Chattanooga, Colorado
Contributed by Jerry Clark


Chattanooga was founded in March 1883. A Post Office was established in April of the same year. The town served as an early supply depot for goods to and from the Red Mountain District prior to the arrival of the Silverton Railroad. By the end of 1883 over 75 buildings had been constructed at Chattanooga. The population of the town reached over 300 people at its peak.

Chattanooga was the site of the famous Loop on the Silverton Railroad, a 200 degree curve climbing 500 feet in approximately 1 1/4 mile. Today's US 550 follows the route of the Loop closely as it climbs to the top of Red Mountain Pass.

A snowslide in 1888 destroyed a substantial portion of the town. A subsequent slide in 1892 destroyed more of the town, and it quickly disappeared.

Chattanooga, Colorado
Circa 1887


Chattanooga, Colorado
Circa 1890


Post card view of Chattanooga
Date Unknown


The following series of photos were taken on one of my many trips to the San Juans. The trip in question occurred in September of 1996. There was a light drifting of snow over night. The photos document the area where Chattanooga was located. I also documented the former SRR grade and US550 that now sits on top of the old SRR grade (in some places). One of the more well known features of the SRR, the Chattanooga Loop, was located here. The "loop" made use of a horse shaped curve to gain elevation to Red Mountain Pass.

Birdseye of Chattanooga
September 1996


Chattanooga from US550
September 1996


Chattanooga from US550
September 1996


View of US550 and old SRR grade
September 1996


The SRR grade ran up this canyon
September 1996


US550 to Red Mountain Pass
September 1996


The Silver Ledge Mine just up the canyon from Chattanooga
September 1996


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