Underground Chattanooga

Useful Information

Location: Chattanooga city center. Downtown side of the Walnut Street Bridge, 100 Walnut St.
Open: All year daily 20:15.
Fee: Adults USD 14, Children (0-12) USD 9.
Groups (8+): discounts available.
Classification: SubterraneaCellar
Light: bring torch
Guided tours:
Address: Chattanooga Ghost Tours, Inc, 3144 Waterfront Drive, Chattanooga, TN 37419, Tel: +1-423-821-7125.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.




Underground Chattanooga is actually an abandoned level of the city, the former street level, which is now underground because the streets were raised and what was the first level became ground level. The reason were numerous floods by the Tennessee River at the end of the 19th and begin of the 20th century. The city was founded as a river trading post at Ross's Landing, and so it was only a few meters above the river. The flood in 1867 was almost 20 m higher than normal water level, and flooded the city so, and so the city started to raise the street level. The four streets Chestnut Street, Broad Street, Market Street, and Cherry Street between the river and Martin Luther King Boulevard, at this time known as 9th Street, were raised between one meter and five meters, depending n their original height. But the buildings were not rebuilt, only the shps and bars of the former ground level, which were now in the basement, were moved ut to the new ground level and the lower level was abandoned.

Today the underground city is almost forgotten, but it causes numerous problems. The original water and sewage pipes are not accessible, as the entrances were covered by the raised street. And unfortunately most of the material used to fill the streets in, was foundry sand, which was polluted and thus causes problems. Also it was not really a good idea to use sand, which tends to shift.

Unlike in other cities fo the U.S.A., the Chattanooga Underground is not open to the public. It was filled in more completely and so there are only some cellars accessible, not an underground maze of connected passages. But numerous parts of the underground are nevertheless accessible, so you should have a look at Big River Grille, Bijou Cinema, Radisson Read House, or Sports Barn. There might be visible signs of the old underground in the cellars of those buildings. And there is Chattanooga Ghost Tours, Inc, who offer ghost themed tours which include some "haunted" basements.