Chattanooga History


Photos, documents, maps, and other unique resources of information about our city's past

To share the history of Chattanooga visually through images and interactive resources.

Locate and digitize unique photos and other content from donors and found acquisitions

Research and provide information about the locations and people in the photos.
To tell their stories.

Featured Content

Glass Plate Negatives - Set 10

People, porches, and the origin of Lindsay Street

Almost forgotten: The King's Bridge 1872-1917

The structure is a credit to the county, and the inauguration of its use was a pleasant occasion. With symetrical parts and a graceful curve it spans the stream...

The Williams Papers

Hundreds of historic documents reveal facts about the early settlers of Ross's Landing, and the Williams family.

Launched in 2014 as ‘DeepZoomChattanooga’, this site is maintained to serve as a place to present unique historical images and publications, as well as provide resources not easily available in the research of continual discoveries of our past.

Chattanooga Tennessee and surrounding areas share a rich history; from settlement, war, boom times, decline, and renaissance. In a tragic irony, it’s also one of the largest cities in the United States without a local history museum*. The reasons are complicated but are not for a lack of public interest. Curated collections and donated photos remain mostly inaccessbile and out of reach by the public. Our heritage is 'on hold'.

*Based on 2017 Census Bureau MSAs populations between 500K-1M. Defined as a publicly accessible venue featuring local area history without a niche focus on ethnicity, age, industry, or art. VIEW CHART OF MARKETS HERE

Site Search

Search by keywords across the entire website.

Special Collections

Perry Mayo Collection

History Shared: Perry Mayo generously donated a box of medium format black & white negatives. The photos were likely taken from the mid-1950s through the early 1960s. They capture some of the most active periods of infrastructure change in Chattanooga's history since the Civil War.

Stokes Photos

In 1922, his obituary described him as ‘one of the most prominent photographers of the city.’

Remarkably, a significant set of his photo collection has survived three generations. Stokes uniquely featured landmarks, buildings, and historic vistas.

Glass Plate Negatives

Glass plate negatives captured over 100 years ago represent daily life, homes, friends, and landmarks that are difficult to place in our current landscapes.

Here we see young men and women with gleams in their eyes - great grandmothers and great grandfathers in their prime around 1900. While all of their lives have come and gone, we get a remarkable glimpse into their world.

Projects: Digitized Newspapers

30,000+ pages of Chattanooga newspapers are now searchable online

After years of being told 'no' and frustrated with waiting for a formal organization to digitize Chattanooga historic newspapers, it was time to be proactive.

Thirty individuals donated to make this happen. It was only possible with the partnership of The Tennessee State Library and Archives, and digitization services of Jeffrey Kiley at Advantage Archives, as well as the man who has put more newspapers online than the Library of Congress; Tom Tryniski of Fulton County (NY) History.

Other links that include Chattanooga area digitized newspapers:

Search over 40,743,000 historical newspaper pages from the USA & Canada at: Fulton History
READ the FAQ (really) to fully understand how to use this powerful search engine!

The Georgia Historic Newspapers Archive is a project of the Digital Library of Georgia, including the Walker County Messenger

newspaper digitization