Chattanooga History


During Hernando DeSoto’s 1540 expedition of the Americas, he passed through the Tennessee Valley to find a tremendous Cherokee Indian Village on the sight of what is now Moccassin Bend. The Chattanooga area was the last capital of the great Cherokee Nation.

Some time around 1815, Chief John Ross established a ferry and trading post on the Tennessee River on the spot now known as Ross’s Landing. The population and trade grew, and in 1839 Chattanooga (an Indian name meaning “rock rising to a point”) was incorporated as a town. A city charter was received in 1851.

When the Civil War broke out, the population of the city was only 5,545. But, because of its strategic location, Chattanooga became a key supply area for the Confederate Army. In 1863, the city was captured and occupied by Union forces.

During the end of the last century and the beginning of this century, Chattanooga began a period of rapid growth. The city not only thrived on the iron industry, textile manufacturing, and rail transportation, but also saw the establishment of other new businesses. The first Coca-Cola bottling franchise was granted to Chattanoogans in 1899.

In the mid-thirties, the Tennessee Valley Authority was established and began building dams to control floods and generate electricity. Chattanooga became known as the “Electric Center of the Nation.”

Today, Chattanooga continues its growth. Its downtown has undergone a renaissance. New parks have been built, new buildings erected and old ones renovated. A 22-mile stretch along the Tennessee river front has been transformed into a model river park with fishing piers, river walks, recreational and business areas – all anchored by the world’s largest freshwater aquarium. Young people clamor to live downtown where the action is. As Chattanooga approaches the 21st century, Herman Walldorf & Co. continues to be on the leading edge of the city’s growth with its downtown office.


Chattanooga enjoys a mild climate, characterized by cool winters and warm summers. Extreme cold is rare, and the annual average snowfall is 4.2 inches. Summer temperatures range in the 80’s and 90’s. The January average high is 49.5 degrees and the low is 32.0 degrees; the July average high is 88.6 degrees and the low is 68.8 degrees. The annual average temperature is 59.4 degrees, and the average annual precipitation is 52.09 inches.


Census Bureau Correction Results in 8.4% Increase in Population Estimate

Chattanooga, Tennessee – Mayor Ron Littlefield announced today a successful correction to the U.S. Census Bureau’s population estimate for the City of Chattanooga. An increase of 13,103 residents now brings the estimated population of Chattanooga to 168,293. this confirms what he have believed in our hearts: Chattanooga is a thriving and growing city. The investment in transforming our community from the most polluted forty years ago to one of the most desirable cities in America today is paying off, said Mayor LIttlefield.

Chattanooga’s growth at 8.2% outpaces Nashville, Knoxville, and Memphis since 1960. Nashville saw a 1.5% increase while Knoxville experienced a growth of 4.9% and Memphis 3.2%.

2006 Est. Census for Hamilton County – 313,258
2006 Est. Census for Chattanooga – 168,293
2006 Est. Census for Chattanooga MSA – 496,854