Remember when, Chattanooga? Can anyone identify this mystery photo?

This photograph of local teens in 1954 from the Chattanooga News-Free Press archive is found at

Girls in pin curls and Bobby socks. Boys in starched shirts and pressed trousers. All of them sipping Coca-Cola from little bottles.

Who are these people?

Here's what we know: The year was 1953. The photo is originally from the archives of the Chattanooga News-Free Press. The people in the photo would probably be in their mid-80s by now.

If you know more, maybe you can help us determine when, where and why this photo was taken. Please email me at if you can solve the mystery.

"I like it because it represents an iconic scene at the beginning of a golden age in American history," said Sam Hall, curator of the photographic website, where this image now lives along with hundreds of other vintage shots

This photo represents the beginning of a new weekly feature we hope you will enjoy. In the coming weeks, the Times Free Press will present a new online photo series called "Remember when, Chattanooga?" Be sure to join our new Facebook group where we will share even more old photos at

The photos we specifically feature here will be available at

Next week, we will remember the old Rogers Theater on Market Street, which was torn down in 1980. "Ben Hur" memories, anyone?

The photos in "Remember when, Chattanooga?" will be on loan from (formerly Hall, the creator of the website, is an EPB employee and amateur historian who started collecting and digitally publishing vintage photos of Chattanooga in 2014.

Readers who want to take a deeper dive into the photos will be directed to Hall's website, where advanced imagining technology will allow you to magnify the photos using your computer mouse.

For now, "Remember when, Chattanooga?" will feature mid-20th-century photos from three collections: local newspaper archives housed at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Library and the Chattanooga Public Library, a collection of photos from longtime city of Chattanooga employee Perry Mayo, and images collected over the years by EPB staff.

Hall, a photography buff, said he started the website to preserve old images of Chattanooga that might have otherwise wound up in the dust bin of history. He hopes the new photo series will prompt people to share old photo negatives and possibly even plates to be digitized and added to the website.

"My interests began with the discovery that original photographs, and especially negatives from 100 years ago, are much more detailed than I imagined," Hall said.

"Finding, sharing and identifying what remains of those photographic treasures is my mission," he added. "We're losing our past rapidly as photos are thrown away, or film deteriorates over time."

In the coming weeks, we will feature vintage aerial photos of downtown Chattanooga, old restaurants that have come and gone, overviews of highway and bridge construction, and shots of downtown businesses that were part of the landscape more than 50 years ago.

So, if you ever ate at the original Shoney's restaurant on Hixson Pike, or remember the opening of the Olgiati Bridge, or ever shopped in the old A&P grocery store in North Chattanooga, be sure and check out "Remember when, Chattanooga?"

Memory lane, here we come.

View other columns by Mark Kennedy

Contact Mark Kennedy at or 423-757-6645.

More Info

Launched by history enthusiast Sam Hall in 2014, is designed to preserve historical images in the highest resolution available. If you have photo old negatives, glass plate negatives, or original non‐digital prints taken in the Chattanooga area, contact Sam Hall at for information on how they may qualify to be digitized and preserved at no charge.