Forgotten Streets
Chattanooga: 1901 vs. 2013

A research tool for Chattanooga History, now significantly upgraded

Use the slider to explore between layers.

A 2nd layer now includes High-resolution Orthoimagery from USGS. The 1901 layer has been expanded to include more areas to the East of downtown from Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps - manually assembled from public domain images.

The alignment is far from perfect, but gives a good representation of what stood block by block in 1901. Some map pages were incomplete and/or missing. Cameron Hill details were missing for 1901. I instead substituted 1917 information.

SOURCE: 1) Zella Armstrong, The History of Hamilton County and Chattanooga, TN


Sanborn Maps; originally created for assessing fire insurance liability in urbanized areas in the United States. Sanborn Maps include detailed information regarding town and building information in approximately 12,000 US towns and cities beginning in 1867.

The maps used here represent them in their most basic form; available through public libraries as individual PDFs. Maps published before 1923 are in the public domain. The current copyright holders, Environmental Data Resources , offer significantly more data and options.

Macadamized Roads

You may have noticed most roads in 1901 were shown as 'MACADAMIZED'. Macadam is a type of road construction named for the Scottish engineer who pioneered the method in the early 1820s. John Loudon McAdam found that native soil alone would support the road and traffic upon it, as long as it was covered by a road crust of layers of larger to smaller stones that would protect the soil underneath from water and wear. The automobile necessitated binding macadam with tar to reduce dust, which later gave way to asphalt.