ChattState Chapel Dialogue

Wednesday, July 2, 2014
(The year is 2020. The setting is the James Catanzaro Wildlife Refuge at Chattanooga State. Two students enter the woodsy retreat on the edge of the Tennessee River and take seats on a bench near a stream.)
 
 Girl: What a wonderful place. No cars. No noise. No unfinished paper on "Seinfeld's" impact on TV comedy staring me in the face. Just bird songs and leaves rustling. It’s almost holy.
 
Guy: And to think this site came close to going the way of most green spots on campus.
Jim Catanzaro, the school’s former president, wanted to erect a multi-million dollar, 7,000-square-foot chapel with flying buttresses right here.
Girl: Get out!
Guy: Hey, no shoving. Yes, seriously. Catanzaro said students told him they needed a place for spiritual reflection and for meetings.
Girl: They couldn’t find anywhere to meet on a campus with more than 20 buildings? Help me, Rhonda!
Guy: And if it’s a church you want for meditation, well, this is Chattanooga. Pitch a penny and it'll wind up in a collection plate.
Girl: And what about the separation of church and state? UTC has two chapels, yes, but both were erected long before it became part of the UT system.
Guy: Even if you grant that a place of worship is appropriate for a college campus, the preliminary rendering of the chapel looked like a cathedral. I don't recall flying buttresses in mosques or synagogues. So much for multi-faith accommodation.
Girl: And how about the cost of heating and cooling and maintaining the chapel, not to mention the Carbon Bigfootprint created by such a structure. By the bye, how was the chapel to be financed?
Guy: Catanzaro said the private sector would fund construction costs.
Girl. But that would have meant precious private dollars that could have been directed to student scholarships, faculty raises and curriculum expansion would be squandered on … well, a monument to Catanzaro.
Guy: And then there was the major objection to the project. With so many of the earth’s species under siege, the plan would have destroyed yet another wildlife habitat. The space under consideration for development was -- and thankfully -- is a wetlands.
Girl: Moses, smell the roses.
Guy: People smelled the coffee and woke up. Members of the State Board of Regents heard so many complaints from folks fed up with wasted dollars and indifference to our environment they refused to approve the chapel.
Girl: Was Catanzaro angry as an old man trying to send soup back in a deli?
Guy: To his credit, Catanzaro gracefully accepted the rejection of his misguided plan and seemed pleased that the preserve was named in his honor.
Girl: He should have been pleased. This is a local treasure. Hard to think that every day places like this become rarer. Makes me tear up. But please don't tell anyone.

Guy: It's in the vault, my friend. It's in the vault.

Carolyn Mitchell



Happy Birthday ToThe Williams/Hardy House

The Williams/Hardy House celebrates its 90th anniversary on Lookout Mountain this year.  Designed by local architect Clarence T. Jones the main house was built for Mrs. Ethel Soper Hardy.  Work began in spring and completed by late summer to early fall in 1928.  The Williams family would later occupy the house for nearly 60 years before it was purchased by the National ... (click for more)

Seeking Information About American Lava/3M's Union And E.B. Russell

I saw your article online talking about American Lava/3M in Chattanooga. I am interested  in learning what I can about that company and the AIW local 222 that was  present there. I would love to know of any resources or individuals who can  give first-hand accounts of my grandfather E.B. Russell who was heavily  involved with the union. ... (click for more)

Man Shot In The Leg By Police On Tunnel Boulevard

A man was shot in the leg by police after responding to a disorder with a weapon call on Tunnel Boulevard on Saturday night.   The suspect suffered a gunshot wound to the leg.   Officers responded at 7:27 p.m. in the 400 block of Tunnel Boulevard.   Police said, "Upon arrival officers located a male suspect matching the description given by witnesses ... (click for more)

Floyd Charged With Fighting Police Officer On Station Street In Incident Caught On Video

Police have charged 21-year-old William Alexander Floyd after a fight with an officer on Station Street that was caught on video and quickly shared on social media. Floyd, of Ringgold, Ga., was charged with assault, disorderly conduct, vandalism, public intoxication and resisting arrest. Police said they were providing crowd control in front of Regans Dance Club when a fight ... (click for more)

Lookouts Break Out Their Bats In Saturday's Rain Shortened Game Beating Barons, 12-2

Birmingham AL --  On a wet night at Regions Field, the Birmingham Barons (32-36) fell to the Chattanooga Lookouts (36-33) by a 12-2 score on Saturday night in a rain-shortened contest. The Birmingham loss evens up the five-game series at two games each with one game to play in the first half. Rain and the Lookouts were the winners on Saturday night in Birmingham as the ... (click for more)

CFC Wins 2-0 At Inter Nashville FC

Chattanooga FC remained undefeated in NPSL play Wednesday night, beating Inter Nashville FC 2-0 in Nashville.   David Valenciano had CFC's first goal late in the first half.  Jose "Zeca" Ferraz scored the second goal minutes before the final whistle.  This is the fourth road game in the last two weeks and they play their final rode game at New ... (click for more)