Interactive photo of Chattanooga shows 50 years of progress

Authored By seanphippster

Deep Zoom Chattanooga is at it again with another new imaging technology.

Click here to view the latest interactive image. It encourages users to “slide” through 50 years of Chattanooga’s history. 

The aerial views offer a fascinating look at how Chattanooga has changed-and is continuing to change-in the past 50 years.

As a website, Deep Zoom Chattanooga specializes in historical photographs of the city brilliantly enhanced with a technology called Deep Zoom OpenSeadragon. It provides the ability to zoom in and out of high-resolution images rapidly without affecting the performance of an application.

According to the website, the 1953 photo is thought to have been taken by International Airfotos of Nashville. The 2007 photo offers the opportunity for a side-by-side comparison. 

And what a transformation it is. 

The black-and-white-to-color transformation is as shocking as Dorothy landing in the Technicolor Oz. This is two different Chattanoogas.

A look at the 1953 photo shows a bustling downtown surrounded by residential housing. In particular, Cameron Hill is still prominent. It may be the lack of color, but the downtown-especially close to the river-has an eerie, empty look about it.

A swipe reveals how much has changed.

Veterans Bridge-constructed in 1984-connects the North Shore with downtown. The Bluff View Arts District has been transformed, most notably the alien-like metallic structure attached to the Hunter Museum of Art.

Riverside Drive cuts along the river, and the buildings and Unum’s enormous complex are revealed.

What in 1953 was just a dusty landing point, Ross’s Landing is now home to a landscaped park, the Tennessee Aquarium and AT&T Field.

Farther south, the skyscrapers tower much higher than before.

Most impactful and visually stunning is the impact of Corridor J through what was seemingly the middle of the city. It’s no wonder that the 1960s Golden Gateway Project was so controversial. The addition of the Olgiati Bridge, too, is a striking contrast to the 1953 version of the city.

The 2007 photo also shows the leveling of Cameron Hill in preparation for the construction of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.

What do you notice about Chattanooga’s 50-year transformation?