry, and other area and regional theaters offer a variety of locally produced performances year-round.
Chattanooga has a number of dance companies including Ballet Tennessee, Chattanooga Ballet, Contemporary Performing Arts of Chattanooga, and Dance Theatre Workshop. These companies present a variety of programs from the holiday classic The Nutcracker to avant garde drama. The Chattanooga Boys Choir, which includes approximately 200 boys in the program each year, and Girls Choir, composed of nearly 150 girls, travel throughout the United States and abroad. Rock and popular concerts are held at Memorial Auditorium.
The Heritage Center features the 264-seat Bessie Smith Performance Hall, a legacy of the city's "Empress of the Blues." Adjacent to the Bessie Smith Hall is the Chattanooga African-American History Museum, which contains a library and a collection of artifacts including African art, original sculptures, paintings, musical recordings, and local African American newspapers. The Houston Museum of Decorative Arts is famous for its outstanding collection of American decorative arts assembled by Anna S. Houston, a local antiques dealer. The museum features beautiful pieces of porcelain, glass, furniture, and ceramics. With one of the largest and finest collections of American art in the Southeast, the Hunter Museum of American Art is situated high on a bluff overlooking the Tennessee River. The museum houses masterworks from Thomas Hart Benton, Winslow Homer, and Andrew Wyeth. As of March 2005, the museum is undergoing a $19.5 million expansion and renovation; its new addition will be home to temporary exhibits and galleries.
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) provides the community with numerous offerings in the cultural and fine arts. The University Theatre presents several stage productions annually while faculty, student, and guest musicians participate in the Cadek Department of Music and Conserva-tory offerings. The University's Cress Gallery of Art, part of the UTC Fine Arts Center, houses visiting exhibitions as well as local and student art work. Patten Performances, formerly The Dorothy Patten Fine Arts Series, hosts top quality theatrical, concert, and dance presentations.
Festivals and Holidays
Held in May, the two-day 4 Bridges Arts Festival celebrates the visual arts. The annual River Roast, also in May, draws thousands to the riverfront and features a barbeque, volleyball tournament, and Mayor's Regatta. The Bessie Smith Traditional Jazz Festival, another May event, is a three-day jazz extravaganza held at the Chattanooga Choo Choo's Station House. One of the recreational highlights in Chattanooga is June's nine-day Riverbend Festival, a musical celebration on the riverfront at Ross's Landing, which draws more than 540,000 people each year to see top-name entertainers. Musical performances on its six stages range from jazz, blues, rock, folk, country, bluegrass, classic and more. At the Southern Brewers Festival in Auguest, microbrewers from across the country offer more than 30 ales and lagers; the event also features music and food. October brings visitors from across the country to attend the two-week Fall Color Cruise and Folk Festival, which includes boat trips down the Tennessee River, food events, music, and crafts. The holiday season is highlighted by Christmas on the River, a parade of festively decorated lighted boats on the Tennessee River.
Sports for the Spectator
Chattanooga boasts professional sports teams in baseball (Chattanooga Lookouts, Class AA Southern League) and football (Chattanooga Locomotion, National Women's Football Association Southern Division), and major collegiate sports entertainment at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC). The Lookouts play in the 6,500-seat BellSouth Park, which opened for the 2000 season, while as of April 2005 the Locomotion will play home games at Howard Stadium, at Howard School of Academics and Technology. UTC's NCAA Division I basketball Mocs play at the McKenzie Arena, formerly called the UTC Arena (capacity 11,218), while the Division I-AA Mocs football team plays its Southern Conference schedule at the 20,668-seat Max Finley Stadium, the site for the annual NCAA Division I-AA National Football Championship Games. UTC also fields NCAA Division I teams in cross country, golf, softball, tennis, indoor/outdoor track and field, volleyball, and wrestling.
Sports for the Participant
Surrounded by parks, mountains, and nearly 50,000 acres of rivers and lakes, the Chattanooga area offers recreation opportunities of all kinds. The mountains circling the city feature camping, rock climbing, rappelling, and spelunking. The mountain rivers offer exciting white water rafting, kayaking, and canoeing. Fishing on the Tennessee River is always an attraction, and nearby Lake Chickamauga provides more than 35,000 acres of water for sailing, water skiing, and rowing. Another site for water enthusiasts is the 192 miles of shoreline on Nickajack Lake.
