Read more Chattanooga History Columns
- Gaston: Paul John Kruesi was Edison's right-hand man
- Robbins: The old Richardson's house and the Civil War
- Gaston: James Williams was a man of the world
- Raney: Mason Evans, the 'Wild Man of the Chilhowee'
- Gaston: The legacy of Adolph Ochs endures
- Martin: Ed Johnson said, 'I have a changed heart,' the day before his lynching in Chattanooga on 1906
- Thomas: The inventiveness of Judge Michael M. Allison
- Moore: Chattanooga's first Chinese community
- Summers, Robbins: Chattanooga's Tuskegee Airman - Joseph C. White
- McCallie: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 says so!
- Gaston: John McCline's Civil War - from slave to D.C. parade
- Raney: Exploring Chattanooga businesses in the Green Book
- Elliott: Remembering the Freedmen's Bureau in Chattanooga
- Gaston: Nancy Ward was a beloved, respected Tennessean
- Martin: Prohibition - the noble experiment
- Elliott: 'A shameful, disgraceful deed': The destruction of the Sewanee cornerstone
- Gaston: Robert Cravens was ironmaster, Chattanooga area's first commuter
- Robbins: Dr. T.H. McCallie's Christmas 1863
- Robbins: Journalist writes of a trip to Missionary Ridge in 1896
- Summers, Robbins: Mine 21 disaster - gone but not forgotten
- Elliott: Collegedale incorporates to avoid Sunday 'blue laws'
- Gaston: 'Marse Henry' Watterson's journalism fame began in Chattanooga
- Robbins: Orchard Knob battle recalled in 1895
- Elliott: Chattanoogans joined in an 'orgy of joy and gladness' on Armistice Day, 1918
- Thomas: Noted service, speakers are marks of Rotary Club of Chattanooga since 1914
- Summers and Robbins: Remembering noted Tennessee author North Callahan
- Raney: 'I auto cry, I auto laugh, I auto sign my autograph'
- Gaston: Sequoyah's alphabet enriched Cherokees
- Robbins: A look at Sam Divine's life during the Civil War
- Robbins: Memories of a Confederate nurse
- Robbins: More notes from Bradford Torrey's 1895 visit to Chickamauga Battlefield
- Robbins: Journalist in 1895 details visit to Chickamauga Battlefield
- Elliott: Telephone exchange firebombing was distraction for grocery store robbery
- Gaston: Worcester brought Christ's message to Cherokee at Brainerd Mission
- Robbins: 1896 travel diary: 'A Week on Walden's Ridge'
- Gaston: Elizabeth Strayhorn, WAC Commandant at Fort Oglethorpe
- Robbins: The history of the Friends of Moccasin Bend National Park
- Moore: Do you own a Sears Roebuck home?
- Summers and Robbins: Camp Nathan Bedford Forrest in World War II
- Gaston: Hiram Sanborn Chamberlain remembered
- Elliott: Daisy the center of tile, ceramic manufacturing in Hamilton County
- Gaston: FDR inaugurates the Chickamauga Dam
- Summers, Robbins: Interned WWII Germans had it easy at Camp Crossville
- Elliott: A war correspondent on Lookout Mountain
- Gaston: Chickamaugas finally bury hatchet in Tennessee Valley
- Gaston: Chickamaugas in Chattanooga
- Robbins: The history of the Riverbend festival
- Raney: Sadie Watson, the first woman elected in Hamilton County government
- Moore: Remembering Chattanooga's Hawkinsville community
- Elliott: Welsh coal miners transformed Soddy after the Civil War
- Gaston: Chattanooga's best-kept secret
- Elliott: Cabell Breckinridge loses his horse
- Raney: Martin Fleming is the people's judge
- Gaston: The amazing career of Francis Lynde
- Martin: Hamilton County's Name Sake: Alexander Hamilton
- Summers, Robbins: The crosses at Sewanee
- Bledsoe: The fiery truce at Kennesaw Mountain
- Moore: Talented architect's life cut short by tragedy
- Rydell: Chattanooga's place in soccer history
- Robbins: Tennessee Coal, member of the First Dow Jones Industrial Average
- Raney: In the barber chair
- Lanier: Becoming the Boyce Station Neighborhood Association
- McCallie: John P. Franklin: Living history among us
- Barr: Chattanooga's first railroad: The Underground Railroad
- Summers, Robbins: Charles Bartlett was a Pulitzer Prize winner, Kennedy confidant
- Rainey: 'We have seen it'
- Elliott: Feinting and fighting at Running Water Creek and Johnson's Crook
- Gaston: The Spring Frog Cabin at Audubon Acres
- Raney: Wauhatchie Pike was moonshine motorway
- Robbins: Oakmont was home of venerable Williams clan
- Summers and Robbins: Rebirth of the Mountain Goat Line
- Elliott: Bad investments led to Soddy Bank failure in 1930
- Summers and Robbins: Pearl Harbor attack left football behind
- Gaston: Jolly’s Island namesake had long ties with Sam Houston
- Return Jonathan Meigs, Indian Agent
- Moore: Did you know about St. Elmo's other two cemeteries?
