| United States|
6.5% (Feb 2015)
143.2 sq mi
Andy Berke (D)
| Tennessee Aquarium, Ruby Falls, Lookout Mountain, Rock City, Creative Discovery Museum|
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Chattanooga State Community College, Tennessee Temple University, Chattanooga College Medical Dental and Technical Careers, Richmont Graduate University
Chattanooga is the fourth-largest city in the U.S. state of Tennessee, with a population of 167,674 as of the 2010 census, and an estimated population of 171,279 in 2012. It is the seat of Hamilton County. Located in southeastern Tennessee in East Tennessee, on Chickamauga Lake and Nickajack Lake, which are both part of the Tennessee River, Chattanooga lies approximately 120 miles (190 km) to the northwest of Atlanta, Georgia, 120 miles (190 km) to the southwest of Knoxville, Tennessee, about 135 miles (217 km) to the southeast of Nashville, Tennessee, about 120 miles (190 km) to the northeast of Huntsville, Alabama, and about 148 miles (238 km) to the northeast of Birmingham, Alabama. Chattanooga abuts the Georgia border and is where three major interstate highways meet: I-24, I-75, and I-59.
The city, which has a downtown elevation of approximately 680 feet (210 m), lies at the transition between the ridge-and-valley portion of the Appalachian Mountains and the Cumberland Plateau. The city is therefore surrounded by various mountains and ridges. The official nickname for Chattanooga is the Scenic City, being reinforced by the citys growing national reputation as a haven for numerous outdoor activities. Several unofficial nicknames include River City, Chatt, Nooga, Chattown, and Gig City, demonstrating Chattanoogas claims that it has the fastest internet service in the Western Hemisphere.
Chattanooga is internationally known for the 1941 gold record 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.
A unique distinction for Chattanooga is the fact that the city has its own typeface, Chatype, which was launched in August 2012. This marks the first time that an American city has its own typeface and also the first time a crowd-funded custom-made typeface has been used for any municipality in the world.
Chattanooga has received numerous awards over the decades, including the prestigious All-America City Award in 1962 and being recognized as a Tree City USA community since 1990.
The first inhabitants of the Chattanooga area were Native Americans. Sites dating back to the Upper Paleolithic period showed continuous occupation through the Archaic, Woodland, Mississippian/Yuchi (-1714 BC)/Muskogean (900–1650 AD), and Cherokee (1776–1980).
The first part of "Chattanooga" derives from the Muskogean word cvto /chato/ – rock. The latter may be derived from a regional suffix -nunga meaning dwelling or dwelling place.
A late 19th-century history recounted:
With only occasional allusion to the various interpretations of Cherokee names, which have so long been accepted as true, their actual meaning, as derived from John Ross, the celebrated Cherokee chief, and from Lewis Ross, his brother, are here given. Chattanooga, originally was the name of a small Indian hamlet, situated near the base of Lookout Mountain, on the bank of Chattanooga Creek. It means, in the Cherokee language, "to draw fish out of water", and hence was applied to the collection of huts, which were occupied by Indian fishermen. The humble hamlet disappeared, and its name, at first suggestive and appropriate, was inherited by the town of the white man, with meaningless application. A somewhat similar name was applied by the Cherokees to the cliffs, rising boldly from the river above the town, which was derived from Clanoowah, the name of a warlike but diminutive hawk, which was supposed to embody the spirit of the tribe. These cliffs were the favorite nesting-place of the bird, and hence a name was given which expressed this fact, and which, perhaps, has suggested the myth, that Chattanooga means eagles nest.
The earliest Cherokee occupation dates from Dragging Canoe, who in 1776 separated himself and moved downriver from the main tribe to establish Native American resistance (see Chickamauga Wars) to European settlement in the southeastern United States. In 1816 John Ross, who later became Principal Chief, established Rosss 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 US government forced the Cherokees, along with other Native Americans from southeastern U.S. states, to relocate to the area designed as Indian Territory, in what is now the state of Oklahoma. Their journey west became known as the "Trail of Tears" for their exile and fatalities along the way. The US Army used Rosss Landing as the site of one of three large internment camps, or "emigration depots", where Native Americans were held prior to the journey on the Trail of Tears. One of the internment camps was located in Fort Payne, Alabama and the largest was at Fort Cass, Tennessee.
