The Chattanooga Choo Choo is a historical train and popular American tourist attraction as well as a hotel. Its railroad museum is located in the hotel; guests can choose to bed down in the train's sleeping cars or in rooms in buildings on the property. Staying at the hotel isn't necessary to see the train museum though. Located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, this antique train represents a memorable part of American history.
The train line that later became known as the Chattanooga Choo Choo became the northernmost destination, or terminal, for a passenger trip that connected with the southern United States. The terminal was built in 1808 at 1400 Market Street in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It was designed by American architect Don Barber, who studied at the Institute des Beaux Arts in Paris, France. The Chattanooga Terminal's red brick exterior features a large, arched window above the entrance.
Owned and operated by the Southern Railway, the train wasn't known as the Chattanooga Choo Choo until a newspaper reporter first used the term to describe the sound as it chugged along. The catchy name for the terminal stuck and a song called "Chattanooga Choo Choo" was introduced by the Glenn Miller Orchestra in 1941. The last stop for the train was 11 August 1970. The area had become so heavy with smog that the health of Chattanooga's residents became an issue.
Public outcry and protest halted plans for the Chattanooga Terminal's destruction. Investors grouped together to rescue and restore the property. Hotel accommodation and three luxury restaurants were established as well as a museum honoring the United States' history of the Chattanooga Choo Choo. The tourist attraction is found on the National Register of Historic Places.
By 1990, Chattanooga had cleaned up its formerly smoggy air, making it an even more popular place for travelers to visit. Limiting car emissions as well as creating an electric bus system helped Chattanooga achieve its goal of environmental health. Tourists visiting the Chattanooga Choo Choo often enjoy riding the city's electric bus to other nearby attractions such as The Tennessee Aquarium.
The Chattanooga Choo Choo's large expanse of property includes three swimming pools and landscaped gardens. Visitors can walk through the gardens; as for hotel guests, the staff is known to take them around the property in golf carts. Horse drawn carriage rides may be available at certain times of the year; people interested in this activity should contact the Chattanooga Choo Choo attraction ahead of their visit. Indoor activities include an arcade and gift shops.