The Times Free Press: Telling Chattanooga's story for the past 150 years

Alison Gerber

In the year following the devastation of the Civil War, many Chattanoogans struggled to rebuild and recapture their former success. Old financial empires, many built on slave labor, were decimated. Money to invest in labor and new equipment was in short supply. Times were so desperate the city's business community published in northern newspapers appeals to investors to come South to build their fortunes.

"Wanted Immediately Any Number of Carpet-Baggers to Come to Chattanooga and Settle," one such ad proclaimed.

photo Alison Gerber

As difficult as those times were, there were people who saw Chattanooga's potential.

The seeds of the town's birth as an industrial power were planted by Roane Iron Works. The company sought to take advantage of the rich mineral deposits found in the nearby mountains.