More than 200 tennis courts, as well as hundreds of basketball courts, softball and baseball fields, dot city neighborhoods. Golfers are beckoned by 25 area golf courses. Chattanooga has dozens of recreation centers and supervised playgrounds to occupy the young set. Around the city, organized team sports include softball, baseball, wrestling, polo, boxing, soccer, rugby, gymnastics, and swimming, while sporting clubs center on hunting, fishing, running, biking, and skiing.
The Tennessee Riverwalk, a scenic pedestrian pathway connecting a string of parks and playgrounds along the riverfront, was largely the reason for that designation. The Passage, slated to open in May of 2005, is a new pedestrian link between the river and the downtown area. One of the jewels in the Tennessee Riverpark system is Coolidge Park, located on Chattanooga's north shore waterfront. The 6-acre park is named in honor of Charles Coolidge, a World War II Medal of Honor recipient. The park boasts a restored Denzel carousel originally built in 1895 for Atlanta's Grant Park; it features 52 intricately painted, hand-carved animals created by students of artisan Bud Ellis at Horsin' Around, a year-round carousel animal carving school in Chattanooga.
Shopping and Dining
Chattanooga is a shopping mecca for a region covering a 50-mile radius in Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia. Residents are served by more than 40 shopping centers, including several enclosed major malls. Hamilton Place, with more than 200 stores, is the state's largest shopping mall; it is located in southeast Hamilton County. Rehabilitation efforts in the city's downtown have restored its vitality as a popular shopping and dining site. There, Warehouse Row, a $30 million upscale outlet complex, features designer shops located in 8 cavernous former turn-of-the-century railroad warehouses. Chattanooga's riverfront area has numerous shops alongside piers, boatslips, and waterfront parks. The East Ridge Flea Market, open on weekends and holidays, is a huge indoor/outdoor market featuring more than 200 vendors selling new and used items, and three restaurants.
Dining experiences in Chattanooga can be as varied as having dinner while walking or cruising along the Tennessee River or while watching a stage production or eating in a former railway dining car. Fine dining and more moderately priced traditional American fare are offered in many areas of the city. Casual eateries include burger joints, delis, buffets and cafeterias, and novelty settings. Ethnic cuisine runs the gamut from Chinese, Italian, and Tex-Mex to Jamaican.
Visitor Information: Chattanooga Area Convention & Visitors' Bureau, 2 Broad Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402; telephone (423)756-0001; toll-free (800)962-5213
Major Industries and Commercial Activity
Chattanooga, the hub of a thriving economic region, is located at the crossroads of three states: Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. Among the city's economic advantages are abundant natural resources (chiefly iron and steel), a strong tourism industry, a trained labor force, and a centralized location. An extensive system of highway, air, water, and rail transportation helps make the city a major transportation and distribution center. In addition, the city has a designated Foreign Trade Zone.
One of the nation's oldest manufacturing cities, Chattanooga's employment in that sector has decreased slightly in recent years (mirroring national trends) to 16.5 percent. Again mirroring national trends, increases have occurred in information, financial activities, and professional and business services. In addition, Chattanooga has experienced a modest growth trend in transportation, trade, and utilities. As a whole, the city is a diversified and profitable business location with no single dominant industry.
Locally based UNUM Provident Corp. is a Fortune 500 service company. Other large companies with headquarters in the city include Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Tennessee, Brach & Brock Confections, Chattem Inc., Dixie Yarns, The Krystal Company, McKee Banking Company, North American Royalties, and Olan Mills, Inc.
The city is the headquarters for the Division of Power of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the largest utility in the United States. TVA is a federal corporation that works to develop the natural resources of the Tennessee Valley. Chattanooga is in an enviable position: both electricity and natural gas are readily available at very reasonable rates. Water supplies are also plentiful and sewage treatment has considerable excess capacity to support industrial expansion. In addition, TVA and its power distributors offer a growth credit program that provides significant savings to new commercial and industrial customers requiring a large capacity.
