AOL Travel

Chattanooga History

Chattanooga has had its share of ups and downs; there is no doubt about that. When Cherokee leader Guwisguwi (a.k.a. John Ross) established Ross's Landing in 1816, where Broad Street is today, the area was home to the Cherokee. The U.S. government decided, however, that the Cherokee needed to move west to make room for "progress." Chattanooga's location made an ideal spot along the forced migration route for the government to set up an internment camp. The Trail of Tears, as the route became known, is now seen as a humanitarian black mark in our nation's history books. In 1850 the railroad came to Chattanooga and changed the focal point of activity in the city for decades to come. The city became a gateway from the North to the South, and the population grew significantly as people passing through decided to stay. Many bloody battles were fought during the Civil War period, including General Grant's taking of Lookout Mountain. After the Civil War, the railroad industry continued to boom, but as with Chattanooga's other glory days, this wasn't to last. In the 1980s, the city experienced a recession as industry began to change. The city was left with a diminished population and the pollution that comes with decades of rail and industry. What seemed like a dark, final chapter for Chattanooga, however, was really an opportunity. The city rolled up its sleeves and raised money for a makeover. The waterfront project alone took over $120 million and transformed a once-struggling city into this modern mecca on the banks of the Tennessee River.