Cameron Hill as is was in its final months before being looped off for interstate road fill dirt and development. The hill was named for James Cameron, an artist who lived there and painted in the neighborhood during the 1850s. Once considered one of the finest in the city, it contained many antebellum mansions and at the time, the oldest houses remaining in Chattanooga.
P. R. 'Rudy' Olgiati
In the 1950s, the city began a 20-year effort to move railroad tracks from the downtown area and reroute trains into new yards. Despite protests, Mayor Peter Rudolph "Rudy" Olgiati and others spearheaded The West Side Renewal Project. It was a combined urban renewal and interstate project which would have considerable significance for Cameron Hill. The project covered 407 acres.
As city leaders had done over 100 years before him with the railroad lines, Mayor Olgiati was instrumental in ensuring the new Interstate highway routes came through Chattanooga.
Life was going pretty good for James Cameron until his wife accidentally killed him.
He was born in Scotland and moved to Philadelphia. He married another artist and they honeymooned and painted in Italy. After their return from Italy, they moved to Nashville where Cameron met Colonel James A. Whiteside. Colonel Whiteside invited Cameron to live in his guesthouse in Chattanooga on the hill that would be later named for him.
Cameron left the city during the Civil War, and returned afterwards to find the beautiful landscape ruined. Not wanting to wait around 20+ years for it to recover, he became a preacher and moved to California, later dying from that accidental poisoning.
The Wilmington Morning Star (Wilmington, North Carolina)
7 January 1882
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