Rock City is located high atop Lookout Mountain, overlooking Chattanooga, Tennessee. Come visit us!
postmarked in 2008 with a 'Star Wars, Bubba Fett' 41 cent stamp
History of Rock City:
Historical evidence indicates that Native Americans inhabited Lookout Mountain at one point. In 1823, two missionaries (Daniel S. Butrick and William Chamberlain) went to the area to minister to these Native Americans. Daniel Butrick made a journal entry on August 28, 1823 in which he described "a citadel of rocks" on top of the mountain, and noted the immense size of the boulders. He stated that they were arranged in a way "as to afford streets and lanes."
By the time the American Civil War reached the slopes of Lookout Mountain, more and more people had discovered what was already at that time being called the Rock City. During the Battle of Lookout Mountain, both a Union and a Confederate claimed that seven states could be seen from the summit of the mountain. The claims are independent and recorded in their own journals.
Hikers and geologists knew Rock City well throughout the late 1800s, but it did not become the attraction it is now until the 1900s. Garnet Carter's idea was to develop a residential neighborhood on top of the mountain. It was to be named Fairyland because of his wife's interest in European folklore. One feature of Fairyland was going to be a golf course, but Garnet decided instead to build a miniature golf course because the original took too long to build. He later franchised his miniature golf concept as Tom Thumb Golf, now recognized as the nation's first mini-golf course.
Fairyland was 700 acres (2.8 km2) and encompassed Rock City. Frieda Carter set out to develop the property into one big rock garden, taking string and marking a trail that wound its way around the giant rock formations, ending up at Lover's Leap. She also planted wildflowers and other plants along her trails. She imported German gnome statues and other famous fairytale characters, set up at spots throughout the trail. Garnet Carter realized that his wife had made an attraction that many people would be willing to pay for, and they made Rock City a public attraction in 1932.