This six-story building, considered one of the architectural icons of Downtown Chattanooga, was originally the headquarters of the Chattanooga Times newspaper which was founded by Adolph S Ochs, owner of the New York Times. Cornerstones accepted a donation of a façade easement for this building, which enables Cornerstones legally to maintain, preserve, and protect the exterior of the structure.
Walnut Street Bridge - 1891
Also known as the “county bridge,” the Walnut Street Bridge was closed in 1978 due to its deteriorating condition. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1990, the bridge reopened in 1991 following a $4 million renovation, and today it is one of the largest pedestrian bride in the world (2,730 feet). Individuals who would eventually form Cornerstones were prominent members of the community coalition that advocated for restoration of the bridge.
Update: The Walnut Street Bridge is one of the nationally designated Great Spaces in 2013 by the American Planning Association. One of the key components of being “great” was the place needed to be used and integrated into the community. Cornerstones story of preserving the bridge and then using it for our WOW event for 20 years, was a major factor in this designation. See American Planning Association for more details.
Stong Building - 1470 Market St. (1909)
It began operation as the Terminal Hotel. The building had a unique triangular shape and was built by a porter who stayed at the nearby terminal station (the Chattanooga Choo-Choo). It is an important piece of Chattanooga’s African-American heritage. Today, The Terminal is a three-story restaurant, bar, and micro-brewery.
Cornerstones worked diligently with the family and structural engineers to save the building. The roof had collapsed and the original floors were destroyed. Cornerstones also helped with window replacement.
St. John’s Hotel - 1916 - 1278 Market Street
This three-story terra cotta and brick building was originally built as the Ellis Hotel. Although the building was abandoned in 1983 and originally slated for demolition, it was instead renovated and reopened in 1999 as a mixed-use structure housing restaurants, retail shops, and apartments. Joining in the revitalization of the Southside, Cornerstones acquired this property, fronted the cost and structural engineering reports, and eventually transferred the property to a developer who could return the property to productive use.
Park Place School - 1924 - 1000 East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
After serving as an elementary school from 1924 to 1950, the Park Place School was decommissioned in 1965, upon integration of the city’s public schools. Presently, this collegiate gothic revival building is in the process of being restored for use as condominiums.
Once thought too costly to preserve, Cornerstones fronted the expense of the structural and engineering reports for the building and facilitated the acquisition of the property by the current owner of the property, who is restoring it for residential use.
Hair of the Dog Pub - 1900 334 Market Street
This two-story brick commercial building underwent a signifcant restoration effort before reopening in 2005 as an old English pub. Threatened by the widening of Fourth Street, Cornerstones acquired the building and stabilized the portion that remains, before ultimately transferring the property to a retail user.
First Congregational Church - 1905 - Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Lindsay Avenue
This historically African-American church building was erected in 1905 and today remains as one of the few tangible reminders of the active community that once lined both sides of “the big 9.” As early as 1967, the tall tower on the southeast corner of the church was removed to preven debris from falling onto the sidewalk. Deterioration and a lack of repair threaten this building, which is again on the market for sale or lease.
Dent House - 1854 - 5114 Bonny Oaks Drive
This beautiful Georgian mansion was erected by Colonel Jarrett G. Dent, who moved to Tennessee to build the Western & Atlantic Railroad in the 1850s. After serving as a school for dependent children for many years, today it is the frequent site of wedding receptions and other public gatherings. Cornerstones accepted a donation of a façade easement, which enables us to legally maintain, preserve, and protect the exterior of the structure.
Customs House - 1892 - 31 East 11th Street
This Richardsonian Romanesque structure, designed of rough and smooth stone, was built to house the federal post office and other U.S. Government offices. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, this building continues to house the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and other governmental offices. Cornerstones accepted a donation of a façade easement for this building, which enables Cornerstones legally to maintain, preserve, and protect the exterior of the structure.
Central Block - 1883 - 630 Market Street
Referred to as “the first pretentious building to go up on Market Street”, and labeled “center state in [the] city’s preservation efforts." This three-story brick building was recently renovated. It reopened in 2003 as offices for the United Way of Greater Chattanooga. After years of vacancy, Cornerstones purchased the building and invested in substantial renovations, prior to transferring the property to the United Way of Greater Chattanooga.
