Many things have been said about Chattanooga over the years. Some from folks who lived here, some from outsiders. Some comments were good, some not so. But it was one of the not-so-goods that sparked the city’s renaissance and led to a gushing wave of accolades for the city in the past decade.
In the late 1960s, Walter Cronkite announced that the EPA considered Chattanooga “America’s Dirtiest City,” a wicked slap that ticked off city leaders and forced them to make changes. Those alterations have made Chattanooga the clean, green machine that it is today.
The city now regularly winds up on “Best Of” lists, whether it’s for retirement, outdoor living or housing prices. Here are a few of the comments made about Chattanooga over the years, some from hometown residents and others from the outside looking in.
“Once among the most polluted cities in the country, Chattanooga cleaned itself up in the 1990s, and residents now pride themselves on green living and making the most of opportunities afforded by their surroundings.”
— Money Magazine, voting Chattanooga one of the Top 25 best places to retire
“Chattanooga just keeps getting better. Ditch your car, and discover new surprises around every bend.”
— Southern Living magazine
Chattanooga “feels more Midwestern than Southern, with hints of Europe along the river bluffs.”
— Atlanta magazine
“A very scenic, very happening, and very easy place to live, with unlimited options for climbing, caving, biking, hiking and paddling.”
— Outside magazine
“I’m a Southerner. I grew up on Missionary Ridge, a battlefield where Arthur MacArthur, Douglas MacArthur’s father, won his Medal of Honor when he was 17 years old.”
— Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, former editor of Newsweek, PBS anchor and current president at Random House
“When I was a kid growing up, I always wanted to do something that would cause the city to one day honor me.”
— The late Reggie White, NFL star who has a street and day named after him in Chattanooga
“I’m doing pretty good for a little guy from Chattanooga.”
— Music superstar Usher, who grew up in St. Elmo
“This will always be home. My mother and father both live here. So much family and so many friends, too. Whenever I can come back here and give something back to this community I will, because this community has given so much to me.”
— Dennis Haskins, who played Mr. Belding on “Saved By the Bell”