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The Chattanooga metropolitan area is the fourth largest in Tennessee. The city anchors a three-state area that includes Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia, and Northeast Alabama. Major industry driving the economy includes automotive, advanced manufacturing, food and beverage production, healthcare, insurance, tourism, and back office and corporate headquarters.
The city, with a downtown elevation of about 680 feet (210 m), is at the transition between the ridge-and-valley portion of the Appalachian Mountains and the Cumberland Plateau. Its official nickname is "Scenic City", alluding to the surrounding by mountains and ridges. Unofficial nicknames include "River City", "Chatt", "Nooga", "Chattown", and "Gig City", the latter a reference to 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.
The first inhabitants of the Chattanooga area were Native Americans. Sites dating back to the Upper Paleolithic period (ca. 10,000 bce) show continuous human occupation through the Archaic, Woodland, Mississippian/Muskogean/Yuchi (900–1714 ce), and Cherokee (1776–1838) periods. The Chickamauga Mound near the mouth of the Chickamauga Creek is the oldest (ca. 750 ce) 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 /ch?t?/ – 'rock'. The latter may be derived from a regional suffix -nuga meaning dwelling or dwelling place. It is also believed to be derived from the Creek Indian word for ‘rock rising to a point.’
The earliest Cherokee occupation of the area dates from 1776, when Dragging Canoe separated himself from the main tribe to establish resistance to European settlement during the Cherokee–American wars. 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.
In 1838, the U.S. government forced the Cherokees, along with other Native Americans, 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 U.S. Army used Ross's Landing as the site of one of three large internment camps, or "emigration depots", where Native Americans were held before the journey on the Trail of Tears.
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 and the cotton-growing states to the south.
Battles of Chattanooga, November 24–25, 1863
During the American Civil War, Chattanooga was a center of battle. Chattanooga served as a hub connecting fifty percent the Confederacy's arsenals, those being located in Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, and Macon. Chattanooga railroads proved vital in the Confederacy's transportation of raw material to processing plants where they were responsible for producing small arms munitions. 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 Major General 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. In regard to victories won by the Union, Chattanooga marks one of three defining moments that turned the Civil War in their favor. The Battle of Gettysburg brought the streak of victories obtained by the Confederacy to an end, while the Siege of Vicksburg split the Confederacy itself in half, while Chattanooga served doorway to the deep south. 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 in United States v. Shipp, 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.
Chattanooga grew with the entry of the United States in the First World War in 1917; the nearest training camp was in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. The Influenza of 1918 closed local movie theaters and pool halls. By the 1930s, Chattanooga was known as the "Dynamo of Dixie", inspiring the 1941 Glenn Miller big-band swing song "Chattanooga Choo Choo". Through Mayor P.R. Olgiati's efforts, Chattanooga became the first city in Tennessee to have a completed interstate highway system in the early 1960s. In February 1958, Chattanooga became one of the smallest cities in the country with three VHF television stations: WROM-TV (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 trap industrial pollutants, which settle over the city. In 1969, the federal government declared that Chattanooga had the dirtiest air in the nation. Like other early industrial cities, Chattanooga entered the 1970s with serious socioeconomic challenges, including job layoffs because of de-industrialization, deteriorating city infrastructure, racial tensions, and social division. Chattanooga's population increased by nearly 50,000 in the 1970s. However, this was mostly because the city annexed nearby residential areas. By the mid-1980s, local leaders launched Vision 2000, an effort to revitalize and reinvent Chattanooga's culture and economy. Chattanooga's population declined by more than 10% in the 1980s, but regained it over the next two decades, the only major U.S. city to do so.
Downtown Chattanooga, viewed from Lookout Mountain
Since the beginning of the 21st century, the city of Chattanooga has grown, attracting people from out of state and even out of the country.
Chattanooga launched the first one-gigabit-per-second Internet service in the United States in September 2010, provided through the city-owned utility EPB.
In August 2012, Chattanooga developed 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, six people—four U.S. Marines, one sailor, and the gunman—were killed and two more were wounded in shootings at two U.S. military facilities in Chattanooga.
On November 21, 2016, a school bus carrying students from Woodmore Elementary School crashed in the Brainerd neighborhood, killing 6 and injuring 23. In March 2018, the driver, an employee of Durham School Services was convicted of six counts of criminally negligent homicide, 11 counts of reckless aggravated assault, seven counts of assault, reckless endangerment, reckless driving and illegally using his phone while driving. The crash reignited the debate about whether seat belts should be required in school buses.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 144.6 square miles (374.4 km2), of which 137.1 square miles (355.2 km2) are land and 7.4 square miles (19.2 km2), or 5.12%, are water. The most prominent natural features in and around Chattanooga are the Tennessee River and the surrounding mountains. The city is nestled between the southwestern Ridge-and-valley Appalachians and the foot of Walden's Ridge; the river separates the ridge from the western side of downtown. Several miles east, the city is bisected by Missionary Ridge.
The Tennessee River is impounded by the Chickamauga Dam north of the downtown area. Five automobile bridges, one railroad trestle, and one pedestrian bridge cross the river.
Highways include Interstate 75 to Atlanta and Knoxville, Interstate 24 to Nashville, and Interstate 59 to Birmingham. Chattanooga and portions of southeast Tennessee and northern Georgia are served by the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport. CSX transports rail freight to Atlanta and Nashville, and Norfolk Southern conveys rail cargo to Atlanta, Birmingham, Cincinnati, Knoxville, and Memphis.
Chattanooga from Nikki's Drive Inn Restaurant
Downtown Chattanooga, looking east
Downtown Chattanooga has a wide variety of entertainment, dining, cultural and architectural attractions, including the Tennessee Aquarium, opened in 1992; the Creative Discovery Museum, opened in 1995; the historic Walnut Street Bridge, reopened in 1993. The downtown footprint is bounded by interstate highway I-24 on the south to Frazier Avenue in the Northshore, as well as US highway 27 in the west to Central Avenue in the east.