Items and goods produced: processed foods, iron and steel products, textiles, apparel, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, clay products, furniture, machinery, paper, petroleum products
Incentive Programs—New and Existing Companies
The city of Chattanooga, Hamilton County, and the state of Tennessee have joined with the private sector to form RiverValley Partners, a non-profit public-private organization that has responsibility for economic development in Chattanooga and Hamilton County. The organization provides assistance to new and expanding businesses and industry in securing business financing. Services include networking with community financial resources, assistance in obtaining state aid, and business counseling for start-up operations experiencing difficulties. The city of Chattanooga Community Development Block Grant Program makes loans to locating or expanding businesses for terms of up to five years. The Enterprise Fund of Greater Chattanooga provides capital on a loan or equity basis to new and existing businesses in Chattanooga, Hamilton County, and surrounding areas for purposes of creating jobs and strengthening the tax base. The Local Development Corporation Revolving Loan Fund can provide limited fixed asset financing when necessary to leverage other loan funds or bridge a financing gap. The Tennessee Valley Authority provides loans to business and industry in Hamilton County and other regional counties. Valley Capital Corporation provides long-term debt and equity capital to small businesses which are at least 51 percent owned by economically or socially disadvantaged entrepreneurs.
Tennessee, a right-to-work state, provides a low cost of doing business. It boasts the lowest utility costs in the nation and offers numerous tax incentives. State-administered financial programs for businesses include: the Small and Minority-Owned Business Assistance Program, currently being developed by the state Treasury Department and expected to provide assistance to small and minority-owned businesses through loans, technical assistance, and program services; the Small Business Energy Loan Program, which helps qualified Tennessee-based businesses upgrade their level of energy efficiency in their buildings and manufacturing processes; the FastTrack Infrastructure Program, which assists in the funding of infrastructure improvements for businesses locating or expanding in Tennessee; and the FastTrack Training Services Program, which helps companies provide training for their staff.
Job training programs
Tennessee's FastTrack Training Services Program is the state's primary source of financial support for new and expanding business and industry training. FastTrack staff work with businesses to plan, develop, and implement customized training programs. Training may be done in a classroom setting, or on the job. The Southeast Tennessee Private Industry Council also assists businesses in meeting labor force training needs. The Council strives to provide businesses with a more competent workforce, higher employee productivity, a reduction in employee turnover, lower employee retraining costs, and highly motivated employees. The council works with Chattanooga State Technical Community College on vocational training, and helps new companies combine resources to meet their training needs. Several four-year institutions and two-year colleges serve the area with a wide range of programs designed to train personnel for new and expanding industry. The Tennessee Industrial Training Service provides specialized services at low or no cost to manufacturing, warehouse/distribution, and service industry employers, including task and job analysis, training program design and material development, coordination of programs with employee recruitment activities, provision of facilities and equipment for developing specific job skills, and provision of funding.
Perhaps the most visible sign of Chattanooga's renewal is its continuing revitalization to its riverfront area. The 21st Century Waterfront Project, a $120 million enhancement to 129 acres along both shores of the Tennessee River, is scheduled for completion in May of 2005. The project encompasses a $30 million expansion to the Tennessee Aquarium, a $19.5 million expansion to the Hunter Museum of Art, a $3 million renovation and enhancement to the Children's Creative Discovery Museum, a new pedestrian bridge with a lit glass deck, a new pier, waterfront parks and dining, unique retail, and a poignant pedestrian passageway, linking the downtown and river, that marks the beginning of the Trail of Tears and celebrates Native American culture.
Economic Development Information: Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, 811 Broad Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402; telephone (423)756-2121; fax (423)267-7242; email [email protected]chattanooga-chamber.com
Chattanooga is located at the crossroads of several major U.S. highways, including Interstates 75, 24, and 59. The city is within one day's drive of nearly one-third of the major U.S. markets and population, and within 140 miles of Nashville, Atlanta, Knoxville, Huntsville, and Birmingham. Chattanooga is the distribution center for the region that includes southeast Tennessee, northwest Georgia, southwest North Carolina, northeast Alabama, and parts of several neighboring states. More than 70 motor freight lines are certified to transport shipments in the area. Two ports—the Port of Chattanooga and Centre South Riverport—are within city limits. Chattanooga remains an important port as a result of the Tennessee Valley Authority's system of locks and dams, and the Tombigbee waterway, which saves days, miles, and dollars on shipments to and from ports along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers and the Gulf of Mexico. Freight rail transportation is provided by divisions of the CSX Transportation system and the Norfolk Southern Railway. Air cargo service carriers operate out of Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport/Lovell Field.
