Chattanooga Claims to Fame

First Gold Record awarded for "Chattanooga Choo Choo"

The Glenn Miller Orchestra received the first gold record awarded by the music industry on Dec. 7, 1941, for the song “Chattanooga Choo Choo.” The song remained #1 for nine weeks on the Billboard Best Sellers charts. The record sold more than one million copies. 

World's first franchised Coca-Cola bottler

On July 21, 1899, Chattanooga attorneys Benjamin F. Thomas, Joseph B. Whitehead, and John T. Lupton signed an agreement with Asa Candler, president of the Coca-Cola Company, for exclusive rights to bottle the soft drink throughout most of the U.S. They bought the franchise bottling rights for $1 each. 

One of the largest murals in the Southeast

Meg Saligman, a world-renowned artist, led a team of local artists and community members to create the 42,000 sq. ft. “We Will Not Be Satisfied Until” mural. The mural wraps all four sides of the AT&T building on M.L.K. Boulevard and depicts the past, present, and future vision of the city’s M.L. King District, formerly known as the Big 9 District. 

First city in the world to provide the fastest internet

Chattanooga is known as “Gig City” for being the first city in the Western Hemisphere to build a community-wide fiber-optic network (spearheaded by the Electric Power Board of Chattanooga) delivering 1-gigabit internet speeds to every home and business in a 600 square-mile area in 2010, and in 2015, the first city in the world to provide the fastest internet at 10 Gig.

Tallest and deepest underground waterfall open to the public in the U.S.

Discovered in 1928 by Leo Lambert, Ruby Falls is located deep within Lookout Mountain and offers guided cavern tours leading to the 145-foot waterfall. In 2010, they became the first attraction in the U.S. to receive Green Globe Certification and were recognized for their leadership in tourism sustainability.  

One of the largest Truss bridges in the South

Completed in 1891, the 2,376-foot Walnut Street Bridge was deemed unsafe for motorized use in 1978. After a $4.5 million restoration, it was reopened in 1993 as one of the world’s longest pedestrian-only bridges. Today, it is part of the 20+ miles Tennessee Riverpark and connects the vibrant North and South shores of the Tennessee River while providing breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.  

First Hostel in the World to be LEED Platinum Certified

The Crash Pad, a boutique hostel and outdoor community hub, received this certification by the U.S. Green Business Council for their sustainability initiatives including the use of solar panels, reclaimed materials, and graywater filtration.  

First mid-sized city to establish an Innovation District

Located downtown in the city’s urban core, this district is the economic epicenter that drives the entrepreneurial community. The area includes tech startups, Edney Innovation Center, Enterprise Center, The Company Lab, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Tomorrow Building (micro- living apartments), Miller Park and Plaza, EPB, co-working space, eateries, shopping, and more. 

First airport in the U.S. to run 100% on solar energy

Operating solely on renewable energy since 2019, the Chattanooga Airport has a $10 million, 12-acre solar farm with photovoltaic panels that generate 2.64 megawatts of electricity. Other green initiatives include a stormwater system, green infrastructure, and electric car charging stations. 

Mini golf invented on Lookout Mountain

Garnet & Frieda Carter created the first Tom Thumb Golf course in 1927, which he named after the English folk character, followed by the Rock City attraction. Miniaturized versions of real golf was available in Europe, but Carter introduced a “fun” and whimsical mini golf that included tile, pipe, hollow logs, and other obstacles. There is a marked area recognizing the site inside of Rock City.  

Home of the world's only towing museum

The towing museum displays a replica of Ernest Holmes, Sr.’s 1913 Cadillac Sedan wrecker, restored wreckers from around the world, towing memorabilia, Hall of Fame featuring distinguished towing professionals, and a Wall of the Fallen memorial honoring men and women who lost their lives in the line of service.  

Invention of first towing (wrecker) vehicle

Using ropes tied to his 1913 Cadillac Sedan and blocks, Ernest Holmes, Sr. and six men struggled to retrieve a Model T Ford from a creek. This event inspired Holmes to create the first wrecker by installing a hand-cranked rigging system on the rear frame of his Cadillac. He received a patent in 1917 and founded the Ernest Holmes Co. in 1919 to build and market tow trucks. That company eventually became Miller Industries in Chattanooga and is now the largest manufacturer of towing equipment in the world. 

Home to one of the world's steepest passenger railways

Opened in 1895, the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway takes passengers from the St. Elmo Station (base of the mountain) up Lookout Mountain at an impressive 72.7% grade, while providing panoramic views through the roof made of windows. The railway is approximately one mile and dubbed “America’s most amazing mile.” 

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