The modern downtown skyline is dominated by the Aquarium, the Republic Centre (tallest building in Chattanooga[circular reference]), John C. Portman Jr.'s the Westin (Gold Building), the James Building (Chattanooga's first skyscraper), and The Block, a climbing gym with 5,000 square feet of functional climbing space. Chattanooga has buildings with historical significance, such as The Read House Hotel (the longest continuously operating hotel in the Southeastern United States), the Chattanooga Choo-Choo Hotel (a converted railroad terminal), the Maclellan Building, the Dome Building (once the home to the Chattanooga Times), and the Tivoli Theatre. The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee headquarters, atop Cameron Hill, is the second-largest LEED Gold-certified corporate campus in the nation.
Downtown Chattanooga has four main bridges over the Tennessee River: the Walnut Street Bridge, the Market Street Bridge, the Olgiati Bridge, and the Veterans Memorial Bridge. These bridges allow pedestrians to connect the Riverfront and Northshore to the Tennessee Riverwalk and Bluff View Art District. Downtown Chattanooga parks include Coolidge Park, Renaissance Park, Miller Park, Miller Plaza and Main Terrain Art Park. The Martin Luther King District runs parallel to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's campus and features the largest mural in Chattanooga. The 40,000-square-foot mural was created by Philadelphia-based muralist Meg Saligman and seven other local artists.
In late 20th and early 21st centuries, substantial private and governmental resources have been invested in transforming the city's tarnished image. In 1993, restoration of the Walnut Street Bridge was completed. 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. Efforts to improve the city include the "21st Century Waterfront Plan" – a $120 million redevelopment of the Chattanooga waterfront 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. Since the opening of the aquarium, downtown Chattanooga has received over $5 billion of private investment, including nearly $1 billion from 2014 to 2018.
The city has won three national awards for outstanding "livability", and nine Gunther Blue Ribbon Awards for excellence in housing and consolidated planning. Public art experts chose Passageways 2.0 City Thread from among 50 outstanding public art projects created in 2018 through the Public Art Network Year in Review program, a national program that recognizes compelling public art. 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. Chattanooga-based businesses have been recognized for their investment in solar energy. 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 has many buildings on the National Register of Historic Places as well as three neighborhoods: Ferger Place, Fort Wood, and St. Elmo. Additionally, Chattanooga has several local historic districts: Battery Place, Glenwood, Missionary Ridge, M.L. King, and Stringer's Ridge. Four of these are formally managed as local historic districts by the city.
East Brainerd, Tennessee
East Ridge, Tennessee
Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia
Lookout Mountain, Georgia
Lookout Mountain, Tennessee
Red Bank, Tennessee
Sale Creek, Tennessee
Signal Mountain, Tennessee
Chattanooga, like much of Tennessee, has a four-season humid subtropical climate (K?ppen Cfa). Winter days are usually mild, but most years have at least one day (average 3.2) where the high remains at or below freezing. Snowfall is highly variable from year to year. 11 inches (28 cm) were recorded between January 9–10, 2011. Summers are hot and humid, with a July daily mean of 80.0 °F (26.7 °C) and 52 days annually with 90 °F (32 °C) or greater temperatures.
Average annual precipitation is over 52 inches (1,300 mm). On average, November through March represents an extended relatively wet period, because of Chattanooga's frequent placement (in the winter season) in a zone of conflict between warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico and cold, dry air from Canada, amplified by jet-stream energy and abundant Gulf moisture. July presents a secondary maximum in precipitation, due to frequent thunderstorm activity. Despite the mountains that surround the city, Chattanooga has been affected by tornadoes. These tornadoes include the 2011 Super Outbreak, which impacted the city and nearby locations, including Apison and Cherokee Valley in Catoosa County, Georgia, where fifteen people died, eight in Apison and seven in Cherokee Valley. An EF3 tornado struck southeastern portions of Chattanooga on the night of April 12, 2020, and caused significant damage and three fatalities.
Climate data for Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport, Tennessee (1981–2010 normals, extremes 1879–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 78
Mean maximum °F (°C) 67.9
Average high °F (°C) 50.2
Average low °F (°C) 30.7
Mean minimum °F (°C) 13.1
Record low °F (°C) ?10
Average precipitation inches (mm) 4.91
Average snowfall inches (cm) 1.7
(0) trace 0.3
Average precipitation days (? 0.01 in) 10.7 10.2 10.7 9.5 10.6 10.4 11.7 9.4 8.0 7.7 9.6 11.1 119.6
Average snowy days (? 0.1 in) 1.0 0.9 0.3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.1 0.4 2.7
Average relative humidity (%) 71.2 68.2 65.9 63.8 71.5 73.1 74.9 76.0 77.0 74.6 73.5 72.9 71.9
Mean monthly sunshine hours 147.0 155.6 200.5 240.2 275.6 275.5 265.2 256.8 227.9 218.8 158.7 140.4 2,562.2
Percent possible sunshine 47 51 54 61 64 63 60 62 61 63 51 46 58
Source: NOAA (relative humidity and sun 1961–1990)
Chattanooga uses the Eastern Time Zone. Counties directly to its west (in both Tennessee and Alabama) use the Central Time Zone.
Census Pop. %±
1870 6,093 —
1880 12,892 111.6%
1890 29,100 125.7%
1900 30,154 3.6%
1910 44,604 47.9%
1920 57,895 29.8%
1930 119,798 106.9%
1940 128,613 7.4%
1950 131,041 1.9%
1960 130,009 ?0.8%
1970 119,923 ?7.8%
1980 169,514 41.4%
1990 152,466 ?10.1%
2000 155,554 2.0%
2010 167,674 7.8%
Est. 2019 182,799 9.0%
Racial composition 1970 2000 2018 est.
White 64.0% 65.0% 60.0% 58.0% 61.7%
Black 35.8% 33.7% 35.8% 34.9% 32.6%
Asian 0.1% 1.0% 1.6% 2.0% 2.4%
Native 0.1% 0.2% 0.3% 0.4% 0.1%
Native Hawaiian and
other Pacific Islander - - 0.1% 0.1% 0.0%
Other race 0.1% 0.2% 1.0% 2.8% 0.8%
Two or more races - – 1.3% 1.9% 2.4%
As of the census of 2010, there were 167,674 people, 70,749 households, and 40,384 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,222.5 people per square mile (472.5/km2). There were 79,607 housing units at an average density of 588.8 per square mile (226.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 58.0% White, 34.9% Black, 2.0% Asian, 0.4% American Indian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 2.8% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin (regardless of race) constituted 5.5% of the total population. Non-Hispanic Whites were 55.9% of the population in 2010, down from 67.3% in 1980. There were 70,749 households, out of which 26.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36% were married couples living together, 17.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42% were non-families. 33.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 26% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.94.
