Chattanooga, Tennessee

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This article is about a city in the US State of Tennessee. "Chattanooga" redirects here. For other places and things with "Chattanooga" in their name, see Chattanooga (disambiguation)

Chattanooga is the 4th largest city in Tennesseee, and the seat of Hamilton CountyTemplate:GR, Tennessee in the United States of America. According to data from the 2000 census, Chattanooga had a population of 155,554 in the city proper and 476,531 in the metropolitan area.

Located in Southeast Tennessee on the Tennessee River, near the border of Georgia, and at the junction of three interstate highways, transportation has always been an important aspect of Chattanooga's development.

The city is probably best known for the 1941 big-band swing song "Chattanooga Choo Choo" by Glenn Miller, but it has grown significantly since its days as a railroad hub and industrial center. Despite a new emphasis on the technology and service sectors, Chattanooga maintains ties to the past and still serves as a major freight hub with Norfolk Southern and CSX running trains on their own (and each other's) lines. The Norfolk Southern Railway's enormous DeButts Yard is just east of downtown, Shipp's Yard and CSX's Wauhatchie Yard are in the south of the city. Indeed, the two railroad companies are among the largest individual landowners in the city (the Federal Government is another). The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, the largest historic operating railroad in the South, and the Chattooga and Chickamauga Railway also provides railroad service in Chattanooga. There's hardly a location in the city where one can't hear a train whistle at least once daily.

Chattanooga is the current home of the National Model Railroad Association and the city's public transportation provider is the Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority. Owing to its industrial past, the city is currently fighting a major battle against air pollution and groundwater contamination. A new weapon in this battle is the institution of mandatory emissions testing for all automobiles weighing less than 10,500 pounds, which has been mandated by the state government.

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Missing image
Chattanooga in time of the civil war. Soldiers' tents and supply wagons beside the city building, 1864. Lookout Mountain is visible in the background.

During the American Civil War on November 23, 1863, the Battle of Chattanooga III began when Union forces led by General Ulysses S. Grant reinforced troops at Chattanooga and counter-attacked Confederate troops. The next day the Battle of Lookout Mountain was fought near the town. These were followed the next spring by the Atlanta Campaign, beginning just over the nearby state line in Georgia and moving southeastward.

In more modern times, the city has received national recognition for the renaissance of its once dilapidated downtown and redevelopment of its riverfront. An early cornerstone of this project was the restoration of the historic Walnut Street Bridge, which is now the world's longest pedestrian bridge.


The local economy includes a diversified mix of manufacturing and service industries, four colleges, and several preparatory schools. "Sustainability" is a key concept for Chattanooga's development, especially after the crash of the industrial economy due to overseas labor.

Chattanooga is the corporate headquarters and home of Krystal, Chattem, UnumProvident, The Chattanooga Bakery (home of the Moon pie), and Miller Industries, the largest tow truck manufacturer in the world. Chattanooga is also home to the Tennessee Valley Authority, a self-funding government agency which operates numerous power plants in the South. Following the city's industrial decline, many businesses in the banking and insurance industries set up operations in Chattanooga. The city is home to large branch offices of Cigna, Blue Cross, AT&T and UBS.

The city boasts the most productive affordable housing program in the nation. Chattanooga is notable for leveraging development funds through effective public private partnerships, and has significant civic involvement. It was one of the first US cities to effectively use a citizen visioning process to set specific long-range goals to enrich the lives of residents and visitors.


Electric power for most of the city and surrounding area is provided by the city-run Electric Power Board or EPB for short. EPB also provides telephone and high-speed internet service to businesses in the downtown area. The TVA operates the nearby Sequoyah Nuclear Power Plant, Chickamauga Dam and the Raccoon Mountain Pumped Storage Project all of which provide electricity to the greater Chattanooga area.

Natural gas and water are provided by the Chattanooga Gas Company and Tennessee-American Water Company, respectively. Both the gas and water companies are privately run.

Comcast is the cable provider for most areas of the city. The incumbent telephone company is BellSouth, formerly known as South Central Bell. However, competing phone companies, cellular phones and VoIP are beginning to make inroads. A major interstate fiber optics line operated by AT&T traverses the city, making its way from Atlanta to Cincinnati.

Politics, government, and law

The current mayor is Ron Littlefield, a long-time city councilman, who was elected in a close run-off election in April 2005.

The city operates under a charter granted by the state legislature in 1852, as amended. As of 2005, the city operates with a strong mayor and city council form of government.

