Chattanooga in the Rain…

October 29, 2009

Weather for us has been pretty good, by and large; unfortunately, sometimes it’s bad when we want it to be good. Witness our short stay in Chattanooga. We arrived Monday evening, and planned some cool outdoor touring activities for Tuesday. Plan A. But Tuesday? No cooperate-o. Rainy day plan B called for, and there was some debate as to whether we should go out at all! But go out we did, and made our first stop a unique, one-of-a-kind place, the Towing Museum. The Towing Museum, on Broad Street in ChattanoogaP1190836Now, you have to realize that Jane and I have a history of singling out the less-traveled museum venues. How many people do you know who have visited the Jello Museum in LeRoy, NY, the Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Museum in Jamestown, NY, and the Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum in Gatlinburg, TN? That’s us. But more about towing history:

The first tow truck was invented in Chattanooga in 1916 by Ernest Holmes, and a patent was granted by the U.S. Patent Office in 1919. The museum is chock-a-block full of tow trucks of every size, from miniature toy tow-ers to huge behemoth machines capable of towing huge vehicles. On display was one tow truck clocked at 130 MPH, military tow trucks for hauling tanks out of holes, everything imagineable. There were also a series of old gas pumps there; I show the Mobil pump on the left, remarkable for the price/gallon it shows: 17.9 cents! Before my time, I can assure you! Check today’s gallery for some more examples, but be sure to visit this unique place in Chattanooga, if you ever get the chance!

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Chattanooga's Hunter Museum of Art

After leaving the Towing Museum, we slogged on to Chattanooga’s Hunter Museum of Art, which though fronted by this modern new facility, actually currently has its collections displayed in the beautiful old brick gallery of yore, which you’ll see in the gallery, of course. One of my favorites pieces in the Hunter was this large painting that I thought at first was representing a couple of black slaves pulling a barge?P1190871But in fact it’s a Chinese painting, depicting the toil and sweat of two Chinese laborers, as contrasted by the genteel finely crafted vase shown in the physical inset to the left. The gallery shows some other examples of paintings, including one of a Mary Cassatt, which my artist-in-residence wife Jane tells me is pretty rare to find.

From the Hunter Museum, we walked over to the Tennessee Aquarium via a glass-floored bridge, and managed to do so without slipping on the rainy slick surface! Lots of goodies in any aquarium, but my favorite subjects

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A Jelly Fish at Chattanooga's Tennessee Aquarium

were the Jelly Fish, like the one shown here. Rather than looking like a fish, the photograph looks like maybe the Crab Nebula or the like; very ethereal to me. Of course, there are other fishy photos and even a small alligator shown in the gallery, but don’t let me suggest you view them? 😉

To cap off our damp day, we visited the Chattanooga Choo Choo, a real train!

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The Chattanooga Choo Choo!

We were still getting wet when the Choo Choo shot was taken, and didn’t want to end the day with a case of Ah Choo, so we found (through Yelp on my iPhone) a wonderful restaurant, the Easy Seafood Bistro downtown on Broad Street, where we were delightfully wined and dined, a truly memorable meal. I had Hawaiian Walu (first time ever), a melt-in-your-mouth piece of succulence of which I savored every bite. Yum!

We stayed at Lookout Mountain while in Chattanooga, in a B&B that’s actually in Georgia, high up on the mountain just over the Tennessee border. But as Wednesday morning was drier, we decided to go visit the Lookout Mountain battlefield at Point Park, in Tennessee at the intersection of West Brow St. and East Brow St. There’s a museum there which we visited, relating a bunch of interesting info about how the Civil War was fought, and just how important places like Chattanooga were to the strategies of both the North and the South.

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John at a Confederate gun emplacement overlooking Chattanooga

OK, a moment of confession here. My Dad always said he was born right here in Chattanooga in 1906. (He’s been dead since 1972) Back in the 50s, he drove my Mother and me to Chattanooga, and showed us the house where his family lived when he was born. (I had no idea how to find that place again!) Then, he took us up to Lookout Mountain to enjoy this same view. Since he said he was orphaned at 7, we never really were able to find out much more about his origin and family. But for me, visiting Chattanooga and Lookout Mountain provided a feeling of closure, and I’m glad we did it.

In the next blog, we’ll do a sweep through Georgia, don’t miss it!

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2 Responses to “Chattanooga in the Rain…”

  1. Don McDonald said

    Great photos, once again. And now a “Towing Museum”—another one we’d never heard of—on the scale of unlikelyhood, it’s on a par, perhaps, with San Jose’s “Donut Museum” Lookout Mountain views—outstanding. I hope that when you saw the train, they had as background music the song, “Pardon me boy—is that the Chatanooga Choo Choo?” Thanks for your excellent rainy day Plan B! Don

  2. Rhys said

    You need to meet my wife. She’s not just a dentist. She’s a former member of Magna Carta, wrote a geneology book and her hobby is geneology. She has investigated my family back as far as 17th century. Drop me a line with your dad’s name and date of birth etc and she’ll find it all out for you.

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