• Go to www.timesfreepress.com/cw150 for more coverage on the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Chickamauga.
When J. Pat Williams renewed his license plate earlier this year, he was a bit disappointed the state had not yet made a tag commemorating Tennessee's Civil War sesquicentennial.
Williams is a board member for Friends of the Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park.
At the time, County Clerk Bill Knowles said he hadn't heard anything from Nashville about 150th anniversary specialty tags. But it turns out, Williams was just ahead of the times.
"Two weeks ago, Bill Knowles called me and told me they were in," Williams said. "I've got the first one [in Hamilton County]. It's number 1,000 and it's already on my vehicle."
Knowles said Williams is the first, but not the only.
The clerk's office last week received the first block of sesquicentennial tags, and 80 of them already are spoken for.
The tags are available for new vehicle registrations or current tag holders, he said.
"If a car has a tag and it still has some life on it, we can prorate the difference," Knowles said.
That difference is an extra $35 for someone switching out a standard tag.
Billy Trout, spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Revenue, said 50 percent of the extra fee from each tag goes to the Tennessee Civil War Preservation Association, which seeks to preserve and maintain the state's Civil War battlefields. The remainder is split 40:10 between the Tennessee Arts Commission and the state highway fund, respectively.
Residents can find the tags at the clerk's offices at the Hamilton County Courthouse and Bonny Oaks Drive. Those who wish to swap a regular tag must bring the current plate, the tag receipt and a driver's license, Knowles said.
Contact staff writer Louie Brogdon at email@example.com or 423-757-6481.