In the city, the population was spread out, with 21.3% under the age of 18, 11.5% from 18 to 24, 27% from 25 to 44, 25.5% from 45 to 64, and 14.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38.1 years. 46.1% of the population was male and 53.9% of the population was female.
The median income for a household in the city was $35,817, and the median income for a family was $43,314. Males had a median income of $36,109 versus $31,077 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,756. About 14% of families and 16.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27% of those under age 18 and 13.8% of those age 65 or over.
Chattanooga's Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Hamilton, Marion, and Sequatchie counties in Tennessee and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in Georgia, grew from 476,531 people, as of the 2000 census, to 529,222 people, as of the 2010 census, an 11% increase during the 2000s.
The single largest religious group in Chattanooga is Christianity. According to 2010 statistics, the Southern Baptist Convention was the largest denomination with 225 congregations and 122,300 members; followed by the United Methodist Church with 31,500 members and 83 churches. The third-largest group of Christians identified as non-denominational congregations; and the fourth-largest organized denomination was the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) with 82 churches and 17,900 members. The 5th largest Christian religious group, according to 2010 statistics, was the Roman Catholic Diocese of Knoxville which had 12 congregations and 14,300 members. As of 2016, the second-largest religion in Chattanooga is Islam, with 2,200 adherents.
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 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 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 2019, Volkswagen Chattanooga announced plans to expand their Chattanooga-based plant. The expansion creates one thousand new jobs and $800 million in investments.
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. 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), and Reliance Partners. 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, 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.
EPB Fiber Optics is the dominant cable and internet service 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 ten gigabit (10,000 megabits) per second. The network has been emulated by at least six other cities in Tennessee and studied by other cities in the U.S. and internationally. Jay Weatherill, South Australia's Premier, visited Chattanooga in January 2012 and studied the 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, as well as 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 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, 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.
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As of 2014, there are 27 banks operating in the Chattanooga metropolitan area, lending to financial strength. Among the larger banks are regional banks First Horizon Bank, Truist Financial, 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.
In early 2015, three locally owned banks and one in nearby Cleveland, Tennessee, were acquired by other banks. 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 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.
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 the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium. It was built between 1922 and 1924 by John Parks, General Contractors, and was designed by the architect R.H. Hunt, who also designed the Tivoli Theatre in Chattanooga.
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, 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. 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-long (21 km) 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. The Chattanooga Zoo at Warner Park is located at 301 North Holtzclaw Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37404. Hours of operation are 9:00 AM–5:00 PM everyday. In 1937, the first small exhibit was "established with the construction of a 4x6' cage for two Rhesus Monkeys." The Zoo has since grown, as in 2017, "the Zoo kicked off the year with the announcement of the Kits and Cubs Program, which is a unique early childhood learning program designed specifically for the youngest of animal lovers." And in May 2017, "the Zoo broke ground to expand the Corcovado Jungle exhibit adding six new outdoor and six new indoor exhibits to house small South American monkeys and mammals in June." 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.
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 Tennessee Aquarium's River Journey building
The Tennessee Aquarium's Ocean Journey building
Trail of Tears water steps off of Market Street, downtown Chattanooga
Walnut Street Bridge
Looking South towards Lookout Mountain
Festivals and events
Chattanooga hosts the well-known Riverbend Festival, an annual four-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 one of the country's "5 Best" 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.
Since 2014, Chattanooga has been home to the Chattanooga Film Festival, an annual film festival.
Moon River Festival is held every September in Coolidge Park.
Chattanooga has a large, growing, and diversified sports scene for a city of its size, including college sports, minor league baseball, semi-professional teams, professional cycling exemplified by the Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Road & Time Trial National Championships, the Ironman Triathlon, and a large nationally renowned regatta the first weekend of November.
Chattanooga was the home of the NCAA Division I Football Championship game, which was held at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga, from 1997 to 2009.
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) Mocs compete in NCAA Division I and the Southern Conference. UTC's athletic programs include football at the FCS level, women's soccer, volleyball, and cross country in the fall; men's and women's basketball, Wrestling, and indoor track & field in the winter; and softball and outdoor track & field in the spring. Men's and women's golf and men's and women's tennis play in the fall and spring.
Semi-Pro and Minor League Baseball
The Chattanooga Lookouts, a Class AA Southern League baseball team affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds, boast a loyal following and respectable participation in season-end playoffs. Games take center stage at the downtown riverfront AT&T Field with tickets starting at $5.
Chattanooga is home to several semi-professional football teams, including the Tennessee Crush and the Chattanooga Steam. The Tennessee Crush plays its games at Finley Stadium in downtown Chattanooga. The Chattanooga Steam plays at Lookout Valley High School near Lookout Mountain.
The city currently has two professional soccer teams. From 2009 to 2019, Chattanooga FC played in the National Premier Soccer League, but is moving to a professional league (NISA) in 2020. Founded in 2009, Chattanooga FC has gone to the national finals four times since its inception, and drew a record 18,227 fans for their 2015 NPSL title match. The club has also found success in the U.S. Open Cup defeating the professional USL's Wilmington Hammerheads to reach the tournament's third round in 2014 and 2015. In 2019, Chattanooga FC became one of the founding members of NPSL's Founders Cup, a group of eleven teams playing a professional tournament in the fall before forming a fully professional league in 2020. To support this, Chattanooga FC became only the second sports team in the U.S., after the Green Bay Packers, to sell supporter shares in the team. These moves were partially in response to a USL League One franchise, the Chattanooga Red Wolves SC starting play in the 2019 inaugural season of that new third-tier professional league under the direction of Chattanooga FC's former general manager. The Red Wolves are currently playing in USL League One and intend to build a multi-million dollar soccer specific stadium in the East Ridge area of Chattanooga. Prior to the proposed stadium being built, the Red Wolves found themselves in the midst of a legal battle with Arkansas State, with ASU sending them a cease and desist letter in November 2019.
