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The History

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Wauhatchie Woodlands and the May family sit on about 26 acres of heavily wooded land at the intersection of Lookout Creek and the Tennessee River at the base of Lookout Mountain across from Moccasin Bend.  While all the dwellings sit north of Cummings Highway, Riverside, seven acres sit between Cumming and Old Wauhatchie Pike just a mile from Broad Street and Chattanooga’s popular South Side.  The area is rich in vegetation from vines, thick undergrowth, and old, tall Appalachian trees.  It’s also rich in bedrock outcroppings from the Mountain.  But less obvious is just how rich the history of this land is.

The Cherokee had a vast and thriving nation spread around Southeast TN, and Northwest, GA, and Western Carolina.  The Cherokee were divided and led in different tribes, one of which inhabited the land in what is now Lookout Valley.  The area was rich in wildlife and resources and offered many geological features from the creek to river to the various caves dotted around the area, providing the Cherokee with an ideal and versatile habitat.  Just a couple hundred yards from the eastern edge of the property is the great opening to the once-famous Lookout Mountain Caverns.  The cave itself was closed when the railroad cut a mile-long tunnel through the base of Lookout Mountain, but for centuries, it had functioned as a refuge for the Cherokee in the area and a makeshift hospital shelter in the Civil War.  The cave itself if a vast network of caves that includes over three miles of charted passageways on various levels and also boasts of a robust underground creek, the famous Ruby Falls, and the less known but even taller Mystery Falls (also closed).

But to keep things brief, we will hit just the highlights over the past 200 years or so.  Skyuka comes from a Cherokee chief born in the early 1700s named Skyuka Wauhatchie Glass.  He passed away later in the 18th century, most likely before the revolutionary war.  However, near Ruby Falls you will find a plaque commemorating what has been dubbed the Last Battle of the American Revolution which saw John Sevier lead a raid against the Cherokee here at the base of Lookout Mountain.  He and his troops were, according to the account, parked across the river at Moccasin Bend and made a crossing for battle in the face of the enemy.  In this battle, presumably in 1882, Sevier and his company trumped, however, there is a less discussed skirmish that occurred in 1788 because, in the latter one, the Chickamaugans won.

Chief Wauhatchie led the local Cherokee tribe from this position in the 19th century until the Cherokee were forcibly displaced by President Jackson in the now famous (or infamous) Trail of Tears.  He served the US army under Captain John Brown and General Andrew Jackson in the war of 1812 in a company of Cherokee that fought the Creek Indians.  The native population of Cherokee was removed in 1838 to Oklahoma and little is known of this particular piece of land until the civil war erupted.

After the north retreated from their defeat at Chickamauga, they had to secure supply lines into Chattanooga.  The south occupied the high ground on Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge, so Grant and Thomas conceived of a cracker line operation to open up supplies to Chattanooga from the west by launching across the river at Moccasin Bend.  The goal was to land at Brown’s Ferry and clear the southern troops from defensive positions in the Valley.  Chattanooga would be supplied through Old Wauhatchie Pike, but it would take a march with Hooker’s troops from their position in Bridgeport, AL to attack the southern picket lines in the valley.  These picket lines were also set at the northern edge of Wauhatchie Woodlands along Lookout Creek.

Bragg and Longstreet were on Lookout and were caught entirely off guard by the attack in Lookout Valley.  The north repelled the south to retreat up the mountain, but in the melee, munitions dumps were created along Lookout Creek, again, on the far north of The Woodlands.  Soon the north would encamp at Craven’s house just past Ruby Falls on Lookout and launch the remarkable and effective attack known as the Battle Above the Clouds where the Union forced the confederates back the mountain to a full retreat from the high ground.  Old Wauhatchie Pike, which forms the southern border of the Woodlands farthest up the mountain, became a major supply route for the Union.

Sometime after the war, this land, which has seen both Indian and Civil war battles, was made into a Quarry.  There are old service roads in the acreage below the Wauhatchie Blue house and the Skyuka Chalet and ruins of what once held a crane and brick operations house.  One can also see clear stone quarry walls just across Cummings Highway from the Cabin park (on Woodland’s land).

We believe the 14 acres which is now the site for the cabin park was made into a mobile home park sometime in the 1960’s.  However, the oldest homestead on the land is what is known as the Wauhatchie Blue House, the original portion was built in 1919 with an outhouse and detached smokehouse.  The owner of the trailer park built a brick home closest to the river above the train tunnel but sold the lot of it, all 26 acres to Nicole’s father, Doug Trammel.  Doug ran what is now the cabin park as Lookout Mobile Home park and the mobile homes were becoming condemnable in their age.

When Frank and Nicole married in 2010 they decided to stay in the brick home where Nicole resided and call it home for good. In 2014, Frank and Nicole bought what is now the blue house from Doug, renovated it, and started renting on Airbnb as a way to pay for the houses rehab.  By 2016, Frank had conceived the vision for transforming the run-down mobile home park into a rustic comfort cabin park close to the city.  For two years he lay the groundwork and laid the plans and prepped the property (prep work led by Doug, Nicole’s dad).  By October 2018 our cabins were contracted to be built and they started coming in February 2019.  Because Wauhatchie Woodlands is family owned an operated-on land that has been in the family for over thirty years, each of the cabins is named after one of our eight home dwelling children.  There is one, older, who lives elsewhere in Chattanooga, and we have a large and dear European family having hosted now eight European Exchange students since 2013 – consequently, the next nine cabins, provided we can build them out one day, will be named for the rest of our “kids” spread around the world.