CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – The American Battlefield Trust has committed the money to save an historic building in Lookout Valley.
Brown’s Tavern is one of the oldest structures in the Chattanooga area.
Its history includes chapters in the Civil War and the Trail of Tears.
Rock City owner Bill Chapin has been trying to get the site near Brown’s Ferry saved for posterity.
Other state and federal grants secured the site.
But now the American Battlefield Trust will transfer the 9 acres over to National Park Partners.
“The American Battlefield Trust is dedicated to the protection of hallowed ground,” said organization President James Lighthizer.
“But protecting properties like this one, whose significance stretches across multiple eras and narratives, is particularly sweet.”
The original Brown’s Tavern is a log building dating back to 1803, still standing today.
It was operated by Cherokee businessman John Brown who ran the ferry that bore his name.
He fought for the United States as a Cherokee soldier in the War of 1812.
But his family was forced to leave the property during the Cherokee Removal in 1838.
Brown’s Tavern is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is included as a stop on the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.
But History wasn’t done with the property at that point.
In September of 1863, the tavern found itself in the middle of the Battle of Chattanooga.
Brown’s Ferry was one of the last supply lines for Union troops trapped in Chattanooga by the Confederates.
The Battle of Brown’s Ferry on October 27 was fought to secure the “Cracker Line” of supplies from the Confederates overhead on Lookout Mountain.
Without that victory, General Grant would never have built up the forces he needed to win the battle of Chattanooga a month later.
Bill Chapin says “All residents of Chattanooga, Hamilton County and Tennessee, plus American history enthusiasts, should be pleased to know that this incredible piece of American history will face no further threats.”
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