Chattanooga is also home to several rugby teams: the Chattanooga Rugby Football Club, Nooga Red, Nooga Black, men's Old Boys, a women's rugby team, men's and women's teams at UTC, and an all-city high school team. The Chattanooga Rugby Football Club, which was established in 1978 and the 2011 and 2013 DII Mid South champions, is affiliated with USA Rugby and USA Rugby South. The club fields two teams, Nooga Red, which competes in Division II, and Nooga Black, which competes in Division III. There is also a men's Old Boys team, a Chattanooga women's rugby team, as well as collegiate men's and women's teams representing the Mocs at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. A citywide high school rugby team, the Wolfpack, was established in 2012 and is open to any high school player living in the Chattanooga area. All seven teams play their home matches at Montague Park.
Overlooking the grandstand and finish area at the 2008 Head of the Hooch
The Head of the Hooch rowing regatta takes place along the Tennessee River in downtown Chattanooga during the first weekend of November. The head race originally took place on the Chattahoochee River in Atlanta before moving to Chattanooga in 2005, hence the name Head of the Hooch. With 1,965 boats in 2011 and nearly 2,000 boats in 2012, this competition ranks as the 2nd largest regatta in the United States, with numerous college and youth teams, such as UNC Men's Crew, Vanderbilt Rowing Club, James Madison University Crew, University of Tennessee Women's Rowing, Orlando Rowing Club, Nashville Rowing Club, Newport Rowing Club, and Chattanooga Rowing, competing. There are also multiple local rowing clubs, such as the Lookout Rowing Club for adults and the Chattanooga Junior Rowing Club for high school students. The weekend of the Head of the Hooch also sees hot-air balloon rides and other activities.
In 2013, the Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Road & Time Trial National Championships were held in Chattanooga. The schedule for the 3-day event on May 25–27 featured a handcycling time trail and various other cycling time trials and road races, including a men's road race that took the cyclists through the heart of downtown Chattanooga and up Lookout Mountain for a total race distance of 102.5 miles (165.0 km). American professional cyclist Freddie Rodriguez won the national road race championship title for the fourth time in his career. The Championships' debut in Chattanooga marked the first time in the event's 29-year history that women were allowed to compete for professional national titles. Chattanooga will also host the Championships in 2014 and 2015.
The city is home to the Chattanooga Bicycle Club. It was established in 1967 to "encourage and promote bicycle riding and safety, and to foster good relationships between cyclists and motorists by demonstrating courtesy and respect the law." The Chattanooga Bicycle Club advocates for transportation, fitness, and recreation, as well as health and wellness.
This club is in relative with the League of American Bicyclists (LAB), Adventure Cycling, Bike Chattanooga, and Outdoor Chattanooga.
Due to its location at the junction of the Cumberland Plateau and the southern Appalachians, Chattanooga has become a haven for outdoor sports, and has even been named Outside Magazine's "Best Town Ever" twice such as hunting, fishing, trail running, road running, adventure racing, rock climbing, mountain biking, and road biking. The internationally known StumpJump 50k has been hosted on nearby Signal Mountain since 2002.
The Erlanger Half Marathon and Marathon have become a large part of the spring activities in Chattanooga in recent years. These events are orchestrated by the Chattanooga Sports Committee, and the half marathon course and marathon course are designed by the same group of runners. The course is subject to change throughout the years. The most recent marathon and half marathon were held on March 3, 2019.
In August 2013, further cementing Chattanooga's growing status as a nationally recognized outdoor haven, the Chattanooga Sports Committee, an organization established in 1992 to help the city host major sporting events, announced that the Ironman Triathlon would be coming to the city in a 5-year deal. The city became one of only 11 cities in the United States to host the grueling competition showcasing Chattanooga's natural beauty, which consists of a 2.4-mile (3.9 km) swim, a 112-mile (180 km) bike race (which is broken down into two 56-mile (90 km) loops), and a 26.2-mile (42.2 km) run (which is broken down into two 13.1-mile (21.1 km) loops). The event has a $40,000 prize purse and chances to qualify for the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii. On November 4, 2014 it was announced that Chattanooga would host The Ironman 70.3 event, also known as the Half Ironman, in addition to the standard Ironman Triathlon. This event consists of a 1.2-mile (1.9 km) swim, 56-mile (90 km) bike ride, and 13.1-mile (21.1 km) run, and has a prize pot of $30,000. On September 29, 2015, The Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau announced that Ironman had chosen Chattanooga, Tennessee to host the 2017 Ironman 70.3 World Championships.
Chattanooga has been a member of the League of American Bicyclists' Bronze level since October 2003, the only city in Tennessee to be a member of the organization before Knoxville and Nashville joined in 2010 and 2012, respectively. The city has a number of outdoor clubs: Scenic City Velo, SORBA-Chattanooga, the Wilderness Trail Running Association, and the Chattanooga Track Club. The city also funds Outdoor Chattanooga, an organization focused on promoting outdoor recreation. In September 2004, the city appointed its first-ever executive director of Outdoor Chattanooga to implement the organization's mission, which includes promoting bicycling for transportation, recreation, and active living. For paddlers, Chattanooga offers the Tennessee River Blueway, a 50-mile (80 km) recreational section of the Tennessee River that flows through Chattanooga and the Tennessee River Gorge. The Tennessee Aquarium has a high speed catamaran, the River Gorge Explorer, to allow up to 70 people to explore the Tennessee River Gorge. The Explorer departs from the Chattanooga Pier. Since 2008, Chattanooga has hosted the Skyhoundz World Canine Disc Championship, the crowning event of the largest disc dog competition series in the world.
