In Spring of 2013, downtown Chattanooga will open its newest nature park on Stringer’s Ridge. Located as a divide between the areas of North Shore and Red Bank, Stringer’s Ridge is one of the last fully forested areas in downtown Chattanooga making it an ideal location for a nature park. Add the history that these 100 plus acres have seen and you have a park that meets the needs of a variety of visitors.
Stringer’s Ridge bears the name of a war veteran but not the wars that are normally thought of. Captain William Stringer fought in the Seminole and Mexican American wars. Although little information can be found on the Seminole wars, it is known that Captain Stringer, during the Mexican-American Wars, fought in either Company E of the Second or company H of the Fourth Tennessee Volunteer Infantry both of which were mustered near Harrison, TN in 1846.
Upon returning from the war with Mexico in 1850, he and Colonel William Clift purchased $5,000 acres of land running from the tip of Moccasin Bend to the North Chickamauga Creek right before the Chickamauga Dam in the Hixson area. The line then ran across the county in the northern part of Hixson, over Walden’s Ridge to the Marion County line coming back down the Tennessee River (near the Suck). They paid a penny an acre which totaled $50 for the whole area of what is now Moccasin Bend, North Chattanooga, Red Bank and portions of Soddy and Hixson.
William Stringer built his home a short distance from the ridge, near the intersection of Signal Mountain Boulevard and Dayton Boulevard. This area became known as Vallombrosa and Valdeau. As a side note, William Stringer is mentioned in the 1830 and 1850 Federal Census, slave schedules for Hamilton County as a slave owner. Captain Stringer passed away in 1860, three years before his ridge would see battle.
On August 21 1863, a brigade of mounted infantry commanded by Eli Lily, who would later create a famous pharmaceutical company, would come over Stringer’s Ridge and begin bombing Chattanooga from the top of ridge while its citizens were in church participating in a day of fasting, prayer and thanksgiving under the direction of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. This bombing was the beginning of a military tactic that led to the eventual abandonment of Chattanooga by Confederate forces on September 5th. The road and fortifications used during the Civil War can still be seen today.
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