From the founder of Picnooga, David Moon, Chattanooga Then elevates and shares Chattanooga’s history through photographs, postcards, and other historical artifacts.

Point Lookout in 1886

Thousands of images like this were produced at Point Lookout from the Union occupation of Chattanooga in 1863 until the early-1900s. Even though they aren’t hard to find, these images are still very collectible.

What is notable about this image is the Point Hotel below the bluff. It is common to see the hotel, which sat below the lookout in these photographs, but when you look closely, you notice that it is nearing its completion in 1886. I’ve only bumped into two other photographs with the Point Hotel in various states of completion. This later stage is fascinating, as in the other two images I’ve encountered, the hotel was merely a framed-out shell without a roof or upper floors.

The hotel would only serve fifteen years of usefulness and closed soon after the Incline No. 1 no longer provided service in 1898. Although the articles below from the early 20th century indicate several attempts to revive the first incline and the hotel. No doubt, the costly conversion from steam to electricity of the Incline railway and a remodel of the Point Hotel prohibited a comeback. Also, resort areas around Sunset Rock began falling out of popularity and could just as easily be accessed by the Incline No. 2 and electric streetcars.

The decaying Hotel remained a fixture on Lookout Mountain until a fire in September 1914. Until that point, the cupola could be seen in photographs of Umbrella Rock.

This photo stamped J. B. Linn on the verso, The men are unidentified. There is often a misconception that these were probably Civil War veterans. Although possible, many reunions and conventions were held on Lookout and in the City. It was common to visit the mountain and have your group’s photograph made as a memento of the visit.

*When crediting photos, please use "Courtesy of NoogaHistory.com."
No Copyright – United States

News clippings:

The Craven House and the Point Lookout Hotel, Lookout Mountain – Courtesy of the Library of Congress

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