Media and communications
See also: List of newspapers in Tennessee, List of radio stations in Tennessee, and List of television stations in Tennessee
The city of Chattanooga is served by numerous local, regional, and national media outlets which reach approximately one million people in four states: Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, and North Carolina.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press headquarters
The Chattanooga Times Free Press, the area's only daily newspaper, is published every morning. It was formed in 1999 from the merger of two papers that had been bitter rivals for half a century, the Times and the News-Free Press. The Times was owned and published by Adolph Ochs, who later bought The New York Times. The Times was the morning paper and had a generally more liberal editorial page. The News-Free Press, whose name was the result of an earlier merger, was an afternoon daily and its editorials were more conservative than those in the Times. On August 27, 1966, the News-Free Press became the first newspaper in the nation to dissolve a joint operating agreement. In 1999, the Free Press, which had changed its name from News-Free Press in 1993, was bought by an Arkansas company, WEHCO Media, publisher of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, which then bought The Times from the Ochs heirs. The Times Free Press is the only newspaper in the United States to have 2 editorial pages, each reflecting opposite ends of the political spectrum. The Times' editorial page, which is liberal, is on the left page and the Free Press' editorial page, which is conservative, is on the right page.
The Chattanooga Pulse is a free weekly alternative newspaper, published every Wednesday, that focuses primarily on arts, music, film and culture. It was formed in 2003 by Zachary Cooper and Michael Kull, running independently until 2008, when the paper was purchased by Brewer Media Group, which also owns and operates five radio stations in the city.
Enigma is a free monthly pop culture and entertainment magazine. Founded as a weekly newspaper in 1995 by David Weinthal, Enigma lays claim to being Chattanooga's oldest alternative newspaper, even though it had ceased physical publication from 2013 until resuming as a monthly magazine in 2015.
The Chattanooga News Chronicle is an African-American weekly newspaper.
The Chattanoogan and its website "Chattanoogan.com", established in 1999, is an online media outlet that concentrates on news from Chattanooga, North Georgia, and Southeast Tennessee. The publisher is John Wilson, previously a staff writer for the Chattanooga Free Press. The Chattanoogan is the oldest online newspaper in Chattanooga.
Nooga.com, purchased in November 2010 by local entrepreneur Barry Large, relaunched in 2011 as a local news website offering "quality daily content focusing on local business, politics, and entertainment in the Chattanooga area." In August 2018, Nooga.com partnered with Greenville, S.C.-based media company 6AM City. The outlet was rebranded and relaunched as NOOGAtoday in September 2018. While NOOGAtoday's primary product is its daily email newsletter, it also publishes content on its social media accounts and website.
Chattanooga is served by the following AM and FM radio stations:
WDYN 980 AM – Southern Gospel / WDYN Radio Operated By Tennessee Temple University. (Licensed to Rossville, GA)
WFLI 1070 AM – Top 40 from the '60s & '70s (Licensed to Chattanoogs-Lookout Mountain, TN)
WGOW 1150 AM – News Talk / NewsRadio 1150 (Licensed to Chattanooga, TN)
WNOO 1260 AM – Urban gospel and Motown (Licensed to Chattanooga, TN)
WXCT 1370 AM – Sports / 1370 Fox Sports Radio (Licensed to Chattanooga, TN)
WLMR 1450 AM – Christian Talk (Licensed to Chattanooga, TN)
WJOC 1490 AM – Southern Gospel (Licensed to Chattanooga, TN)
WUTC 88.1 FM – NPR/Mixed music / Music 88. Operated by UTC. First station in Chattanooga to broadcast in HD Radio. (Licensed to Chattanooga, TN)
W203AZ 88.5 FM – Religious / CSN International (Licensed to Chattanooga, TN)
WMBW 88.9 FM – Christian / Moody Radio For The Heart of the Southeast. Owned and operated by Moody Bible Institute. (Licensed to Chattanooga, TN)
WYBK 89.7 FM – Christian. Operated By Bible Broadcasting Network. (Licensed to Chattanooga, TN)
W211BG 90.1 FM – Religious (Licensed to Walden, TN)
WSMC 90.5 FM – Classical/NPR/PRI Operated by Southern Adventist University. (Licensed to Collegedale, TN)
WJBP-FM 91.5 FM – Christian / Family Life Radio (Licensed to Red Bank, TN)
WAWL – College Alternative / The Wawl (Web only / Formerly broadcasting on 91.5) Chattanooga State Community College (Licensed to Chattanooga, TN)
WDEF-FM 92.3 FM – Adult Contemporary / Sunny 92.3 (Licensed to Chattanooga, TN)
WSAA 93.1 FM – Christian Rock / Air 1 (Licensed to Benton, TN)
WMPZ 93.5 FM – Urban Adult Contemporary / Groove 93 (Licensed to Harrison, TN)
WJTT 94.3 FM – Urban contemporary / Power 94 (Licensed to Red Bank, TN)
WAAK-LP 94.7 FM – Variety (Low power station licensed to Boynton/Ringgold, GA)
WPLZ 95.3 FM – Classic Hits / Big 95.3 (Licensed to Chattanooga, TN)
WUSY 96.1 FM - Classic Country / The Legend 96.1
WDOD 96.5 FM – Hits 96.5—Chattanooga's No. 1 Hit Music Station (Licensed to Chattanooga, TN)
WUUQ 97.3 and 99.3 FM – Classic Country / Q Country 97.3/99.3 (Licensed to South Pittsburg, TN)
WLND 98.1 FM – Hot AC / 98.1 The Lake (Licensed to Signal Mountain, TN)
WOOP-LP 99.9 FM – Classic country, old-time gospel, bluegrass, and mountain music. Operated by the Traditional Music Resource Center (Licensed to Cleveland, TN)
WUSY 100.7 FM – Contemporary Country / US101 (Licensed to Cleveland, TN)
WJSQ 101.7 FM – Contemporary and Classic country / 101.7 WLAR (Licensed to Athens, TN)
WOCE 101.9 FM – Spanish (Licensed to Ringgold, GA)
WGOW 102.3 FM – Talk Radio 102.3 (Licensed to Soddy-Daisy, TN)
WBDX 102.7 FM – Contemporary Christian (Licensed to Trenton, GA)
WJLJ 103.1 FM – Contemporary Christian (Simulcast with WBDX 102.7) (Licensed to Etowah, TN)
WKXJ 103.7 FM – Top 40 / 103.7 Kiss FM (Licensed to Walden, TN)
WALV 105.1 FM – Sports Talk / ESPN 105.1 The Zone (Licensed to Chattanooga, TN)
WRXR-FM 105.5 FM – Active Rock / Rock 105 (Licensed to Rossville, GA)
WSKZ 106.5 FM – Classic Rock / KZ106 (Licensed to Chattanooga, TN)
W295BI (WPLZ HD-2) Adult Contemporary / Big Easy 106.9 (Licensed to Ooltewah, TN)
WOGT 107.9 FM – Country / Nash Icon (Licensed to East Ridge, TN)
Chattanooga's television stations include:
WRCB channel 3, NBC affiliate – (DT 13 / cable 4)
WOOT-LP channel 6, independent (formerly UPN) (silent)
WTVC channel 9, ABC/Fox affiliate – (DT35 / cable 10)
WDEF channel 12, CBS affiliate – (DT47 / cable 13)
WNGH channel 18, GPB affiliate – (DT 33 / cable 12)
WELF channel 23, TBN affiliate – (DT 16 / cable 9)
W26BE channel 26, 3ABN affiliate – (cable 295)
WTCI channel 45, PBS member station (DT29 / cable 5)
WFLI-TV channel 53, The CW Television Network affiliate (Formerly UPN and The WB) (DT 42 / cable 6)
WDSI channel 61, This TV affiliate – (DT 40 / cable 11)
Law and government
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.