In 1839, the community of Rosss Landing incorporated as the city of Chattanooga. The city grew quickly, initially benefiting from a location well-suited for river commerce. With the arrival of the railroad in 1850, Chattanooga became a boom town. The city was known as the site "where cotton meets corn," referring to its location along the cultural boundary between the mountain communities of Southern Appalachia to the north and the cotton-growing states to the south.
During the American Civil War, Chattanooga was a center of battle. During the Chickamauga Campaign, Union artillery bombarded Chattanooga as a diversion and occupied it on September 9, 1863. Following the Battle of Chickamauga, the defeated Union Army retreated to safety in Chattanooga. On November 23, 1863, the Battles for Chattanooga began when Union forces led by future United States President and Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant reinforced troops at Chattanooga and advanced to Orchard Knob against Confederate troops besieging the city. The next day, the Battle of Lookout Mountain was fought, driving the Confederates off the mountain. On November 25, Grants army routed the Confederates in the Battle of Missionary Ridge. These battles were followed the next spring by the Atlanta Campaign, beginning just over the nearby state line in Georgia and moving southeastward. After the war ended, the city became a major railroad hub and industrial and manufacturing center.
The largest flood in Chattanooga’s history occurred in 1867, before the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) system was created in 1933 by Congress. The flood crested at 58 feet (18 m) and completely inundated the city. Since the completion of the reservoir system, the highest Chattanooga flood stage has been nearly 37 feet (11 m), which occurred in 1973. Without regulation, the flood would have crested at 52.4 feet (16.0 m). Chattanooga was a major priority in the design of the TVA reservoir system and remains a major operating priority in the 21st century.
In December 1906, Chattanooga was in the national headlines as the United States Supreme Court, in the only criminal trial in its history, ruled that Hamilton County Sheriff Joseph H. Shipp had violated Ed Johnsons civil rights when Shipp allowed a mob to enter the Hamilton County Jail and lynch Johnson on the Walnut Street Bridge in United States v. Shipp. Chattanooga grew with the entry of the United States in the First World War in 1917, as the nearest training camp was in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. Effects of the Influenza of 1918 on Chattanooga included having movie theaters and pool halls closed. By the 1930s Chattanooga was known as the "Dynamo of Dixie", inspiring the 1941 Glenn Miller big-band swing song "Chattanooga Choo Choo". The late 1950s saw the creation of the Interstate Highway System with President Eisenhower signing legislation into law in June 1956. Due to Mayor P.R. Olgiatis efforts, Chattanooga became the first city in Tennessee to have a completed interstate system in the early 1960s. In February 1958, Chattanooga became one of the smallest cities in the country with three VHF transmitters: WTVM (now WTVC-TV) channel 9 (ABC), WRGP-TV (now WRCB-TV) channel 3 (NBC), and WDEF-TV channel 12 (CBS).
The same mountains that provide Chattanoogas scenic backdrop also served to trap industrial pollutants which caused them to settle over the community, so much that in 1969, the federal government declared that Chattanooga had the dirtiest air in the nation. But environmental crises were not the only problems plaguing the city. Like other early industrial cities, Chattanooga entered the 1980s with serious socioeconomic challenges, including job layoffs due to de-industrialization, deteriorating city infrastructure, racial tensions, and social division. Chattanoogas population declined by more than 10% in the 1980s. However, Chattanooga was the only major U.S. city to lose this proportion of its population in the 1980s and then regain the same proportion in the next two decades.
