Cities Near Chattanooga, TN
Local city information for Chattanooga, TN
is the fourth-largest city in Tennessee (after Memphis, Nashville, and Knoxville), and the seat of Hamilton County, in the United States of America. It is located in southeast Tennessee on Chickamauga and Nickajack Lake, which are both part of the Tennessee River, near the border of Georgia, and at the junction of three interstate highways, I-24, I-75, and I-59.
The city (downtown elevation approximately 685 feet), which lies at the transition between the ridge-and-valley portion of the Appalachian Mountains and the Cumberland Plateau, is surrounded by mountains and ridges. Chattanooga's official nickname is the "Scenic City".
The first inhabitants of the Chattanooga area were Native American Indians. Sites dating back to the Upper Paleolithic period showed continuous occupation through the Archaic, Woodland, Mississippian (900-1650), Muskogean and Cherokee (1776-1838) periods.
Chief John Ross was said to have stated that Chattanooga was Cherokee for "The Big Catch" because of good fishing on the Tennessee River.
A late 19th century history recounted:
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, settled here and established Ross's Landing. 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 American Indians from southeastern U.S. states, to relocate in Oklahoma. Their journey west became known as the "Trail of Tears" for their exile and fatalities along the way. The US Army used Ross's Landing as the site of one of three large internment camps, or "emigration depots", where Native Americans were held prior to the journey on the Trail of Tears. The other two were Fort Payne, Alabama and the largest at Fort Cass, Tennessee.
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 Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant reinforced troops at Chattanooga and advanced to Orchard Knob against Confederate troops besieging the city. The next day, the Battle of Lookout Mountain was fought, driving the Confederates off the mountain. On November 25, Grant's army routed the Confederates in the Battle of Missionary Ridge. These battles were followed the next spring by the Atlanta Campaign, beginning just over the nearby state line in Georgia and moving southeastward.
After the war ended, the city became a major railroad hub and industrial and manufacturing center. By the 1930s it was known as the "Dynamo of Dixie", inspiring the 1941 Glenn Miller big-band swing song "Chattanooga Choo Choo". The same mountains that provided Chattanooga's scenic backdrop became shrouded by the industrial pollutants that they trapped and held over the community.
In 1969, the federal government declared that Chattanooga's air was the dirtiest 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 deindustrialization, a deteriorating city infrastructure, racial tensions and social division.
In recent years, private and governmental resources have been invested in transforming the city's tarnished image. They have worked to revitalize its downtown and riverfront areas, making use of its natural resources. An early cornerstone of this project was the restoration of the historic Walnut Street Bridge. The Walnut Street Bridge is the oldest surviving bridge of its kind in the Southeastern United States.
Efforts to improve the city include the "21st Century Waterfront Plan" - a $120 million redevelopment of the Chattanooga waterfront and downtown area. The Tennessee Aquarium has become a major waterfront attraction that has helped to spur neighborhood development. Within the last ten years the city has won three national awards for outstanding "livability", and nine Gunther Blue Ribbon Awards for excellence in housing and consolidated planning.
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