Signal Mountain occupies a portion of Walden’s Ridge, a plateau on the lower end of the Appalachian Mountains just outside of Chattanooga. The Creek and Cherokee Indians who used this area for hunting sent smoke signals from the palisades overlooking Moccasin Bend, Williams Island, and the Tennessee River. Union soldiers also sent signals from this lookout, which is now part of Signal Point Park. In 1913, Charles E. James opened the Signal Mountain Inn, beginning the community’s development. Resort amenities included golf, swimming and boating on Rainbow Lake, a casino and dance hall, and daily walks to the mineral waters of Burnt Cabin Springs. During World War I, soldiers stationed at Fort Oglethorpe visited the area to spend time with their families. Dignitaries and movie stars arrived for the fine dining and clear mountain air. From this time on, the community grew by leaps and bounds.
About the Author
Author Mary Scott Norris is a lifelong resident of Signal Mountain. She worked as an archivist and librarian at the Signal Mountain Library. Now retired, Norris continues her work as a member of the town of Signal Mountain historical committee. She also writes a column for the Signal Mountain Mirror. Coauthor Priscilla N. Shartle is the author of a biography of Ellis Smith, one of Signal Mountain’s early letter carriers. She is a retired editor of the Signal Mountain Mirror. She and her family own the GRAPEViNE stores in Chattanooga.
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