Chattanooga is a city full of beautiful mountain views, as well as lush valleys. One of these valleys is in the southern part of Hamilton County, at a junction between two ancient Indian trails next to the Tennessee River. Originally a home base for migrating Indians, it became a farming community for families from Mississippi. The name of St. Elmo was taken from a popular novel of the time, written by Augusta J. Evans Wilson.
Many of the buildings within the district have been named historical landmarks, which eventually led to the area being named a National Historical District. Growth for this district actually occurred due to a yellow fever epidemic. The highway of the time was a poorly graded toll road that prompted the completion of a better highway, the St. Elmo Turnpike, with an easier to navigate grading and a reduced toll rate. Many of the individuals looking to escape the yellow fever found themselves settling into this beautiful valley.
St. Elmo, Chattanooga
Throughout the following decades, a trolley and railway also provided additional options to connect St. Elmo with Chattanooga. Thus residents found themselves able to access work and entertainment amenities without dealing with the toll road or turnpike. The real estate boom of the 1880s was tied to the development of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. This military park is part of a process that is based on preserving important historical battlefields throughout the United States. Historically, this national park was one of the first of its kind and set the precedent for other national military and historical preservation efforts.
For those who love to visit and connect with history, St. Elmo provides its residents and visitors with that ability due to its close proximity to the National Military Park. There are also plenty of restaurants, shops and various galleries that provide residents with plenty to do. For those who love outdoor activities, there are multiple parks and outdoor recreation opportunities. Yet, if the weather is against you, there are also indoor rock and boulder climbing opportunities. In addition, there are plenty of historical homes and buildings to tour. From the 1800s to the 21st century, architectural enthusiasts can enjoy a wide variety of styles from the previous centuries.
Lookout Mountain is also home to the Incline Railway, which is one of the steepest passenger railway in the world. The railway leads to three of St. Elmo’s tourist attractions, which include Cavern Castle, Ruby Falls and Rock City. Passengers can also enjoy the amazing views of the mountain, Chattanooga and the Tennessee River. The railway also received its Historical Mechanical Engineering Landmark status in 1991. Tourists and residents alike can enjoy this blast from the past with current technology.
Today the population reflects its farming roots, with beautiful views and architecture. This suburb of Chattanooga gives all the benefits of country living with urban amenities. For residents who call St. Elmo home, there is plenty of reason to smile!