Labor Force and Employment Outlook
Chattanooga's work force is said to be distinguished by its pride in individual workmanship. Workers are prepared for specialized professions by the state's excellent industrial training programs. Tennessee is a right-to-work state, and the city's cost of labor remains lower than in many other areas of the United States. Between July of 2003 and July of 2004, Chattanooga netted 1,900 new jobs (the fastest job growth rate the city has seen in 4 years) and average wages rose 4.2 percent, compared with the national average of 2.7 percent.
The following is a summary of data regarding the Chattanooga metropolitan area labor force, 2003 annual averages.
Size of nonagricultural labor force: 233,500
Number of workers employed in . . .
trade, transportation and utilities: 55,100
financial activities: 17,800
professional and business services: 25,400
educational and health services: 23,100
leisure and hospitality: 19,200
other services: 10,600
Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $13.24
Unemployment rate: 3.6% (December 2004)
|Largest employers||Number of employees|
|Hamilton County Dept. of Education||4,723|
|McKee Foods Corporation||3,300|
|Memorial Health Care System||2,583|
Cost of Living
At the end of 2004, Chattanooga's cost of living, based on average cost of housing, utilities, gasoline, doctor visits, and taxes, was nearly eight percent below the national average.
The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors for the Chattanooga area.
2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $238,224
2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 92.8 (U.S. average = 100.0)
State income tax rate: Limited to dividends and interest income
State sales tax rate: 7.0%
Local income tax rate: None
Local sales tax rate: 2.25%
Property tax rate: $2.52 per $100 of assessed valuation (2005)
Economic Information: Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, 811 Broad Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402; telephone (423)756-2121; fax (423)267-7242; email [email protected]
Native Americans Displaced by Early Settlers
In 1663 the British established the colony of Carolina, which included all of the Tennessee country. The French from the Mississippi Valley also claimed the land at that same time. About 1769, a crude structure known as the "Old French Store" was established, most likely on Williams Island, marking the first white settlement in the area. England gained undisputed title to the territory in 1763 at the end of the French and Indian War.
The Chickamaugas, a splinter group of the Cherokee tribe, moved to the South Chickamauga Creek villages in 1777. They resisted white settlement and cooperated with the British during the American Revolution. Frontiersmen destroyed the Chickamauga villages in 1779. Three years later, on the slope of Lookout Mountain, the Native Americans engaged the frontiersmen who had destroyed their villages. This confrontation has become known as the "last battle of the American Revolution." In 1785, the United States government took control of Native American affairs.
Tennessee became the sixteenth state in 1796. At that time Native American lands made up about three-fourths of the region, including the Chattanooga area. Ross's Landing was established in 1816 as a trading post on the banks of the Tennessee River by Chief John Ross, leader of the Cherokee nation. Chattanooga became a center of education and culture for the Native Americans when the Brainerd Mission was created in 1817. Hamilton County was established in 1819 on land north of the Tennessee River. With the Cherokee removal in 1838, the county expanded south of the river to encompass Ross's Landing.
Cherokee removal was part of the 1837–1838 episode known as the "Trail of Tears," one of the most shameful events in American history. As the result of a treaty from a disputed land sale, the Cherokee were driven from their homes in several southeastern states and were assembled at various camps, including Ross's Landing, for expulsion to Oklahoma. Forced on a harsh journey through wilderness and bad weather, more than one-half of the 16,000 Native Americans died along the way or upon arrival, largely because of the strenuous trip.
Railroads Key To Chattanooga's History
The name of Ross's Landing was changed to Chattanooga by the U.S. Post Office in 1838. Although the origin of the city's name is uncertain, some say the name was a Native American expression meaning the "rock that comes to a point," describing Lookout Mountain. Legislation establishing Chattanooga and its boundaries was passed in 1839.
Rail transportation began in Chattanooga in the 1850s. Connections to other cities were constructed by the Western & Atlantic, Nashville & Chattanooga, Memphis & Charleston, and East Tennessee & Georgia Railroads. The city's population stood at approximately 2,500 people at the beginning of the Civil War. Although Chattanoogans supported secession, Hamilton County as a whole voted to remain in the Union. The county became one of the key battlegrounds of the war, as both the Confederate and Union armies attempted to keep possession of this important railway hub.