Within the last ten years the city has won 3 national awards for outstanding "livability", and 9 Gunther Blue Ribbon Awards for excellence in housing and consolidated planning.

See also List of Mayors of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Higher education

The second largest campus of the University of Tennessee System is located here. Boasting a student population of over 8500, UT Chattanooga students, staff and faculty play a major part in contributing to the local economy. In addition to UTC, there are several other institutions of higher learning in Chattanooga. Several miles from UTC is Chattanooga State Technical Community College. Other institutions are the privately-run Tennessee Temple University and Miller-Motte Technical College, as well as Covenant College, which overlooks the city from atop nearby Lookout Mountain.


Chattanooga has traditionally marketed its tourist attractions very aggressively, including the Tennessee Aquarium (a major expansion, coinciding with a completion of a major riverfront development project, opened in May, 2005), caverns, and developments along the Tennessee River. 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. Other attractions in the Lookout Mountain area are Ruby Falls, an underground waterfall, and the Incline Railway, a steep funicular railway which rises to the top of the mountain.

Chattanooga, since it is the birthplace of the tow truck, is the fitting home of the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum [1] (

Chattanooga is also notable for the Riverbend Festival, an annual week-long music festival in the downtown area that is known for drawing huge crowds from in and around the Tennessee Valley. One of the most popular events of the festival is the Bessie Smith Strut, a one night showcase of blues and jazz music. The event is named for Bessie Smith, a pioneering blues singer from Chattanooga.

Chattanooga is the home of NCAA Division I-AA national football championship game, held at Max Finley Stadium, south of downtown. The city also hosts the national softball championships every year.

The Chattanooga Lookouts [2] (, a class AA Southern League baseball team, play at BellSouth Park downtown; free parking is provided on first-come, first served basis by several local buisnesses. The Lookouts are perennial participants in the season-end playoffs and have a loyal following. What's more, ticket prices are very low, especially in comparison to major league clubs. A major league ticket can cost around USD$15 for the "cheap seats." As of 2005, however, the most expensive seats at BellSouth Park cost only USD$8.

In addition to the restoration of downtown, many of Chattanooga's neighborhoods have experienced a rebirth of their own. Chattanooga has many buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, including two whole neighborhoods. For more info, see Fort Wood National Historic District and Saint Elmo National Historic District.


As of the censusTemplate:GR of 2000, there are 155,554 people, 65,499 households, and 39,626 families residing in the city. The population density is 444.2/km² (1,150.5/mi²). There are 72,108 housing units at an average density of 205.9/km² (533.3/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 59.71% White, 36.06% Black or African American, 0.29% Native American, 1.54% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 1.01% from other races, and 1.30% from two or more races. 2.11% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 65,499 households out of which 25.3% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.2% are married couples living together, 17.3% have a female householder with no husband present, and 39.5% are non-families. 33.5% of all households are made up of individuals and 11.6% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.29 and the average family size is 2.92.

In the city the population is spread out with 22.4% under the age of 18, 10.8% from 18 to 24, 28.8% from 25 to 44, 22.8% from 45 to 64, and 15.2% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 37 years. For every 100 females there are 89.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 85.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $32,006, and the median income for a family is $41,318. Males have a median income of $31,375 versus $23,267 for females. The per capita income for the city is $19,689. 17.9% of the population and 14.0% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 27.0% of those under the age of 18 and 13.8% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.


Location of Chattanooga, Tennessee

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 370.8 km² (143.2 mi²). 350.2 km² (135.2 mi²) of it is land and 20.6 km² (8.0 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 5.56% water.

The most prominent natural features in and around Chattanooga are the Tennessee River and the surrounding mountains. A Tennessee Valley Authority dam creates Chickamauga Lake north of the downtown area. Five automobile bridges, one railroad trestle, and one pedestrian bridge cross the river.

Transport is served by Interstate 75 to Atlanta and Knoxville, Interstate 24 to Nashville, and Interstate 59 to Birmingham. Chattanooga and the surrounding area is served by Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport. Rail freight is offered by CSX and Norfolk Southern.

Neighborhoods of Chattanooga

  • Alton Park
  • Avondale
  • Brainerd
  • Central Business District
  • East Brainerd
  • East Chattanooga
  • East Lake
  • Eastgate
  • Fort Wood
  • Glenwood
  • Highland Park
  • Hixson
  • North Chattanooga (also known as NorthChatt or the Northsore District)
  • Orchard Knob
  • Pineville
  • Rossville (not to be confused with the nearby city of Rossville, Georgia)
  • Saint Elmo

Important suburbs


Sometimes considered to be a "gateway" to the Deep South, Chattanooga's transportation infrastructure has been developed a complex and intricate system of railroads, cars, trucks, airplanes and boats.