Flag of Chattanooga from 2012
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 1987 twelve African American city residents filed a complaint, Brown v. Board of Commissioners of the City of Chattanooga, alleging that the commission-style government violated their civil rights, including the Voting Rights Act of 1965, by diluting the minority black vote. In 1989 U.S. District Judge R. Allan Edgar ruled in their favor, compelling the city to abandon the at-large voting system that it had used for the 'commission' form of government, established single-member geographical districts to proportionally represent both majority and minority elements of the population according to the city's racial demographics, eliminated voting privileges for non-resident property owners, and created the city's current mayor-council form of government. The Chattanooga City Council has nine members, which currently has four African Americans, elected in 2017. The current strong-mayor system started in 1991 after a 1990 citywide election that used the new court-ordered district system.
The city's legislative branch is represented by members from nine districts, elected from single-member districts in partisan elections. The current (elected 2017) council members are Chip Henderson (District 1), Jerry Mitchell (District 2), Ken Smith (District 3), Darrin Ledford (District 4), Russell Gilbert (District 5), Carol Berz (District 6), Erskine Oglesby (District 7), Anthony Byrd (District 8), and Demetrus Coonrod (District 9).
Chattanooga's delegation to the Tennessee House of Representatives includes Robin Smith (R), District 26; Patsy Hazlewood (R), District 27; Yusuf Hakeem (D), District 28; Mike Carter (R), District 29; and Esther Helton (R), District 30. 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 Marsha Blackburn (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 in 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 11,587 as of 2017–18 school year. Chattanooga State Community College is a two-year community college with a total undergraduate enrollment of roughly 8150 students in 2018. Tennessee Temple University was 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. Richmont Graduate University is a Christian graduate school located in Chattanooga with a CACREP accredited clinical mental health counseling program as well as other ministry related degrees and a student population close to 300. 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.
See also: List of hospitals in Tennessee
Chattanooga has three hospital systems: Erlanger Health System, Parkridge Hospital System, and Memorial Hospital System.
Founded in 1889, Erlanger is the seventh largest public healthcare system in the United States with more than half a million patient visits a year. 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. 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.
Considered to be the gateway to the Deep South, along with the Midwest and the Northeast for motorists from states such as Alabama, Florida, and Georgia, Chattanooga's extensive transportation infrastructure has evolved into an intricate system of interstates, streets, tunnels, railroad lines, bridges, and a commercial airport.
US 27 (unsigned I-124)
Major surface routes
See also: List of Tennessee state highways
SR 317 (Bonny Oaks Drive)
US 11 (Lee Highway) / US 64 (Brainerd Road)
US 41 / US 72 (Cummings Highway)
US 27 (Dayton Boulevard)
East Brainerd Road
Hickory Valley Road
US 76 (Main Street)
US 27 (Rossville Boulevard)
US 127 (Signal Mountain Boulevard)
Bachman Tubes, (also unofficially known as The East Ridge Tunnels), which carry Ringgold Road into the neighboring city of East Ridge.
Missionary Ridge Tunnels (also unofficially known as McCallie or Brainerd Tunnels), which carry McCallie and Bailey Avenues through Missionary Ridge where the route continues as Brainerd Road.
Stringer's Ridge Tunnel, which carries Cherokee Boulevard through Stringer's Ridge where the route continues as Dayton Boulevard.
Wilcox Tunnel, which carries Wilcox Boulevard through Missionary Ridge and connects to Shallowford Road.
The city is served by a publicly run bus company, the Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA). CARTA operates 17 routes, including a free electric shuttle service in the downtown area, and free wireless Internet on certain "smartbuses".
The Chattanooga Department of Transportation has a mission "to make efficient transportation viable for all commuters- cyclists, pedestrians, transit users, and motorists while enhancing multi-use public spaces for all people." Chattanooga favors public transit, as the opening lines on the TDOT website read: "Sit back, relax, and let someone else deal with the traffic. Compared to driving, public transportation is less expensive, safer, and better for the environment. It reduces traffic congestion, saves energy, and benefits the communities it serves."
The city has its own bicycle transit system (Bike Chattanooga) with 300 bikes and 33 docking stations, all supplied by PBSC Urban Solutions, a Canadian company.
Chattanooga Bicycle Transit System
Chattanooga Choo Choo
Chattanooga Choo Choo
Though Chattanooga's most famous connection to the railroad industry is Chattanooga Choo Choo, a 1941 song made famous by Glenn Miller & His Orchestra, the city serves as a major freight hub with Norfolk Southern (NS) and CSX running trains on their own (and each other's) lines. The Norfolk Southern Railway's main classification yard, DeButts Yard, is just east of downtown; Norfolk Southern's Shipp's Yard and CSX's Wauhatchie Yard are southwest of the city. Norfolk Southern maintains a large railroad repair shop in Chattanooga. The two railroad companies are among the largest individual landowners in the city (the Federal Government is another).
