19 December 2016

Post 457: CHATTANOOGA - AND THE CHOO CHOO

Despite its close association with Glenn Miller and his Orchestra, the song Chattanooga Choo Choo was actually composed for a 1941 movie by the great Harry Warren. Mack Gordon provided the words.

Warren was prolific. His compositions included, for example, You'll Never Know, I Only Have Eyes for You, Jeepers Creepers, That's Amore, At Last, Lullaby of Broadway, You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby, Nagasaki, I Love My Baby; My Baby Loves Me, and September in the Rain - to name but a few.

I'm thinking of Chattanooga because my wife and I stayed there in October 2016. Here's a picture of Chattanooga that I took from the top of the nearby Lookout Mountain.

You can get up the mountain on the amazing Incline Railway, opened in 1895. It runs for a whole mile and is one of the steepest passenger railways in the world.
This was an important site in the history of the Civil War. Amazing to think this picture exists of a Union Army Band on the top of Lookout Mountain more than 150 years before I stood there.
Chattanooga itself is a pretty place, especially around the River.

But the Big Feature of Chattanooga is indeed The Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel. That is where we stayed.
This former railway terminus fell into disuse and might well have been bulldozed had it not been for businessmen who, starting in 1973, began redeveloping it as a hotel complex. The Booking Hall has now become a restaurant.
And where the platforms used to be, gardens and fountains have been neatly laid out.
Several trains have been kept as relics of the bygone age. Some of the carriages are furnished as hotel rooms; but there are also plenty of apartments in a block at the far end.

The Chattanooga Choo Choo itself (built in the 1890s and last used in the 1940s) is a favourite for photographs.


And there are other museum pieces in the grounds, such as this streetcar.
My wife and I greatly enjoyed our visit to Chattanooga. It was particularly peaceful sitting in those gardens. I would have liked to play Chattanooga Choo Choo while I was next to the train in question, but - with lots of people looking on - I was too nervous to play more than half a dozen notes of the tune. CLICK HERE TO WITNESS MY FEEBLE EFFORT!