Five rare views of Chattanooga recently surfaced and were acquired by Picnooga, a local history project. Each image was taken in the early 1890s from a position on Cameron Hill by an amateur photographer, Stephen Clay Dodge. Mr. Dodge was a photographic supply dealer, beekeeper, and electrician.
Four of the original prints are unpublished works by Mr. Dodge and were taken on the afternoon of June 16, 1890. The other was taken a year or two later.
Two of the images show the only known close-up views of the short-lived Cameron Hill Incline, part of an Incline car, and the casino and beer garden that once was located on top of Cameron Hill. Other views show the construction of the piers of the Walnut Street Bridge, a sweeping view of the city, and the Walnut Street Bridge shortly after its construction.
“These are the clearest images of Chattanooga from Cameron Hill for this period and the detail is amazing,” said David Moon, founder of Picnooga. “Already they are causing a buzz from local historians.”
Mr. Moon said, "Picnooga brings Chattanooga history to the surface and makes it available to everyone. Forgotten images hidden away in closets or private collections like these are scarce. Most of Picnooga’s funding comes directly from public crowdfunding."
Picnooga is in the initial planning stages of an industrial history museum in Chattanooga. Find out how to get involved by visiting http://maker.center
Mr. Moon said, "A very special thanks for Sam Hall of Chattanoogahistory.com for helping to make these available online. Also a huge thanks to Picnooga’s supporters for giving up an opportunity to secure these images and share them with everyone."