The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum (TVRM), the largest historic operating railroad in the South, and the Chattooga and Chickamauga Railway also provide railroad service in Chattanooga. The headquarters of the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) were located in Chattanooga next to the TVRM from 1982 to 2013, when the NMRA moved to Soddy Daisy, a nearby suburb. (The NMRA had moved from Indianapolis, Indiana to Chattanooga.)
Using the AAR reporting marks (NS for Norfolk Southern, CSXT for CSX Transportation, TVRM for the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, TNT for subsidiary Tyner Terminal Railroad, and CCKY for Chattooga and Chickamauga Railway), the rail lines passing through Chattanooga are as follows:
CSXT – Western & Atlantic Subdivision (Chattanooga to Atlanta)
Chattanooga Subdivision (Chattanooga to Nashville on former NC&StL trackage)
NS – Cincinnati, New Orleans and Texas Pacific, aka the Queen and Crescent Route, (Chattanooga to Cincinnati, Ohio via Lexington, Kentucky)
Alabama Division (Chattanooga to Memphis via Huntsville, Alabama)
Alabama Great Southern (Chattanooga to New Orleans, Louisiana via Birmingham, Alabama)
Georgia Division (Chattanooga to Atlanta)
Central Division (Chattanooga to Knoxville)
Chattanooga Traction Company
North Chattanooga to Signal Mountain
Dry Valley Line (Red Bank to Lupton City)
TVRM – East Chattanooga to Grand Junction (3 miles (4.8 km))
East Chattanooga Belt Line Railroad (from near 23rd Street, across to Holtzclaw Avenue and East Chattanooga around North Chamberlain Ave., used by TVRM)
TNT - Tyner Terminal Railroad (Enterprise South Industrial Park railroad operations)
CCKY – formerly the Tennessee Alabama & Georgia line (Chattanooga to Hedges, Georgia, abandoned since 2009)
formerly the Central of Georgia line (Chattanooga to Lyerly, Georgia)
The Lookout Mountain Incline Railway, often referred to as the Incline Railway by locals, serves as a tourist attraction. It is also occasionally used for commuting by Lookout Mountain residents, particularly during wintry weather when traveling up and down the mountain could be very dangerous.
Despite the high level of freight rail activity, there is no passenger rail service in the city for either commuters or long-distance travelers.
Until the 1960s the Louisville and Nashville railroad ran passenger trains through Union Station and the Southern Railway ran trains through Terminal Station. The last train, the L&N's Georgian, left Terminal Station in October 1971.
Bridges in Chattanooga (In the foreground is the Walnut Street Bridge, immediately behind is the Market Street Bridge, and then in the background is the P.R. Olgiati Bridge.)
Being bisected by the Tennessee River, Chattanooga has seven bridges that allow people to traverse the river; five of the bridges being automobile bridges, one a rail bridge, and one a pedestrian bridge. These are the following, from west to east:
Market Street Bridge facing the North Shore
P.R. Olgiati Bridge – Named for a former mayor, P.R. Olgiati, this bridge, which was dedicated in 1959, carries U.S. Highway 27 from downtown towards Dayton, Tennessee and points northward.
Market Street Bridge – Officially called the John Ross Bridge, this bridge is a bascule bridge, which is a type of draw bridge. The bridge was completed in 1917 for the large sum of $1 million for the time. Having stood for decades since its last major overhaul, the Tennessee Department of Transportation declared it unsafe in late 2004. The bridge was closed in 2005 for a long-overdue renovation and was reopened on August 4, 2007.
Walnut Street Bridge – Also known as "The Walking Bridge", it is one of the centerpieces of Chattanooga's urban renewal and is the second longest pedestrian bridge in the nation. Constructed in 1891, the bridge was declared unsafe and closed to traffic in 1978. It was on the verge of being demolished in the late 1980s when public outcry led to it being restored as a pedestrian-only span that opened in 1993.
Veterans Memorial Bridge – Completed in 1984, this bridge has helped commuters from Hixson, Lupton City, and other northern areas reach downtown quickly.
C.B. Robinson Bridge – Opened in 1981, this bridge carries Dupont Parkway from Amnicola Highway to Hixson Pike and Route 153.
Tenbridge – This truss bridge with a vertical lift carries the Cincinnati, New Orleans and Texas Pacific Railway over the river and is a popular railfan area. It was constructed in 1920.
Wilkes T. Thrasher Bridge – Completed in 1955, this route carries Highway 153 over the Chickamauga Dam.
The Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport (CHA) offers non-stop service to various domestic destinations via regional and national airlines, including Allegiant Airlines, American Eagle, Delta Air Lines and its regional carrier Delta Connection, and United Express.
Main article: List of people from Chattanooga, Tennessee
This section appears to contain trivial, minor, or unrelated references to popular culture. Please reorganize this content to explain the subject's impact on popular culture, providing citations to reliable, secondary sources, rather than simply listing appearances. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (March 2019)
Chattanooga has been referred to in pop culture numerous times over the decades, including in books, documentaries, films, TV shows, and more. In recent years, Chattanooga has appeared in more productions of blockbuster movies and TV shows, as well as independent films and documentaries.
Books that have Chattanooga as either a major or minor plot setting are Don't Cry by Beverly Barton, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, Queen of Wands by John Ringo, and Four and Twenty Blackbirds by Cherie Priest.
Documentaries have been filmed in Chattanooga over the decades, mostly related to the railroad industry or the Civil War battles that were fought in Chattanooga. These include the following:
Up Lookout Mountain on the Electric Incline (1913)
Battle Fields Around Chattanooga (1913)
The Blue and the Gray (1935)
Our Country (2003)
John Henry: Inside the Sculptors Studio (2008)
Let There Be Light: The Odyssey of Dark Star (2010)
Memphis & Charleston Railroad: Marriage of the Waters (2010)
Born and Bred (2011)
When Mourning Breaks (2013)
Chattanooga and its environs have been featured in numerous films since the early 1970s, principally due to Chattanooga being the home of the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum (TVRM), which has allowed its equipment to be filmed in various films.