City Experiences Major Civil War Battles
Union soldiers, under the command of General William Rosecrans, marched into Chattanooga in September of 1863, intent on holding the key railroad center. The Battle of Chickamauga took place on September 19 and 20, 1863, followed by the Battle of Lookout Mountain (which was commanded by General Ulysses S. Grant) on November 24, and the Battle of Missionary Ridge on November 25. Confederate defenses were broken during the last battle and the southerners began their retreat into Georgia. According to Confederate General D. H. Hill, "Chattanooga sealed the fate of the Confederacy."
In November 1863, the nation's first National Cemetery was established in Chattanooga. Of the 12,000 Union soldiers buried at the cemetery, 5,000 are unknown. The cemetery is the site of 31,000 graves of soldiers from every American war and conflict. Most Confederate soldiers were buried at the city's Citizens Cemetery.
Gradual Recovery Follows War
Following the war, the city began to experience economic progress. Disaster struck in March 1867, when the largest flood on record—56.8 feet—washed away the city's only bridge spanning the Tennessee River. Chattanooga remained without a bridge until 1891 when the Walnut Street Bridge was built.
Major events occurring in the nineteenth century include the publishing of the first issue of The Chattanooga Times in 1869; creation of the public school system in 1872; a Yellow Fever epidemic in 1878 that claimed 366 lives; the advent of telephone service in 1880; and the introduction of the first electric lights in 1882.
During the late nineteenth century, as the city's rail access increased, so did the push to develop mineral and timber resources. Two industries that still thrive in the community today, manufacturing and tourism, began during that period. In 1899, Chattanooga became the site of the first franchised Coca-Cola bottling plant.
Early in the twentieth century there occurred a boom in downtown construction, and "skyscrapers" of the time, such as the James Building, were erected. The Hamilton County Courthouse, struck by lightning in 1910, was rebuilt, Market Street Bridge was dedicated in 1917, and airport facilities opened at Lovell Field in 1930.
Chattanooga entered the annals of musical history in 1923 when Bessie Smith, who began her career singing for coins on Chattanooga's streets, gained prominence with the release of her recording "Downhearted Blues" by Columbia Records. The city received special notoriety with the popularity of the Glenn Miller Orchestra's big band hit, "Chattanooga Choo-Choo," in 1941.
TVA Crucial to City's Development
The Great Depression struck Chattanooga hard, as it did the rest of the country, and in 1933 the U.S. Congress created the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) which proved to be the most successful of all Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal programs. Construction of TVA's most dramatic plan, the Chickamauga Dam, began in 1936. TVA's extensive system of power-producing and flood-control dams created a number of lakes, which are widely used for commercial transportation and recreation. In 1941 the city became the center for all TVA power operations.
Suburbs Grow, Bridges Built
Over time, communities began to develop around the city in areas such as Cameron Hill, Riverview, Lookout Mountain, and Signal Mountain. Although these were primarily enclaves for the wealthy, middle-class communities developed in Brainerd, East Ridge, and Red Bank.
Beginning in the 1950s, the growth of the city necessitated the building of additional bridges to span the Tennessee River. The Wilkes T. Thrasher Bridge across Chickamauga Dam opened in 1955; the Olgiati Bridge was dedicated in 1959; the C. B. Robinson Bridge opened in 1981; and the Veterans Bridge opened in 1984.
Moves to Insure Racial Equality
The history of local race relations began a new era in 1962 when the Chattanooga and Hamilton County school systems were desegregated. More recently, in 1990 a new city council form of government was mandated by the federal court for the purpose of insuring fair racial representation.
A New City Emerges
From the late 1960s to the early 1980s, Chattanooga was known as America's dirtiest city. By 1982, city residents and leaders were tired of the bad reputation of the city, and an $850 million plan was devised to revitalize the city's downtown and riverfront by the year 2000.
In 1986 the River City Company was formed to promote, encourage, and assist local economic development along 22 miles of river frontage and in the central business district. It was succeeded by a new agency formed in 1993 when River City Company merged with Partners for Economic Progress, forming a public-private economic development agency called RiverValley Partners. Also in 1986, the Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise Housing Program was founded to make housing affordable for local residents and to eliminate substandard housing.
