Civil War and Chattanooga History
In 2013, Chattanooga will observe two significant anniversaries – the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War and the 175th Anniversary of the Cherokee Removal known as the “Trail of Tears.”
In honor of this anniversary, Chattanooga made a special (spoof) video to commemorate this important date. Click to watch
How did Chattanooga get its name?
The name “Chattanooga” comes from the Creek Indian word for “rock coming to a point.” This refers to Lookout Mountain which begins in Chattanooga and stretches 88 miles through Alabama and Georgia. The city itself started out with two different names: Ross’s Landing and Lookout City. In 1838, the city officially took the name of “Chattanooga.”
150th Anniversary of the Civil War
Throughout 2013, Chattanooga is commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Campaign for Chattanooga battles with a variety of special events, including the largest reenactment in the western theater for the Anniversary with more than 5,000+ Reenactors, an outdoor patriotic concert and the four-day Signature Event “Occupation and Liberation.”
Because of Chattanooga’s strategic location, river and rail systems, some of the hardest fought and most complex battles happened during the fall of 1863 on Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge. Because of Chattanooga’s strategic location, river and rail systems, Chattanooga was considered the gateway to the Deep South and an important location for both the Union and the Confederate armies.
Today, the Chickamauga Chattanooga National Military Park stands as the oldest and the largest military parks in the nation and was established through the efforts of Civil War veterans who came together from both armies in 1889. This Civil War battleground not only preserves, but also honors heroism, reconciliation and national reunification.
Get the list of all 150th Anniversary events including dinner & a show at Buttonwillow Civil War Theater, Civil War cruises aboard the River Gorge Explorer, train rides on the Tennessee Valley Railroad and exhibits at the Battles for Chattanooga, Creative Discovery Museum and Hunter Museum of American Art. For more information on all of the Civil War Attractions click here.
Native American History
Ross’s Landing, on the Chattanooga Riverfront, was established in 1816 by John Ross, a Chief of the Cherokee Indians. This area consisted of a ferry, warehouse and landing. With the organization of Hamilton County in 1819, Ross’s Landing served not only the Cherokee trade but also as a convenient business center for the county. In 1838, Cherokee parties left from Ross’s Landing for the West on what became known as the Trail of Tears.
Ross’s Landing Park and Plaza encompasses a four-acre area surrounding the Tennessee Aquarium and overlooking the Tennessee River and scenic landscapes. The park includes green spaces, a playground, a pier and The Passage, an area where people can play in water cascading down steps alongside six-foot clay medallions set into the wall representing specific aspects of the Cherokee tribes’ history.
In 2013, Chattanooga will also be commemorating the 175th Anniversary of the Cherokee Removal known as the “Trail of Tears.” Special programs will be presented by the National Park Service along with a lecture by the Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation (OK) and the dedication of the Federal Road at Moccasin Bend National Park.
Chattanooga’s train history dates back before the Civil War, and with our developed rail lines and river, we were a strategic location for many of the battles. Chattanooga was made famous by the Glenn Miller Orchestra, who recorded the first gold record with the song, “Chattanooga Choo Choo.”
Today, you can still be a part of the “Golden Age” and take a ride aboard a train at the Tennessee Valley Railroad or ride up Lookout Mountain on the steepest passenger railway in the world, the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway. Read more about Chattanooga’s Train History.
Be sure to check our events calendar by type for all history related events.
Civil War Living History at Chickamauga National Military Park
Bessie Smith Hall in Downtown Chattanooga celebrates Black History
Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum offers daily train rides on the rails of yesterday