Baggage Depot - 1860 - 12 West 13th Street
This one-story brick structure, the oldest building still standing in downtown Chattanooga, is the former baggage depot for the Queen & Crescent Railroad. After sitting empty for a number of years, the building was renovated to house a retail shop. Joining in the revitalization of the South-side, Cornerstones acquired this property, fronted the cost and structural engineering reports, and eventually transferred the property to a developer who could return the property to productive use. Today the building houses Urban Stack, a local restaurant.
Fleetwood Coffee - 11th St. (1900s)
This property is located on 11th Street one block from Chattanooga City Hall. It was the home of the Fleetwood Coffee plant and some of the coffee grinding equipment remains. The structure has been adaptively reused as residential space.
Mayfield Annex - 7th and Walnut (1900s)
This property was owned by Hamilton County and formerly was used for county office space. Within the last several years, all but one office relocated to the suburbs, leaving this impressive multi-story building underutilized. Originally built as a fraternal organization’s lodge, it has great bones and many of the original architectural features were found underneath dropped ceilings and carpeted floors. It is currently being adaptively reused for office and residential space. Just as important is the location of the building, it anchors the courthouse square's west corner.
Old North Chattanooga Fire Hall - Forrest Ave. (1930)
The two-story English Tudor building was utilized as a fire station for many years, until a new building was erected down the street. Since that time, it was underutilized and used as a storage space by the city. Several years ago the property was sold to a private developer who replaced the roof and done other minor, but necessary repairs. The property has been purchased by a private owner has been transformed into a very unique private residence.
Ross Hotel - 818 Georgia Ave. (1888)
This property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing structure to the Patten Parkway National Register Historic District. This was the hotel where Williams Jennings Bryan spent his last night before he died – he was one of the attorneys in the nationally significant Scopes Monkey Trial in Dayton, Tenn. in the 1920s where evolution was debated.
This property, now known as the Tomorrow Building, has been renovated and adaptively reused for young professionals. The Tomorrow Building is the first co-living residence in the southeast.
Big Ben's BBQ - MLK/ Houston (1900)
This property located in the Martin Luther King National Register Historic District and is in the process of being renovated. The first floor of the property remains empty but after extensive environmental clean up (asbestos removal), the building is secure and stable. This national register district has lost so many buildings, this is one that anchors a corner and completes the first block of the district. Its adaptive reuse plan includes second floor residential and first floor commercial - as it was used originally.
Memos - 7th & Walnut (1910)
Located immediately adjacent to the Tadley Building, this too is a contributing structure to the MLK National Register Historic District. Constructed ca. 1910, this building houses a successful restaurant that has served patrons beyond the black community for years.
Ross Meehan/Wasson Car Works Building
This foundry building was built by the Wasson Car Works, a manufacturing company that built railway cars in Chattanooga from 1873-1885. The Wasson Car Works employed 250 workers (one of Chattanooga’s largest companies) and could manufacture 8 freight cars and 64 car wheels per day. Wasson made the open trolley cars for the first Incline to Point Park. The 1885 Sanborn map shows the footprint of this building. The site was purchased by the Ross Meehan Foundry in 1889, and operated continuously until 1986. In 2017 the City of Chattanooga donated the building to Cornerstones, Inc. Cornerstones then facilitated the selling of the building to John Wise. The building is being adaptively reused and will house commercial space and a new brewery.
Industrial YMCA - 1910 - 1517 Mitchell Street
Industrial YMCA. Constructed in 1924, this property was used by working men that came into the city by train and needed a place to stay through the work week. This property is now almost totally renovated but not yet put back into full use. The basketball court, swimming pool, walking track and locker rooms remain. The building has approximately 59 rooms (large enough for a twin bed and night stand) and hall bathrooms are shared.
Former Otis Elevator Building (1910s)
Located on Main Street in the Southside of Chattanooga, the former commercial district was home to the Otis Elevator company office. It was near the train station, which made for a convenient location for its operations. The building has since been purchased after some time of abandonment and repurposed as a Purple Sky Healing Arts. They have done a great job maintaining its original facade.