A Visual Exploration of Chattanooga History

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


Our High Resolution Past

When scanned with today's digital technology, you may be amazed to see just how much detail was captured in photos over 100 years ago.

Commercial photographers first visited Chattanooga in late 1863, along with the Union Army during the US Civil War. From that point forward many views in and around the city were captured on glass plate negatives, and later film.

By the late 1800's photography was a hobby embraced by many - and was affordable to the middle class - whose parlors in 1900 typically included stacks of photos.

Chattanooga history

The Time Machine in your Grandparent's Closet

history closet

Hidden History is Forgotten History

The treasures of a great grandfather’s photo hobby are easily overlooked in a closet, or tossed out during a move. Every photo on this site exists because it was kept and shared. The future of undiscovered historical photos rests on individual awareness and actions.

If you have unique photos that include Chattanooga scenes, please share them by donating or digitally donating (I scan, then return).

NOTE: Only true photo prints (non-digitally printed), film and glass plate negatives are suitable for scanning in high resolution.

Special Collections

1928 Plat Book
1928 Plat Book
Stokes Photos
William Stokes Photos
Glass Plates
glass plate negatives

The Civil War in Chattanooga
Scanned by the Library of Congress
Civil War in Chattanooga

Newspaper Digitization - History on hold...

Chattanooga’s history is recorded in its newspapers. Yet, despite its rich history, Hamilton County, TN has few digitized newspapers.

Microfilm is not searchable and cumbersome to work with. There are options today to professionally scan & digitize historic newspaper microfilm at little to no cost to the loaning institutions. Images and OCR embedded files can be provided within a matter of days.


Who controls the past controls the future.
Who controls the present controls the past.
George Orwell

newspaper digitization

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