This 1989 photo featured in the Chattanooga News-Free Press recalls a time when the Tennessee riverfront downtown was little more than a muddy shoreline.
This image of a fisherman, taken by former newspaper staff photographer Laura Walker, appeared on the cover of the local news section on March 7, 1989. The caption was headlined "Angling Into Spring."
In the ensuing two decades, the area of downtown pictured here would be transformed into a tourism, business and park district anchored by the Tennessee Aquarium, which opened in 1992. After that, the area continued to evolve, with the opening of the Chattanooga Visitors Center in 1993, the Creative Discovery Museum in 1995 and the IMAX 3D Theater in 1996.
Two of the three bridges in the photo would also be transformed. In 1993, the Walnut Street Bridge, in the middle, was reopened as a pedestrian bridge after being idle for many years. The Market Street Bridge (also known as the Chief John Ross Bridge), in the foreground, was painted "Chattanooga blue" and refurbished.
History enthusiast Sam Hall, curator of ChattanoogaHistory.com, said he recovered this photograph from an estate sale. It, along with other photos in the "Remember When, Chattanooga?" series, are archived at the website.
Launched by history enthusiast Sam Hall in 2014, ChattanoogaHistory.com is maintained to present historical images in the highest resolution available.
If you have photo negatives, glass plate negatives or original non-digital prints taken in the Chattanooga area, contact Sam Hall for information on how they may qualify to be digitized and preserved at no charge.
The full caption with this photo in 1989, read: "Sunny skies, warm temperatures and a gentle breeze often lure thousands of avid area fishermen to the water to wet their lines. This lone angler enjoys a quiet spring outing at Ross's Landing near the Chief John Ross, Walnut Street and Veterans bridges."
Today, the vantage point in this photo is in the area of the Tennessee Aquarium fountains, where pedestrians can look across the Tennessee River toward the Tennessee Riverwalk and Coolidge Park on the northern shore.
The so-called North Shore district, which has become a major residential and retail area, was further enhanced by the $120-million, 129-acre 21st Century Waterfront project spearheaded in the early 2000s by then-mayor Bob Corker, who later became a United States senator.
Follow the Remember When, Chattanooga? public group on Facebook.