- Summers: Orme - Marion County's almost lost community
- Davis: Spooky revival at Sharp Mountain in 1873
- Robbins: The story of Longholm
- Raney: Women labored to help the U.S. win World War I
- Even in the city, the 'wheel' changed everything
- Murray: Confederate dilemma after Chickamauga
- J.B. Collins — Newsman extraordinaire
- Robbins: The Story of the Lyndhurst Mansion
- Chattanooga artist and wife lost on the Lusitania
- Chattanooga History Column: Battelle, Alabama and the Battelle Institute
- John Ross, a founder of Chattanooga
- Hamilton County casualties in World War I
- Chattanooga Power Couple
- 'Somewhere in France'
- The Ray Moss family
- Battery B from Chattanooga
- Ulysses S. Grant, Clark B. Lagow, and the Chattanooga Bender
- Songbirds Museum Timeline
- Hamilton County World War 1 roster
- The Soddy Girl and the Memphis Belle
- Blues icon Bessie Smith was the Empress of Soul
- Women's Army Corps at Chickamauga
- Emma Bell Miles' life at the top of the 'W'
- The Tivoli Wurlitzer is one of Chattanooga's priceless assets
- Chattanooga in struggle for freedom during Civil War
- October 1918, Chattanooga paralyzed by Spanish flu epidemic
- Eli Lilly and the Ditch of Death
- One hundred years ago, Chattanooga goes to war
- The legacy of Anna Safley Houston
- Harriet Whiteside was ahead of her time
- Southern Adventist University
- Chattanooga native's writings aided Civil Rights movement
- Zion College, Chattanooga's only African American College
- The North Shore's hidden past
- Mayme Martin -- Businesswoman and community leader
- Thomas Sim's epic struggle for freedom
- Top of Cameron Hill was price of rerouting interstate
- Cameron Hill has rich history
- Temperance movement included Harriman university
- The sweetest music this side of Heaven
- Conquistadors at Chattanooga
- Chattanooga and the 'General'
- Chattanooga's first Thanksgiving, 1863
- Chattanooga's greatest flood caught city unaware
- Opening the Cracker Line
- European trip in 1900 enlightens Sophia Scholze Long
- Sophia Scholze Long spoke out when others were silent
- Little South Pittsburg and its big silent movie stars
- Lot attendant recalls hottest job in Chattanooga
- Chattanooga's Forest Hills is final resting place for known, unknown
- Burritt College -- Pioneer of the Cumberlands
- Chattanooga's nicknames trace city's evolution
- The 25th annual meeting of the Tennessee Press Association
- Clemons Brothers Furniture Store
- The Short Life of the USS Chattanooga
- Ellen Jarnagin McCallie lived a truly remarkable life
- Dr. Jonathan Bachman was a revered city father
- Second guessing the Confederate failure on Missionary Ridge
- Nancy Kefauver, ambassador for the arts
- William Gibbs McAdoo kept his Southern roots
- Chattanooga's Secretary of the Treasury
- Howard Baker remembered as a statesman/photographer who snapped history
- Tivoli's last picture show
- The history of one of Chattanooga's oldest businesses
- Chattanooga's roller derby skaters
- Myths of Coca-Cola in Chattanooga
- Chattanooga's neighborhood grocery stores
- The tale of the Scottsboro Boys
- The people's history of Chattanooga
- Howard School is Chattanooga's reminder of Reconstruction
- Elevator operator, painter, mystery man: meet Rice Carothers
- Raulston Schoolfield made enemies amid his rise to power
- Website lets users peer into Chattanooga's past
- The flood of 1917
- Chattanooga's 'wickedest woman' buried at Forest Hills
- History of Cummings Highway
Cummings Highway at the base of Lookout Mountain now functions primarily as an escape route from the congestion on I-24. But once it was part of the national highway system started in 1915 known as the "Dixie Highway."