In recent years, substantial private and governmental resources have been invested in transforming the citys tarnished image. They have worked to revitalize its downtown and riverfront areas, making use of its natural resources. An early cornerstone of this project was a restoration lasting several years, from the mid-to-late 1980s to 1993, of the historic Walnut Street Bridge. An excellent specimen of the Camelback truss bridge, it is the oldest surviving bridge of its kind in the Southeastern United States, having been built in 1891.
Efforts to improve the city include the "21st Century Waterfront Plan" – a $120 million redevelopment of the Chattanooga waterfront and downtown area, which was completed in 2005. The Tennessee Aquarium, which opened in 1992, has become a major waterfront attraction that has helped to spur neighborhood development. Chattanooga has garnered numerous accolades for its transformation of its image. The city has won three national awards for outstanding "livability", and nine Gunther Blue Ribbon Awards for excellence in housing and consolidated planning. In addition to winning various national and regional awards, Chattanooga has been in the national limelight numerous times. Chattanooga was the profile city of the August 2007 edition of US Airways Magazine. In a seminal event for Chattanooga, Volkswagen announced in July 2008 the construction of its first U.S. auto plant in over three decades, the Volkswagen Chattanooga Assembly Plant. In December 2009, Chattanooga was ranked 8th out of Americas 100 largest metro areas for the best "Bang For Your Buck" city, according to Forbes magazine, which measured overall affordability, housing rates, and more. Chattanooga launched the first one gigabit a second Internet service in the United States in September 2010, provided through the city-owned utility of EPB. In August 2012, Chattanooga got its own typeface, called Chatype, which marks the first time a municipality has its own typeface in the United States and the first crowd-funded, custom-made typeface in the world.
Chattanoogas economy includes a diversified and growing mix of manufacturing and service industries.
Chattanooga has a wide range of performing arts in different venues. Chattanoogas historic Tivoli Theatre, dating from 1921 and one of the first public air-conditioned buildings in the United States, is home to the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera (CSO), which became the first merged symphony and opera company in the United States in 1985. The CSO performs under the baton of Kayoko Dan. The Chattanooga Theatre Centre offers 15 productions each year in three separate theater programs: the Mainstage, the Circle Theater, and the Youth Theater. Another popular performance venue is Memorial Auditorium.
Chattanooga hosts several writing conferences, including the Conference on Southern Literature and the Festival of Writers, both sponsored by the Arts & Education Council of Chattanooga.
The city is located at latitude 35°4 North, longitude 85°15 West.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 143.2 square miles (371 km2), of which 135.2 square miles (350 km2) is land and 8.0 square miles (21 km2) (5.56%) is water. In terms of land area, Chattanooga ranks 68th, which is between Las Vegas, Nevada and Philadelphia. The total area of Chattanooga makes the city larger than that of many cities larger in population, such as Baltimore, Maryland, Atlanta, Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Salt Lake City.
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 Waldens Ridge; the river separates the ridge from the western side of downtown. Several miles east, the city is bisected by Missionary Ridge, site of an important battle in the Civil War.
The Tennessee River is impounded by the TVAs Chickamauga Dam north of the downtown area. Five automobile bridges, one railroad trestle, and one pedestrian bridge, all described below, cross the river.
Road transport is facilitated by Interstate 75 to Atlanta and Knoxville, Interstate 24 to Nashville, and Interstate 59 to Birmingham. Chattanooga and portions of Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia is 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 has been referenced 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, therefore bringing Chattanooga on the national stage.
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.
Chattanooga hosts the well-known Riverbend Festival, an annual nine-day music festival held in June in the downtown area. One of the most popular events is the "Bessie Smith Strut", a one-night showcase of blues and jazz music named for the citys most noted blues singer. The annual "Southern Brewers 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 Brewers Festival, and attract their own audiences. Back Row Films is a city-wide 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.
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.
Red Food Stores, Inc. (or simply Red Food) was a supermarket chain company headquartered in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It operated stores mostly in northwest Georgia, northeast Alabama, and southeast Tennessee. Around 55 stores were operated in the same three states. According to The Chattanoogan, Red Food was a longtime icon in Chattanooga history.