Picnic in the Park offers rare chance to pose at Umbrella Rock

Historians consider Umbrella Rock on Lookout Mountain Chattanooga's earliest tourist destination. Several vintage photos exist showing visitors perched atop the multilayered stone mound. The site was even popular for souvenir photos by Civil War soldiers.

If you go

› What: National Treasures: Centennial Picnic in the Park.› When: 5:30-8:30 p.m. today, Aug. 25.› Where: Point Park, 112 Point Park Road (off East Brow Road), Lookout Mountain.› Admission: $75 per person, $130 per couple.› Phone: 423-648-5623.

Lookout Mountain's Umbrella Rock is normally closed to the public, but the storied stone mound considered the area's first tourist destination will be ready for its closeup tonight, Aug. 25, during a party celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the National Park Service.

Organizers of the event, called National Treasures: Centennial Picnic in the Park, say guests will enjoy a traditional picnic-style buffet dinner, complimentary drinks, music from Chattanooga band The Power Players and a silent auction - all within sight of the breathtaking views from Point Park, which overlooks Moccasin Bend and downtown Chattanooga.

"Best of all, this party is the only opportunity all year to take pictures and selfies at the original tourist attraction, Umbrella Rock, which is closed to the public except for this event," says a news release.

Historians say Umbrella Rock was a popular place for souvenir photos during the Civil War. The location, with its scenic views, became symbolic of the Union Army's victory of Confederate forces in the Battle of Lookout Mountain.

Proceeds from tonight's event benefit the Friends of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park and its mission to preserve, restore and enhance the resources of the nation's oldest national military park.