When you think of Chattanooga, what comes to mind? (Contributed and file photos/ Getty Images)

When you think of Chattanooga, what comes to mind? Perhaps it's the city skyline or even "The Chattanooga Way" and the ever-present partnerships that continue to propel our city's renaissance, as evidenced by that skyline.

Or maybe it's ... MoonPies? After all, they were invented here in 1917, long before Chattanooga became known as the home of Little Debbie snack cakes. Or what about Krystal? Surely you knew the South's oldest burger chain originated here. Right? We thought so, but just in case, here are a few other homegrown claims to fame.


1. If you like to sleep in, you might end up reaching for Pert Plus 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner — invented by Diane Grob Schmidt, a graduate of Red Bank High School (Class of 1963) and the University of Chattanooga (Class of 1967). She holds the patent for the formula, which she developed while working as a chemist for Procter & Gamble.

2. When you think "wholesome," you might think of the 1950s and '60s sitcom "Leave It to Beaver." And now you can think of Chattanooga. The father, Ward Cleaver, was played by Hugh Beaumont, a graduate of Baylor School who then played football at the University of Chattanooga before moving to California.

3. Another black-and-white standard of the 1960s, "The Andy Griffith Show" starred Jim Nabors as the lovable Gomer Pyle. Nabors moved to Chattanooga when he was a young adult, and performed in several plays at the Little Theatre of Chattanooga (now the Chattanooga Theatre Centre) before moving to Los Angeles.

4. If you've ever been tempted by Krispy Kreme's neon "Hot Doughnuts Now" sign (and who hasn't?) you can blame Bob Glidden, who invented the sign in 1982 while general manager of the Brainerd Road location.

5. Whether you're a jam band fan or not, you've probably heard of sell-out Southern rock group Widespread Panic. One of the group's founding members, Michael "Mikey" Houser, graduated from Hixson High School before joining up with fellow founder John Bell at the University of Georgia. The band's name is derived from Houser's nickname: "Panic," which he earned for his then-frequent panic attacks.

6. Born in Chattanooga in 1938 and growing up in the segregated South, Elbert Howard went on to become one of the founding members of the Black Panthers while attending college in Oakland, California.

7. Emmy-winning actor Leslie Jordan, known for his role as Beverley Leslie on "Will & Grace" as well as multiple roles in the "American Horror Story" franchise, hails from the Scenic City. His latest show, "The Cool Kids," created and produced by "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" star Charlie Day, focuses on life in a senior living community, and premiered on the Fox network this fall.

8. George S. Clinton — not the rainbow-haired frontman of Parliament Funkadelic, but the composer best known for the "Austin Powers" theme song — was born in Chattanooga in 1947, though his musical career began in Nashville.

9. The next time your car breaks down and you're stuck on the side of the road, remember Chattanooga, birthplace of the tow truck. Local automobile mechanic Ernest W. Holmes Sr. was looking for a way to pull cars out of ditches to haul them to his garage and ended up designing the world's first wrecker in 1916 by mounting the towing apparatus on the back of his 1913 Cadillac limousine.

10. "Dude, you're getting a Dell!" Not really, but Ben Curtis, the actor who popularized the catchphrase in the company's early-2000s commercials, is from Chattanooga. A graduate of St. Nicholas School and The McCallie School, his first performances were illusion shows inspired by a meeting with David Copperfield.

11. We're serious about fresh breath here in Chattanooga — the sole location where the William Wrigley Jr. Co. has been producing Altoids breath mints since 2005. (Though the specially formulated peppermint lozenges use a recipe developed more than 200 years ago.)

12. Three native sons — Sam Gooden, Richard Brooks and Arthur Brooks — left a lasting impression on the national music scene, eventually becoming '60s swooners The Impressions. For their hits like "It's Alright" and "Gypsy Woman," they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.

13. Perhaps not surprisingly, Donald Trump's second wife, Marla Maples, was named homecoming queen her senior year of high school, before going on to become the 1984 runner-up to Miss Georgia USA and Miss Hawaiian Tropic in 1985. What is surprising is that her successful homecoming bid was at Northwest Whitfield High School in nearby Tunnel Hill, Ga.

14. These days, the words of Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and New York Times best-selling author Jon Meacham are played on the national stage. But prior to his rise to prominence, the native Chattanoogan could be found debating in the classrooms of his alma mater, The McCallie School.

15. Disney fans will surely recognize the voice of Betty Lou Gerson, narrator of "Cinderella" and the villainous Cruella De Vil in "One Hundred and One Dalmations," but they might not know that she was born in Chattanooga, though she was raised in Birmingham, Ala.

16. We're sure you've heard of fairy tale character Tom Thumb, but have you heard of Tom Thumb Golf? That's the name of the first patented miniature golf — built in 1927 by Lookout Mountain hotel owner Garnet Carter (and, later, Rock City Gardens founder) to draw people to the hotel.