After the Civil War, Stringer’s Ridge became a major obstacle to the flow of goods from the farms and dairies north of the ridge into Chattanooga. Although the old roads over Stringer’s Ridge allowed for the transportation of people and light wagon loads, any real shipping of goods could not occur over the ridge. Due to this, county Judge Seth Walker proposed a tunnel through Stringer’s Ridge. After many hardships and delays, the tunnel and new road finally opened in March of 1911. The tunnel allowed for large amounts of good to travel from the northern areas of the county into Chattanooga and vise-versa which promoted commerce, a rise in property values and population growth north of Stringer’s Ridge.
Two years after the opening of the Stringer’s Ridge tunnel, there was another opening on the ridge. The Pine Ridge Sanatorium opened to residents of Chattanooga and beyond. The sanatorium was a facility for the treatment of Tuberculosis (consumption). At the time of construction, the common treatment for TB was rest and exposure to clean air. Pine Breeze was built with these theories in mind. The sanatorium was constructed above the city with large windows and screened or open air porches. It would operate from April 1913 till 1968 when it became a facility for emotionally disturbed children and renamed Pine Breeze Center. The Pine Breeze Center closed in 1982 and the buildings are long gone.
During the twentieth century, along with the Pine Breeze Sanatorium, residents began building homes and apartments on top of Stringer’s ridge in order to take advantage of the scenic view this ridge had to offer. In fact, the Whitehall Apartments, a large multi-storied white building built in 1975, became a fixture of the Chattanooga skyline for many years. The Whitehall building eventually became The Grandview of Northside, a retirement facility. In 2005, the Grandview was purchased by Wilkinson Real Estate Group and turned into the Pinnacles, a popular condo community that attacks residents of all ages.
During the years of 2007 and 2008, the populace of this area and Chattanooga as a whole finally said enough is enough. With the threat of yet another condo complex being built in this area, a group of local citizens, the Trust for Public Land, the Tennessee River Gorge Trust, and the City of Chattanooga purchased 37 acres. The developer agreed to set aside 55 additional acres for conservation efforts. It is these efforts that led to the development of this portion of Stringer’s Ridge as a nature park.
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