In the 1990s, Chattanooga Venture, a community think tank, was begun to introduce new programs for local residents. In 1991 the Target '96 Plan, an environmental initiative—the first of its kind in the country—was established to deal with education, business development, and community action in a comprehensive, coordinated manner. At the end of the century, Chattanooga's focus on sustainable development centers and creating an environment that would attract and retain companies that provide good jobs in businesses that would continue to grow in the twenty-first century. Today, Chattanooga is realizing those goals with a new focus enhancing its allure for conventioneers, tourists, and Chattanoogans alike through the completion of several major renovation projects throughout the city.
Historical Information: Chattanooga-Hamilton County Bicentennial Library, Local History and Genealogical Collections, 1001 Broad Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402; telephone (423)757-5317
Chattanooga: Education and Research
Chattanooga: Education and Research
Elementary and Secondary Schools
The Hamilton County Department of Education (HCDE) is the largest employer in Chattanooga. HCDE was formed in 1997 upon the merger of Chattanooga Public Schools and Hamilton County Schools. The resulting Hamilton County School system has built upon the strengths of Chattanooga's Paideia active learning curriculum, the county's site-based management approach, and other recognized programs. Hamilton County's 15 magnet schools, focusing on such areas of study as math, science, and technology, fine arts, liberal arts, and classical studies, add to the diversity of the school system.
The following is a summary of data regarding Hamilton County public schools as of 2002-2003.
Total enrollment: 44,217
Number of facilities elementary schools: 47
junior high/middle schools: 15
senior high schools: 14
other: 15 magnet schools
Student/teacher ratio: 15.2:1
Teacher salaries average: $34,494
Funding per pupil: $7,229 Chattanooga has a strong tradition of private and parochial elementary and secondary education, including the nationally recognized Girls' Preparatory School, the McCallie School for Boys, and the coeducational Baylor School. More than 15,000 students attend 33 private and parochial schools.
Public Schools Information: Hamilton County Schools, 6703 Bonny Oaks Drive, Chattanooga, TN 37421; telephone (423)209-8400
Colleges and Universities
There are 17 junior colleges, colleges, and universities located in the Chattanooga region. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC), a primary campus of the University of Tennessee system, is comprised of a College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business Administration, College of Engineering and Computer Science, and College of Health, Education, and Professional Studies, schools of Nursing and Engineering, and a graduate school offering master's degrees in 22 subjects.
Chattanooga State Technical Community College, with more than 8,000 students, is a two-year college offering the following areas of study: arts and sciences; engineering, business, and information technologies; industrial technology; and nursing and allied health.
Three private colleges operate in the Chattanooga area: Tennessee Temple University, with more than 500 students; Southern Adventist University, in nearby Collegedale, TN, with nearly 2,300 students; and Covenant College, in Lookout Mountain, GA, with more than 1,200 students. Vocational education and training programs are also offered through continuing vocational education of the public school systems.
Libraries and Research Centers
The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Bicentennial Library consists of a main downtown library and four branches. The library has holdings of nearly 500,000 volumes, 1,382 periodical subscriptions, and 19,416 audio and video materials. Special collections include interviews on Chattanooga and Hamilton County history, Genealogy, and Tennesseana. The library also offers special events, concerts, and programs, including preschool story hours and film festivals.
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UT) makes the following research and testing resources available to business and industry: The Center for Excellence in Computer Applications, which provides resources associated with high technology; and The Center for Economic Education and its associated Probasco Chair of Free Enterprise, which designs and implements research projects and education programs about basic economic principles. At UT's SimCenter, established in fall of 2002, research professionals, UT faculty, and students serve government and industry through research in computational engineering. The Bass Research Foundation studies ways to increase the quantity of America's bass fishery resources. The Tennessee Valley Authority has several research centers in Chattanooga.
