Saturday, November 13, 2010

Know the 'Noog

Magnet # 393:  Chattanooga Landscape, Choo-Choo

Material:  Wood, Laminated Paper

Purchased By:  Lindsay

Tennessee's fourth largest city, Chattanooga, was incorporated on this day in 1838.  It had been officially settled by the Cherokee Indians as Ross's Landing in 1816 and became an important part of the Cherokee Nation settlement.  But when they were forced to relocated to Oklahoma as part of the Trail of Tears, eager Americans flooded into the area, taking advantage of its prime location off of the Tennessee River.  Soon, it was renamed, but oddly enough, its new name was even more indicative of the location's Native American heritage.  It's believed to be derived from the Muskogee words for rock and dwelling place.  Business went pretty well there thanks to the commerce the river brought in, but when the railroad reached Chattanooga in 1850, its economy really took off.  It was a meeting point for Northern produce and Southern cotton, both of which helped the town to thrive.  After the Civil War, part of which was fought there, Chattanooga became even more industrial, transforming into a major railroad hub and manufacturing center, earning it the nickname of the "Dynamo of Dixie" by the 1930s.  Unfortunately, the same progress that fueled the city also marred its scenic beauty and industrial pollutants clogged the air and covered the nearby areas.  It was declared the city in the dirtiest air in the country in 1969.  Combined with economic downturn, this dire situation could have doomed the city.  But both its wealthy citizens and government have worked hard to restore the historic waterfront and clean the area up.  A new life has been breathed into Chattanooga with its new image and thriving businesses.  And the rest of the United States has taken note - it's won national awards for being an ideal location in which to live, including coming in eighth on Forbes magazine's list of 100 largest metropolitan areas which offer the best "Bang For Your Buck."  It's great to see how life has turned around for this somewhat idyllic spot.

Given that it's pretty close to Alabama, I traveled to Chattanooga, or the 'Noog, a few times both when I was growing up and more recently.  With its scenic waterfront, towering nearby Lookout Point, and underground caverns, it's home to quite a few impressive attractions.  Lookout Mountain is technically in Georgia, but it's actually a suburb of Chattanooga.  It's home to two noteworthy attractions - Ruby Falls and Rock City, and I visited both when I was a child.  Ruby Falls is actually inside the mountain and is a 145-foot high waterfall surrounded by scenic limestone rock.  And Rock City is located on the top of the mountain - it's a site filled with unusual rock formations, gardens, Fairyland Caverns, Mother Goose Village, and Lover's Leap, which offers some pretty stunning views.  Of course, I also remember coming across some of the "See Rock City" ads painted on barns all over the region when I was growing up.  Nowadays, a combination ticket to the two attractions and the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway is also available.  My Mom and I also enjoyed going down another local mountain on alpine slides together.  Back then, I was small enough to fit on one with her and it was really fun!  And while I don't remember most of the restaurants I've eaten at in Chattanooga, there is one that's stuck in my mind - the Acropolis.  My folks and I came upon it during our trip to the Great Smoky Mountains last year.  While we had planned on eating there, we had no idea where to stop.  My Mom spotted a nice looking mall and suggested we get off of I-75 there.  And the Acropolis was the first restaurant we all agreed upon.  They have an extensive menu - you can either go with Mediterranean cuisine or have more typical American fare - and their prices are very reasonable.  I particularly enjoyed their garlic mashed potatoes.  We liked it so much that we even stopped back on our way home, which just happened to be Free Cookie Friday.  They have an on-site bakery that offers some delicious cookies that are pretty different from oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip.  On their website,, they mention that they're currently celebrating their 15th anniversary.  With their great food and pleasant atmosphere, it's easy to understand why.  I recommended it to a friend of mine here in Savannah before she headed out on a road trip and she really liked it, too.  During that trip, we also stopped by the Tennessee Aquarium, which was built back in 1992.  It was really nice and had two different buildings for visitors to explore.  The nearby Visitor's Center was also great and had a nice selection of magnets at bargain prices.  I will definitely stop by this great city the next chance I get, and that might not be a long wait.  My friend Lindsay is also pretty fond of Chattanooga - heck, she bought me this magnet there - and has been talking about doing a Stock Party, where artists and models get together to take photo reference, at Rock City for awhile.  I hope it happens - this place is just so much fun to visit.  And I even know a great place we can head to for dinner afterwards.


  1. I wonder if that slide in TN still exists - but do you remember the first time we went down one of those slides in Germany?

  2. Try as I might, I just can't. You'll have to refresh my memory.