Circuit Judge Michael Allison and Hamilton County Judge Will Cummings played important roles in establishing the more than 5,000-mile route from northern Michigan to Miami. The rapid development of the automobile in the early 1900s demonstrated a need for paved roads to traverse the country.
The original idea for the Dixie Highway came from Carl Graham Fisher, a native of Indiana and a land speculator who acquired large tracts of land near Miami heavily damaged by a hurricane. Fisher was experienced in promoting road building through his work with the Lincoln Highway connecting San Francisco to New York City.
By 1914, Fisher and his colleague from Michigan, W.S. Gilbreath, had created enough support for the north to south highway to present their plans to a meeting of the American Road Congress in Atlanta.
After receiving support for a national road system, the two speculators convinced Tennessee Gov. Tom C. Rye and Indiana Gov. Samuel M. Ralston to schedule an organizational meeting in Chattanooga on April 3, 1915.
Drivers in the Chattanooga Automobile Club strongly supported the idea of improved roads. More than 5,000 people attended the meeting, along with governors from seven states.
In reality, there were two routes of travel designated as Eastern and Western. Both went through Tennessee and Chattanooga.
On Oct. 9, 1915, the Dixie Highway Tour left Chicago in a caravan of 500 automobiles. About 50 cars were able to complete the trip to Miami. A headquarters was set up in the newly constructed Patten Hotel in Chattanooga, which was near the halfway point of the Chicago-Miami route. Five members of the Chattanooga Automobile Club, along with eight other mid-Westerners, pledged $1,000 each to form the Dixie Highway Association.
The original incorporators of the charter for the association included Chattanoogans T.R. Preston, founding president of Hamilton National Bank (now First Tennessee); C.E. James, president of Signal Mountain Land Co.; M.E. Temple, secretary of Chattanooga Furniture Co; John A. Patten, president of Chattanooga Medicine Co; C.H. Huston, vice president of Chattanooga Trust Co; and W.R. Long, president of Model Laundry Co.
Newspaper accounts described the heated discussions over proposed routes of travel as the "Second Battle of Chattanooga." Financing the route depended on local funds, and some counties and communities refused to participate.
Each of the seven states involved in the Dixie Highway had two directors. Circuit Judge M.M. Allison was elected president of the association and became instrumental in the successful completion of the highway after C.E. James refused to serve because of the route dispute.
A stone monument at the high point of the Dixie Highway on Suck Creek Mountain memorializes Judge Allison for his extraordinary leadership and support. Part of the inscription read that the highway "was founded upon his faith, his hope and his far vision; his indefatigable labor throughout the states wherein it winds its useful way made possible its realization."
Hamilton County Judge Will Cummings was also an important leader in the construction of the Dixie Highway. In 1906, he purchased a Dorris sedan in St. Louis and became the first Chattanoogan to own an automobile. Cummings recognized the need for a good highway system. Through his friendship with the Tennessee governor and other public officials, he obtained the first two federal aid grants for highway projects in the South - in the Wauhatchie Pike and Suck Creek areas.
The judge had extensive real estate holdings at Wauhatchie and was subsequently attacked by his political enemies of improving his own property with grant funds. Other businesses that later benefited from the creation of the Dixie Highway were Rock City and Ruby Falls, whose nationally known attractions continue to serve tourists today.
Much of the Dixie Highway was graded and paved by 1927 with the passage over Monteagle Mountain the last to be completed. The project demonstrated that road building during the early 20th century involved boosterism, business and political will. These efforts laid the foundation for economic development, the federal highway program and a changed landscape of the region.
Jerry Summers is an attorney at Summers, Rufolo, and Rodgers. Mickey Robbins, an investment adviser at Patten and Patten, contributed to this article. For more visit chattahistoricalassoc.org.