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The History of Chattanooga and Lookout Mountain

 The Indians called Lookout Mountain “Chatanuga Mountain”. This name is of Muskegon (Creek) origin and means “rock coming to an end”. Another source has Chatanuga translated as "mountains looking at each other". White men referred to the mountain as the Look Out for its spectacular view and because it served as a warning to rivermen to “look out” for dangerous sucks and swirls just beyond and for highway men who preyed on rivermen who stopped to avoid having to run the sucks at night . 

Ross's Landing

The city of Chattanooga was originally called Ross’s Landing (named for a trading area on the Tennessee River owned by John Ross). The name was changed to Chattanooga in 1838 (a modification of “Chatanuga”).


Chickamauga, located on the east side of Lookout Mountain, is a modification of the Indian name “Chickamawgee” (which means “boiling pot” referring to a dangerous area of whirlpools that existed on the Tennessee River near the mouth of Chickamauga Creek). Chickamawgee was a desolate and dangerous place in the 1700’s and encompassed an area that included the northern end of Lookout Mountain and the city of Chattanooga south to the Coosa River in Georgia. Cherokee War Chief Dragging Canoe established the Chickamauga Confederacy here and 100 years later it would become the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.



Lookout Mountain

Lookout Mountain is 83 miles long and runs northeasterly. It is 9 miles wide at its widest point and at the northern end it towers about 1500 feet above the Tennessee River and valleys below. Lookout Valley lies on the west side and Chattanooga Valley on the east. The northern end is known as Point Lookout (now Point Park or The Point). Moccasin Bend (so named because its shaped like an Indian moccasin) and Chattanooga lie just below The Point.

The Point is known for its spectacular view. It was advertised in the late 1800's that you could see seven states from here. 


Chattanooga is nestled among the mountains and rivers of southeast Tennessee. On its west lies Raccoon Mountain, Lookout Valley and the Tennessee River, on its north Walden's Ridge, on its east Missionary Ridge, and on its south Chattanooga Valley and Lookout Mountain. Chattanooga began as a river town in the late 1700's and early 1800's and became a railroad town in the mid 1800's. Due to its location on the Tennessee River, Chattanooga suffered many massive floods until the establishment of TVA and its system of dams in the 1930's.