Chattanooga: Health Care
Chattanooga: Health Care
Among the health services available to Chattanooga residents are public and private mental health facilities, drug and alcohol abuse recovery facilities, rehabilitation centers, a sports medicine center, speech and hearing services, facilities for the handicapped, free standing emergency medical centers, and community hospitals. Erlanger Medical Center, the region's largest and oldest public hospital with 818 acute-care beds and 50 long-term beds, offers Miller Eye Center, T. C. Thompson Children's Hospital, Erlanger North Hospital, Regional Trauma Center, Regional Heart and Vascular Center, Regional Cancer Center, Regional Women's Center, Regional Burn Center, Kidney Transplant Center, the Southside/Dodson Avenue Community Health Centers, and Tennessee Craniofacial Center, and is the only medical center in the region offering LifeForce Air Ambulance. Memorial Hospital, a 365-bed affiliate of the Kentucky-based Sisters of Charity of Nazareth Health System, offers an ambulatory intensive care unit. North Park Hospital, an 83-bed acute-care facility, offers a 24-hour emergency room. The 109-bed Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation offers treatment programs in brain injury, amputation, stroke, spinal cord injury, orthopedics, and major multiple trauma. It is one of only two rehabilitation hospitals in the country specializing in treatment of lymphedema. Parkridge Medical Center, with 517 beds, is known for its strong open-heart and cardiac services program and bypass surgeries. Parkridge East Hospital (formerly East Ridge Hospital), provides specialty services including a women's center, a sleep disorder center, bariatric surgery services, neonatal intensive care, and a spine and orthopedic center. Parkridge Valley hospital specializes in behavioral health. Other Chattanooga health care facilities include HealthSouth Chattanooga Rehabilitation Hospital, which offers comprehensive physical rehabilitation services; Greenleaf Health Systems Psychiatric and Chemical Dependency Center; and Women's East Pavilion (a component of Erlanger Medical Center), the only area hospital exclusively for women.
Chattanooga: Population Profile
Chattanooga: Population Profile
Metropolitan Area Residents
Percent change, 1990–2000: 9.7%
U.S. rank in 1980: 78th (MSA)
U.S. rank in 1990: 82nd(MSA)
U.S. rank in 2000: 89th (MSA)
2003 estimate: 154,887
Percent change, 1990–2000: 2.1%
U.S. rank in 1980: 87th
U.S. rank in 1990: 113th (State rank: 4th)
U.S. rank in 2000: 148th (State rank: 5th)
Density: 1,150.5 people per square mile (2000)
Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)
Black or African American: 56,086
American Indian and Alaska Native: 446
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 164
Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 3,281
Percent of residents born in state: 63.5% (2000)
Age characteristics (2000)
Poplation under 5 years old: 9,449
Poplation 5 to 9 years old: 10,009
Poplation 10 to 14 years old: 9,811
Poplation 15 to 19 years old: 10,236
Poplation 20 to 24 years old: 12,114
Poplation 25 to 34 years old: 22,176
Poplation 35 to 44 years old: 22,610
Poplation 45 to 54 years old: 21,227
Poplation 55 to 59 years old: 7,673
Poplation 60 to 64 years old: 6,554
Poplation 65 to 74 years old: 12,203
Poplation 75 to 84 years old: 8,285
Poplation 85 years and older: 3,207
Median age: 36.8 years
Births (2003; Hamilton County)
Total number: 3,943
Deaths (2003; Hamilton County)
Total number: 3,166 (of which, 46 were infants under the age of 1 year)
Money income (1999)
Per capita income: $19,689 Median household income: $32,006 Total households: 65,513
Number of households with income of . . .
less than $10,000: 10,010
$10,000 to $14,999: 5,124
$15,000 to $24,999: 10,913
$25,000 to $34,999: 8,977
$35,000 to $49,999: 10,569
$50,000 to $74,999: 10,615
$75,000 to $99,999: 4,348
$100,000 to $149,999: 2,881
$150,000 to $199,999: 929
$200,000 or more: 1,147
Percent of families below poverty level: 14.0% (25.5% of which were female householder families with related children under 5 years)
2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 15,867
Chattanooga: Geography and Climate
Chattanooga: Population Profile
Chattanooga: Municipal Government
Chattanooga: Education and Research
Chattanooga: Health Care
Chattanooga: Convention Facilities
The City in Brief
Founded: 1838 (chartered 1839)
Head Official: Mayor Bob Corker (R) (since 2001)
2003 estimate: 154,887
Percent change, 1990–2000: 2.1%
U.S. rank in 1980: 87th
U.S. rank in 1990: 113th (State rank: 4th)
U.S. rank in 2000: 148th (State rank: 4th)
Metropolitan Area Population
Percent change, 1990–2000: 9.7%
U.S. rank in 1980: 78th (MSA)
U.S. rank in 1990: 82nd (MSA)
U.S. rank in 2000: 89th (MSA)
Area: 135.2 square miles (2000)
Elevation: Ranges from 675 feet above sea level in city to 2,391 feet at Lookout Mountain
Average Annual Temperature: 60.5° F
Average Annual Precipitation: 54.5 inches
Major Economic Sectors: wholesale and retail trade, services, manufacturing
Unemployment rate: 3.6% (December 2004)
Per Capita Income: $19,689 (1999)
2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 15,867
Major Colleges and Universities: University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Daily Newspaper: The Chattanooga Times Free Press
Approaching the City
Three interstate highways, I-75, I-24, and I-59 converge near the city. I-75 runs southwest toward the city from Knoxville, and north-northwest from Atlanta; I-59 runs north, then east from Birmingham; and I-24 runs south, then east from Nashville. The city is a convenient stop en route to cities such as New Orleans, Orlando, and many other deep south destinations. Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport/Lovell Field, just 15 minutes from downtown, offers 52 flights daily, including direct flights to New York City, Washington D.C., Chicago, Memphis, Cincinnati, and Charlotte. Greyhound/Trailways Bus Lines provides interstate service.
