I knew I wasn’t crazy (although my colleagues here disagree with that statement) when I had said earlier that Georgia had land in Chattanooga. From Athens Banner-Herald:
It was where the Chattanooga Public Library now sits, where the TVA complex stands, where the Edney Building and the Pickle Barrel anchor Market Street, where the Tallan Building and EPB’s offices rise and where Miller Park offers downtown shade and respite.
“I heard the stories about it when I first came to Chattanooga 40 years ago,” said former Mayor Ron Littlefield.
Littlefield and others remember brass plaques embedded in the sidewalks and engraved with this message: “Property of the State of Georgia, leased to the State of Tennessee.”
That’s a few blocks from my office (my office building is bounded by 5th and 6th Streets and Walnut and Lookout Streets). The desire to put up a few small Georgia state flags in Miller Park has increased tenfold. Unfortunately, the brass plaques are no where to be found. I’m sure many Chattanoogans probably would like to not be reminded of the fact that the great state of Georgia owned large parcels of downtown Chattanooga (I blame the hipsters). In fact, there has been an uneasy relationship between the city and its neighboring state:
In 1926, Chattanooga Commissioner Ed Bass used a bit of trickery to speed along a Georgia secession. The sides were awaiting a court ruling on whether the city could use eminent domain to extend Broad Street from Ninth to Main Street — right through one of Georgia’s buildings.
“The city arranged to begin demolition for the construction of the road on a Saturday when the courthouse was closed and when obtaining an injunction to stop demolition would have been impossible,” according to a news account.
“Crews worked Saturday night and all day Sunday. In the early hours of Monday morning, with the city commissioner on hand to direct them, cars drove through the new road while a band played ‘Marching Through Georgia.’ ”
According to the history books, Bass and the city commission were unhindered when they razed the new road’s path.
Within a year, Bass was elected mayor, and he won re-election four times.
Georgia eventually agreed to the city’s use of the property to extend the road.
Our history has gotten a lot more interesting, and I believe it gives my nickname “Occupied Territory” more validity. Yes, I know, Georgia sold a lot of its holdings, but still.
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