The ChattaStory Project

Have you ever seen a culturally significant site or prominent physical feature in the Chattanooga area and asked yourselfWhy is this located here and look the way it does? …How did this come to be and change through time? …Did any historic events happen here? …What plants, animals, and natural resources are found here? …What interesting things can you see and do here?

If so, you’re in luck! A team of students and professors from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) have undertaken a project to answer those questions and more!

The ChattaStory Project aims to engage and connect people with places by immersing them in the geography, geology, and history of local sites using interactive ESRI ArcGIS StoryMaps. The StoryMaps can be viewed on a computer, phone, or tablet.

Select a site below to begin exploring today!

Follow and use #chattastory to discover and share while using our StoryMaps.

We hope you enjoy engaging with these places digitally and in person, and feel more connected to the foundations of Chattanooga.

Stringer's Ridge is an urban park designed for those who want to explore the natural environment through hiking, running, and biking. This long, narrow ridge holds a rich history that spans from hundreds of millions of years ago to today - from the bottom of an ancient sea to community driven conservation, and much more in between.

Image: Deep Zoom Chattanooga and Library of Congress Digital Archive 1902.

Now home to the headquarters of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Cameron Hill was formerly home to: a mud-caked seafloor, a civil-war battlefield, a railway incline, a casino, several ornate mansions, a small park, an apartment complex, a feral cat colony, and a failed attempt to save it from development.

Image: Federal soldiers on Cameron Hill (1864). Courtesy of the Chattanooga Public Library.

If you stand at the corner of Georgia and McCallie Ave. in Chattanooga, you'll see an old stone steeple, all that remains of a church. This structure and stone from the original foundation offer a glimpse into the history of Chattanooga - from when it was covered in a warm shallow ancient ocean to the people who played a role in building today's Chattanooga community.

Image: The Old Stone Church and the Patten Parrish House. (n.d.) (Unknown photographer) Courtesy of the Chattanooga Public Library and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Special Collections.

Standing tall on a 450 million year old rock hill in Chattanooga, TN, is the Clarence T. Jones Observatory. Built in 1937, this nearly 100 year-old structure has offered crowded viewings of Mars, monthly opportunities to look through the original telescope made in Chattanooga, and a perspective of vastness that connects us all to each other and the universe.

Image: Hannah Bowman (2021)

Coming Soon...

Walnut Street Bridge

Image: by Amy Brock-Hon

Moccasin Bend National Archeological District

Image: by Brian Stansberry, CC BY 3.0

If you are 18 years or older, please complete the short survey at the end of each StoryMap, so we can assess the effectiveness of StoryMaps as a tool to increase community engagement and knowledge of local geography, geology, and history in Chattanooga, TN.

Background and Funding

These StoryMaps and their components were created by Dr. Shannon McCarragher (SIUE) and Dr. Amy Brock-Hon (UTC), with undergraduate students (in alphabetical order): Nathan Collyer, Caleb Mathais, and Katie Spivey.

Special thanks to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Special Collections and the Chattanooga Public Library.

The project was funded by a 2018 URaCE Smart Cities grant from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Do you have a location or topic idea that you'd like included in The ChattaStory Project, or would like to give feedback on the StoryMaps above? Please contact