Traveling in the City
The three Interstate Highways, I-75, I-24 and I-59, are particularly busy during the rush hour to and from work. Major thoroughfares include Hixson Pike, which runs north-south, and Brainerd Road, which runs east-west then turns north into Lee Highway. Ringgold Road is another important east-west route. Riverside Drive curves around many major downtown sites. The Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) provides regularly scheduled public bus transportation for the area. CARTA also offers free downtown electric shuttle service for visitors, residents, and downtown workers.
Chattanooga (chăt´ənōō´gə), city (1990 pop. 152,466), seat of Hamilton co., E Tenn., on both sides of the Tennessee River near the Georgia line; inc. 1839. It is an important industrial and marketing center. Foremost among its many manufactures are automobiles, metal and wood products, chemicals, machinery, and primary metals. It is also a resort destination, almost entirely surrounded by mountains, with many historical and tourist attractions on or near Lookout Mt., Missionary Ridge, and Signal Mt. To the west of the city, the Tennessee River cuts through the Cumberland Plateau in a magnificent gorge, c.1,000 ft (300 m) deep. South of the city lies Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park (est. 1890; see National Parks and Monuments, table), part of which is in Georgia. Also of interest are Rock City Gardens, the Tennessee Aquarium, a wildlife sanctuary, historic cemeteries, and many old buildings. Cultural institutions include an opera, symphony orchestra, community theater, and art gallery. The city is the seat of the Univ. of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
A trading post was established in 1810; by 1835, regular steamship service began there. A center first of salt- and then cotton-shipping, the city expanded with the arrival of the railroads in the 1840s and 50s. It was of strategic importance in the Civil War (see Chattanooga campaign). Northern industrialists developed the iron industry during the 1870s. Electric power, augmented by the Tennessee Valley Authority project after 1933, has played an important role in the city's development; Chickamauga Dam is nearby.
Newspapers and Magazines
The Chattanooga Times Free Press is the city's daily morning paper. The Chattanoogan.com is a daily internet-only news source available at www.chattanoogan.com. There are several general and special weekly newspapers, among them the Chattanooga Courier, which serves the area's African American community, and The Pulse, which provides alternative news. Magazines covering Chattanooga include Commerce and Tennessee Business Journal, both published monthly; and Chattanooga CityScope and Chattanooga Magazine, published quarterly.
Television and Radio
Seven television stations and 15 radio stations serve the Chattanooga area.
Media Information: The Chattanooga Times/Chattanooga Free Press, 400 E. 11th St., PO Box 1447, Chattanooga, TN 37403; telephone (423)756-6900
Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce. Available www.chattanooga-chamber.com
Chattanooga Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. Available www.chattanoogafun.com
Chatanooga-Hamilton County Bicentennial Library. Available www.lib.chattanooga.gov
Chattanooga Regional History Museum. Available www.chattanoogahistory.com
City of Chattanooga Home Page. Available www.chattanooga.gov
Free Press and Times. Available www.timesfreepress.com
Hamilton County School System. Available www.hcde.org
Virtual Chattanooga. Available www.chattanooga.net
Burton, Linda L., Chattanooga Great Places (Chattanooga, TN: Phase II Publications, 1995).
Rodgers, June Scobee, Jack Makuch, and Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, Chattanooga: River City Renaissance (Memphis, Tenn.: Towery Publishers, 1998)
Wann, Libby, Chattanooga: Delivering the Dream (Nashville, TN: Towery Publishing Co., 1991).