Local history and photo enthusiast David Moon is looking to partner with local companies and organizations to preserve Chattanooga history.
He is working on an independent history project and has applied for funding through the UNFoundation, which gives microgrants to local projects and organizations.
“It’s a website that uses a map interface to pair old and historic photos with their locations in the Chattanooga area,” Moon said via email, describing the project.
Site visitors will be able to share comments, history and memories about each location and image, he said.
“Essentially, it’s a Google map with pinpoints of historic photos and the backstories of locations from the advent of photography through 1985,” Moon said. “Locations can be present, past or demolished landmarks, businesses, homes, parks, and other structures.”
And he needs help from the public, too. He is hoping that area residents will dig through their old trunks, shoeboxes or closets and find old photos that might otherwise be lost.
He hopes to find out whether he has funding from the UNFoundation as soon as the beginning of February, but even without that money, he still has plans to continue with the project.
Moon is also at the beginning stages of reaching out to area businesses and organizations, such as The Public Library, the Cherokee Public Library System, Coca-Cola, Chattanooga Bakery, Chattem, Rock City and Southtree.
Another possibility for raising funds in the future involves selling merchandise, and any of that money would go back into the site, he said.
Moon said his personal love for history is, in part, driving this project. And he said he doesn’t know if people realize how much Chattanooga has changed in recent decades.
“Chattanooga was positioned as a modern industrial mecca, which was spun into the slogan ‘the dynamo of Dixie,'” he said. “All that industry nearly killed it, but it has risen from the ashes while trying to reinvent itself.”
He also said the project will highlight the area’s Civil War history and help put the last 125 years-not including the past 25 years-in “a visual perspective.”
“The next step is making sure any relations fit the mission,” Moon said. “I’m in beginning dialog with who I believe are key partners, and so far, so good. Although this is a Chattanooga-focused project, the interest also geographically floods into North Georgia.”