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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrBeautiful, small city atmosphere, but rich in Civil War history and cultural arts best describes this Southern treasure. Chattanooga is known as “the Scenic City” because of where it lays in the transition point of the ridge and valley in the Appalachian Mountains and the Cumberland Plateau . Surrounded by Lookout Mountain, Signal Mountain, and Missionary Ridge this area is an outdoorsman’s paradise, but it also has appeal for visitors who want unique shopping and tourist attractions.
HistoryHome to the several Native Americans throughout the years, the Cherokee Indians were the most notable due to them being forced in 1838 by the United States government to relocate to an area known as “Indian Territory” in Oklahoma. The Cherokees along with several other tribes from Southeastern states left on a journey now called “The Trail of Tears” because of the hardships and death they endured during their exile.
During the American Civil War, Chattanooga was the center of several major battles including the Chickamauga Campaign, the Battle of Chickamauga, the Battles for Chattanooga which was led by the Union’s Major General, Ulysses S. Grant, the man who would later become the 18th President of the United States, the Battle of Lookout Mountain, and the Battle of Missionary Ridge. At the end of the war Chattanooga became a major railroad center and a major industrial manufacturing location.
The railroad was a huge factor in the growth of Chattanooga and it became known as the place “where the corn meets cotton” because of where it sits at the base of the northern mountain communities in the Appalachians and the southern cotton growing states.
The “Twenty-first Century Waterfront Plan” was started to improve the downtown and waterfront area and build up tourism. It was finished in 2005 and the area is now home to wonderful unique restaurants, local artist and craft boutiques. There are areas where you can just sit and people watch, have a bite to eat, or just meander and window shop.
What to See
Chattanooga Choo Choo HotelChattanooga Choo Choo Hotel, which is in the renovated Terminal Station, has the largest HO model train exhibit in the United States. Visitors can dine in several restaurants, but the most unique dining experience would be the “Dinner in the Diner” where visitors can enjoy a meal in a restored Class A dining car from 1938.
Lookout Mountain Incline RailwayThe Lookout Mountain Incline Railway, a very steep railcar, takes tourists from the base of the mountain in the St. Elmo historical area to the top of the mountain where visitors can take in the panoramic views from Point Park, walk the nature trails or enjoy the Battles for Chattanooga museum.
Tennessee AquariumTennessee Aquarium opened as the world’s largest fresh water aquarium in 1992. The original building called River Journey follows the story theme of a single raindrop’s journey from the Appalachian Mountains to the Gulf of Mexico. This theme is followed throughout the three living forest exhibits which includes a man-made waterfall flowing into a 30,000 U.S. gallon mountain sink and Nickajack Lake , a man-made lake containing large North American freshwater fish. Ocean Journey which opened in 2005 loosely follows River Journey’s theme, but has more hands on displays such as the shark and ray touch tank and a butterfly garden with South American species constantly being displayed.
Rock CityRock City on top of Lookout Mountain has amazing panoramic views from the many lookout points along the trails. Visitors, on a clear day, can see at least seven states and there are maps posted that explain the points of interest. Mammoth rock formations, hiking trails, and caves that you can explore are just a few of the fun adventures that are available along with Mother Goose Village for the youngsters or the young at heart.
Tennessee Valley Railroad MuseumTennessee Valley Railroad Museum gives visitors a glimpse of what the golden age of railways was all about with hour-long trips in refurbished passenger cars pulled by steam locomotives.
Where to StayThere are many hotel and motels to accommodate traveler’s needs, but the most fun place to stay the night is in one of the Victorian train cars at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel. It is an elegant glimpse of the 1900's era when private rail cars were beautifully furnished for weary wealthy travelers. Even though the décor is Victorian, all of the train cars have the modern amenities including high speed wireless internet. What a fun way to spend the night!!!!
NotablesThe world-renowned song, “Chattanooga Choo Choo”, was written in 1941 by Harry Warren who wrote the words and Mack Gordon who wrote the music during a train ride on Southern Railways Birmingham Special. The recording made by Glenn Miller and his orchestra was an immediate hit and was number one for nine weeks on the Billboard Best Sellers chart.
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Author: 30literbackpack. Last updated: Mar 13, 2016