Principal highways

See also List of Tennessee state highways

Major surface routes

Other major streets

  • 4th Street
  • 23rd Street
  • 38th Street
  • Amnicola Highway
  • Bailey Avenue
  • Dodds Avenue
  • East Brainerd Road
  • Gunbarrel Road
  • Hixson Pike
  • Market Street
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
  • Moore Road
  • Ringgold Road
  • Riverfront Parkway
  • Saint Elmo Avenue
  • Shallowford Road

In addition to these streets, there are also four tunnels in the city.

  • Bachmann Tubes, which carry Ringgold Road into the neighboring town of East Ridge.
  • Missionary Ridge 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 Avenue.
  • Wilcox Tunnel, which carries Wilcox Boulevard through Missionary Ridge.

Public Transit

The city is served a publicly run bus company, the Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority.

Railroad lines

Since both NS and CSX both run through Chattanooga, here are the lines that run through the town (the AAR codes are used for the following railroads: NS for Norfolk Southern, CSXT for CSX Transportation, TVRM for Tennessee Valley Railroad, and C&C for Chattooga & Chickamauga Railway):

Also, the Incline Railway, as well as being a tourist attraction, is sometimes used for commuting by Lookout Mountain residents, particularly during wintry weather, when travelling up and down the mountain could be very dangerous.


Being bisected by a major waterway, Chattanooga has several large bridges over the Tennessee River, they are from west to east:

  • P.R. Olgiati Bridge – Named for a former mayor, this bridge carries Route 27 from downtown to Dayton, Tennessee and points northward.
  • John Ross Bridge (or Market Street Bridge) – Often misidentified as a drawbridge, it is actually a type of Bascule span. Built in 1917, for the then-astronomical sum of USD$1,000,000, this bridge is scheduled to be closed for a much-needed renovation in late 2005.
  • Walnut Street Bridge – One of the centerpieces of Chattanooga's urban renewal. At over 115 years old, this bridge was restored in the late 1980s after a decade of disuse as a pedestrian-only span.
  • Veteran's Memorial Bridge – Installed in the mid 1980s, this structure has helped commuters from Hixson, Lupton City and other northern areas reach downtown quickly.
  • C.B. Robinson Bridge (or Dupont Bridge) – This route carries Dupont Parkway from Amnicola Highway to Hixson Pike and Route 153.
  • Tennessee River Railroad Bridge – Also called "Tennbridge," this truss bridge with a vertical lift carries the Norfolk Southern Railway over the river and is a popular railfan area.
  • Charles T. Thrasher Bridge – Carries Route 153 over Chickamauga Dam and connects with Amnicola Highway, Dupont Parkway and Hixson Pike.

Air travel

Chattanooga is served by Chattanooga Metropolitain Airport (or Lovell Field for short). Located east of the city, Lovell field is home to several regional and national airlines, many offering non-stop service to various domestic destinations.

See also: Chattanooga Metro Airport (, Information about Lovell Field from (

Media and communications

The city of Chattanooga is served by numerous local, regional and national media outlets. These media outlets reach over 500,000 people in three states: Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia


The Chattanooga Times Free Press [3] ( is published each morning. The Times was once published by Adolphus Ochs who also operated the New York Times. The two newspapers now have different ownership. There is also a local, independently published arts paper called The Pulse ( The Pulse is well known throughout the city for its in depth coverage of arts and entertainment, as well as its frequent riducle of local and state politics. The Pulse sometimes refers to the Times-Free Press as Ye Olde Times-Free Presse.


Some of the radio stations in Chattanooga include:


Chattanooga has numerous television stations, some of which are beginning to broadcast HDTV signals.

  • WRCB channel 3, NBC affilliate - [4] (
  • WOOT channel 6, UPN affilliate
  • WTVC channel 9, ABC affilliate - [5] (
  • WDEF channel 12, CBS affillaite - [6] (
  • W26BE channel 26, independent
  • WYHB channel 39, independent
  • WTCI channel 45, PBS affillaite
  • WFLI channel 53, WB-TV affillaite
  • WDSI channel 61, Fox Network affilliate - [7] (

See also List of television stations in Tennessee

Notable citizens

The following people were born or lived in Chattanooga:

Sister cities

Chattanooga is currently twinned with:

External links


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