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Determining the Facts

Reading 2: Promoting Chattanooga

The following excerpts are from Chattanooga and Hamilton County, Tenn., a guide published by the city government in 1896.

Many cities and counties possess some of the advantages that are found here, perhaps to an equal degree, but no other city or county in America possesses greater advantages. Chattanooga has every essential to future greatness, viz: healthful location, fertile soil, prosperous surroundings, abundant mineral and timber wealth, beautiful scenic attractions, rich historic associations, unsurpassed transportation facilities, a salubrious climate and a progressive and enlightened citizenship; the county has the most magnificent system of roads in the Southern states....

No city in the whole southern country has transportation facilities equal to Chattanooga. The Tennessee river, which almost entirely surrounds the city, is now open for navigation and vessels of six feet draught ply from Chattanooga to Ohio and Mississippi ports. Eleven separate and distinct lines of railway terminate here, diverging like the spokes of the wheel, to all points of the compass, representing five rival railway systems, close competitors, and wholly independent. The sharp competition between water and rail has materially reduced freight rates, and they become lower as the river traffic develops....

Chattanooga is the natural commercial entrepot of a district 200 miles square, in which 2,500,000 people reside. The river bottoms yield rich harvests of cereals and grasses, the mountains and ridges grow small fruits in abundance; over 1,000,000 pounds of berries, small fruits and early vegetables are annually shipped from Chattanooga to Northern markets, and Hamilton county is becoming one of the most important producers of early strawberries, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, grapes, and small fruits in the Southern states. Within 75 miles of Chattanooga nearly 100,000 bales of cotton are annually raised; the culture of tobacco and of hops is becoming an important industry, and peanuts and other leguminous plants are being extensively cultivated.

The area tributary to Chattanooga, is perhaps, the richest mineral region in America, as respects both quantity and diversity of resources. Coal and iron, limitless in quantity and of a uniformly high grade, are found in every hill and mountain; gold, silver, copper, zinc, lead, mica, asbestos, and gem stones are profitably mined within 75 miles of Chattanooga; white, black, and mottled marble, and good building stone are successfully quarried. Cement, slate, calcerous lime, kaolin, sand and potter’s clay are also found in inexhaustible quantities, and are being successfully operated. Poplar, pine, gum, cherry, cedar, ash, oak, hickory and other hard woods, are easily accessible from Chattanooga, in large quantities.

Questions for Reading 2

1. According to this brochure, what advantages did Chattanooga offer businessmen?

2. Which of the city's claims seem exaggerated?

3. If the city offered so many benefits, why did they have to advertise? Wouldn't investors have already known what a good place it was?

4. Why would the city mention nonbusiness features such as "scenic attractions" and "a progressive and enlightened citizenship"?

5. Do you think a brochure like this would have influenced businessmen's decisions about where to locate?

Reading 2 was excerpted from George W. Ochs, Chattanooga and Hamilton County, Tenn. (Chattanooga: Times Printing, 1896), 3-4.

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