A partial list of movies shot with TVRM equipment follows:
Fool's Parade (1971) (Southern 4501 as B&O 4501)
Eleanor & Franklin (1976), starring Jane Alexander and Edward Herrmann
The Last Days of Frank and Jesse James (1986)
Fled (1996) (shot on the TVRM mainline)
Mama Flora's Family (1998)
October Sky (1999) (Southern 4501 appearing as N&W 4501 with O. Winston Link being the engineer)
The Adventures of Ociee Nash (2003)
Warm Springs (2005) (shot in Summerville, Georgia, using TVRM equipment)
Heaven's Fall (2007)
Leatherheads (2008), starring George Clooney and Ren?e Zellweger
Water for Elephants (2011), starring Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson
The promotional video for Josh Turner's 2003 country single Long Black Train was filmed on TVRM property.
In addition to the above TVRM films, the following films were filmed either in Chattanooga itself or in nearby locales:
The Man Trail (1915)
The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia (1981)
The Big Blue (1988)
Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (1992)
All Over Again (2001)
Straight into Darkness (2004)
42 (2013) (filmed at Engel Stadium)
Identity Thief (2013) (scene set in St. Louis was filmed on the Market Street Bridge)
The 1941 Glenn Miller song that catapulted Chattanooga to international fame, Chattanooga Choo Choo, has been performed in numerous movies, including the 1941 film Sun Valley Serenade, featuring the Miller Orchestra and Milton Berle, "The Glenn Miller Story" starring James Stewart in the 1953 title roll, and the 1984 eponymous film Chattanooga Choo Choo.
Sporting and entertainment events
A number of pro wrestling events, as well as other events, such as circuses, concerts, ice shows, monster truck rallies, and rodeos, have been held in Chattanooga since the late 1980s, all at UTC's McKenzie Arena, also known as The Roundhouse because of its round shape and the impact of the railroad industry on Chattanooga. The events include the following:
Clash of the Champions IV: Season's Beatings (1988)
Saturday's Night Main Event (January 27, 1990 episode)
Halloween Havoc (1991)
In Your House 13: Final Four (February 16, 1997)
2005 and 2011 Men's Southern Conference basketball tournaments
2005 Women's Southern Conference basketball championship game
Kenny Rogers concert (October 8, 1982; first-ever event held in McKenzie Arena)
Toby Keith concert (February 8, 2007)
Elton John concert (2011, 2013, 2016)
Police POV, COPS, and the MTV show Cuff'd have shown members of the Chattanooga Police Department apprehending suspects. In addition to police reality shows, Chattanooga and nearby areas have been either been featured or mentioned in several TV shows, including the following:
America's Walking (This Woman's Not Stopping episode, originally broadcast May 20, 2002)
R&B Divas: Atlanta (Til Divas Do Us Part episode, originally broadcast June 19, 2013)
American Idol (Top 3 Results Show episode, originally broadcast May 19, 2011)
Antiques Roadshow (Chattanooga episodes (Hours 1-3), originally broadcast March 30 and April 6 and 13, 2009)
Bridezillas (Shederyl & Poni episode)
Fitness Truth (CF Open Chattanooga episode, originally broadcast August 14, 2011)
$40 a Day (Chattanooga episode, originally broadcast October 29, 2004)
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (Sharrock Family episode, originally broadcast May 15, 2011)
Good Eats (Hook, Line, and Dinner episode, originally broadcast September 8, 1999)
Mystery Manhunt (2012-)
Off Limits (Tennessee episode, originally broadcast June 20, 2011)
Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy (Larry Gets the Horns episode, originally broadcast February 22, 2011)
16 and Pregnant (Maci episode, originally broadcast June 11, 2009)
Teen Mom (Maci Bookout character)
Tennessee Crossroads (Show 752 episode, originally broadcast June 23, 1994)
The Andy Griffith Show (Andy the Matchmaker and The Shoplifters episodes, originally broadcast on November 14, 1960 and March 2, 1964, respectively.)
The Middle (Vacation Days episode, originally broadcast March 5, 2014)
The Steps (a locally produced web series)
Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy (Hammond/Howard episode, originally broadcast January 17 and 24, 2005)
Who Do You Think You Are? (Lionel Richie episode, originally broadcast March 4, 2011)
Restaurant: Impossible (Chattanooga Blues episode, shot at the Blue Orleans and was broadcast on February 27, 2020.)
Miscellaneous film and TV productions
Numerous independent short films have been produced in Chattanooga over the last several years, including the following:
A Bright Past (2008)
Last Breath (2009)
The Campaign for Chattanooga: Death Knell of the Confederacy (2012)
Some TV movies have been filmed in Chattanooga or nearby areas, as well, including the 1986 TV movie A Winner Never Quits. In addition, the 1999 music video Usher Live, starring Chattanooga native Usher, was filmed in Chattanooga.
Chattanooga has eight sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International:
Germany Hamm, Germany (since 1975)
China Wuxi, Jiangsu, China (since 1982)
Israel Givatayim, Israel (since 1988)
Russia Nizhny Tagil, Russia (since 1996)
South Korea Gangneung, South Korea (since 2003)
Germany Wolfsburg, Germany (since 2011)
Italy Manfredonia, Italy (since 2014)
Japan T?no, Iwate, Japan (since 2017)
Chattanooga also has two twinning cities:
United Kingdom Swindon, United Kingdom (since 2006)
Italy Ascoli Piceno, Italy (since 2006)
In January 2007, all of the cities above, with the exceptions of Wolfsburg and Tono, had a tree native to each locale planted at Coolidge Park's Peace Grove, which was established to replace a 100-year-old Slippery Elm tree which was damaged in a lightning storm in August 2006. Wolfsburg and Tono were added in September 2011 and January 2018, respectively. The Peace Grove has nine trees: a Linden tree, which represents Hamm; a Chinese Elm, which represents Wuxi; a Mediterranean cedar, which represents Givatayim; a White Birch, which represents Nizhny Tagil; a Ginkgo tree, which represents Gangneung; an English Elm, which represents Swindon; a European Hornbeam, which represents Ascoli Piceno; an Oak tree, which represents Wolfsburg; and a Cherry tree, which represents Tono.
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