Glass Plate Negatives | Set 7

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From the Charlie Coulter Glass Plate Collection.

Group Photo

Likely of a family & hired help - each person’s face hints at their story and their personal state of mind. On the front row, a man dons a watch fob from the Knights of Pythias; a fraternal organization and secret society. It reveals that he holds a Knight Degree and is a member of the ‘Uniformed Rank’, which participated in parades and other processions.

This was the golden age of secret societies and fraternal organizations. The 1903 Chattanooga City Directory listed 22 of them.

  • Ancient Order of United Workmen
  • B.P.O.E (Elks)
  • Confederate Veterans
  • Fraternal Censer
  • Fraternal Mystic Circle
  • Fraternal Union of America
  • Grand Army of the Republic
  • Improved Order of Heptasophs
  • Improved Order of Red Men
  • Independent order of Odd Fellows
  • Daughters of Rebekah
  • Junior Order United American Mechanics
  • Knights of Damon
  • Knights of Columbus
  • Knights of Honor
  • Knights of Pythias
  • Loyal Additional Benefit Association
  • National Union
  • Patriotic Order Sons of America
  • Royal Arcanum
  • Woodmen of the World
  • United Order of the Golden Cross
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From the Times Free Press Glass Plate Collection.


The new ‘iron bridge’ was a catalyst for Chattanooga’s growth to the north of the river in Hill City. Though this glass plate negative was poorly developed and contained some damage, many interesting points of interest can be noted including early development of Cameron Hill, a riverboat at the city wharf area. And, a very long drainage pipe of some kind from current-day Bluff View to the river.

The features are very similar to this view taken from Stringer’s Ridge - likely 1898-1900.

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From the Charlie Coulter Glass Plate Collection.

Elaborate Humor

One of several photos featuring young men going to great lengths to stage spoofed scenes. Camp Hobson was a military camp in Lithia Springs, GA that was used during the Spanish-American War. I suspect the tent came from that encampment, but is likely part of camping gear rather than active military duty.

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From the Charlie Coulter Glass Plate Collection.

Playing to the Camera

Your great-grandparents were quite the cut-ups. The ladies are supposed to be feigning grief over an execution scene but appear to be hiding their laughter instead.

The man with the blindfold has a paper bullseye target around his neck. Oh you kids!

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From the Charlie Coulter Glass Plate Collection.

Camp Dewey, Nashville

Capt. Fred Phillips Jr. reads the Chattanooga Daily Times from Nov. 30th, 1898. Mr. Phillip’s photo appears many times in two different glass plate negative collections and was likely friends with the photographer(s). An article on the paper headlined ‘Uneasiness in Macon’ is easily found in searches from other digitized newspapers - allowing us to know the date. Unfortunately, few Chattanooga newspapers are digitized. READ MORE

His home at 704 East 4th Street was also a well-documented structure (now a parking lot behind UTC’s McKenzie Arena).

Mr. Phillips had a varied and impressive career. By 1917 he was a Brigadier General and Secretary of the National Rifle Association. Yet he entered education after the Spanish American War. In 1905, was vice-Principal of Chattanooga High School. Had it not been for a blatant and cowardly political move by a superintendent in 1907, he would have likely stayed in education. The details are remarkable and worth reading.

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Source: TSLA | Digitization by: Tom Tryniski
“I have never sought to secure a place by running another man down. And, I think Mr. Gilbreath will find before he has done that that is a poor way to hold one. Any ambition I have had has been honest and open and there has been no back-stabbing about it… …it was the board’s province to elect any man it pleased. I only regret that the action was not delayed until I could be given a hearing.” -Prof. Fred H. Phillips, Jr.
NRA Publication;'Arms and the Man' - Jan. 18, 1917
From the Charlie Coulter Glass Plate Collection.

The new 'W' Road

This appears to be a view of a freshly cut 'W' Road up Walden's Ridge. Erosion prevention ‘waterbars’ can be seen placed in the sandstone above the road bed. The lack of overgrowth makes this one of the earliest views I’ve seen.

The 'W' Road was originally constructed in 1892-1893 through Roger's Gap in Walden's Ridge. Prior to that access to the top of Walden's Ridge had been via toll roads. Because this was a new route several large rocks had to be broken to clear the route. In May 1893 a crowd gathered to watch the explosion of dynamite that would remove the Hanging Rock, one of the larger boulders along the route. At one time a store, dance pavilion and post office were located at the top of the "W”.

SOURCE INFO: National Register of Historic Places

A sign posted on a tree reads “Home Comforts AT CONVERSE”. I assume this was one of many resorts targeted to the ‘city folk’ of the valley.

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