From The Daily: Georgia Owned Part Of Chattanooga

May 6, 2013 11:10 am

by Nathan · 7 comments

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.

If you haven’t signed up for the Peach Pundit Daily, you really should.  Seriously.  Do it now.

Ken May 6, 2013 at 11:14 am

Verrrrrryyyyy interesting!

Well done, Nathan.

xdog May 6, 2013 at 11:42 am

Don’t tell the lege. They’ll want to expand their land-grabbing campaign.

Oh, and it’s Banner-Herald.

Left Turn Only May 6, 2013 at 1:40 pm

If we rescind the Yazoo land deal on the grounds of legislative corruption, we could tap into the Mississippi.
Of course, Georgia’s hoary and continuing penchant for legislative corruption is a very rich source, indeed, including the current rush to transfer tax dollars to corporate pockets, state constitution be damned.

Engineer May 7, 2013 at 2:54 pm

I could see Florida trying to join in on that. I’m sure they’d love to have their beaches and the panhandle stretch all the way to Louisiana. 😉

Ghost of William F Buckley May 6, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Last time I saw the word “hoary” used in a sentence was on the on the back of a bottle of Yukon Jack:

“Yukon Jack is a taste born of hoary nights, when lonely men struggled to keep their fires lit and cabins warm. Boldly flavorful yet surprisingly smooth, there is no spirit like Yukon Jack.”

Harry May 6, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Hoary, booze and the leg…got it.

Napoleon May 6, 2013 at 3:35 pm

It’s well established that when a government entity is acting as a private land holder, they are treated like any other land holder, no different than if a corporation or a private individual owned the land.

Territorial governance is a completely different issue and area of law.

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