Missionary Ridge History
You are standing just west of the site of the former Missionary Ridge Elementary School now occupied by Bragg Point condominiums which were built in 2008.
Pictured are the student body and faculty of Missionary Ridge School in 1915. Enrollment was 87 students in grades 1-8 taught by two teachers. The school was erected at a cost of $18,539. According to a pre-1912 Parent Teacher Association (PTA) memo, a school named Missionary Ridge High School apparently existed in 1896 near this location as a Hamilton County school; however, no photographs have ever been located.
The Municipality of Missionary Ridge was charted in 1923 and had 2 municipal buildings—the No. 11 fire hall and the center portion of Missionary Ridge School. (The fire hall was then located behind you near the former trolley line and had vending machines for after-school snacks.) Both buildings were semi-gothic designs with gables and slate roofs. The school went through two major additions. In 1925, the PTA demanded a new up-to-date school. Later that year, the PTA announced an addition was to be made to the north of the main school at a cost of $17,000. the last addition, pictured by architect James G. Gauntt, is shown as it would appear completed.
This addition, built in 1930 after the City of Missionary Ridge was annexed by Chattanooga, was the south wing (right side of drawing) that provided four classrooms, a principal's office, community library, gymnasium, and auditorium. The auditorium had seating for 525. A new feature of the addition was that two of the classrooms were designed to be sun rooms. These were equipped with vita-glass which admitted ultra-violet rays for those children whose physical conditions could be improved by sufficient sunshine. The older building received a great deal of remodeling - two classrooms, teacher's rooms, janitor's apartment, and a moving picture booth. The polished wood floors remained. When Brainerd Junior High was built in 1930, Missionary Ridge School became grades 1-6. Trophy cases that dominated the entrance hall contained scores of awards for athletic and academic achievement as well as citizenship. The school had upper and lower playgrounds. Before that time, students played at Bragg Reservation and at the 5-story fire tower. The upper playground had an enclosed courtyard with swing sets, a jungle gym, and long, narrow stairs to a lower ball field.
The school was closed in 1977 after 65 years. It was transferred from Chattanooga Public to the City of Chattanooga. In 1978, the Missionary Ridge Elementary School became the first home of the Chattanooga Regional History Museum. It was relocated after one year and later became the Chattanooga History Center. Unfortunately, the former beloved school building burned in 1992.
Former students fondly remember inspiring teachers, annual musical programs, a full slate of sports offerings, and clothing drives for the less fortunate. They remember the special concern for the individual that was characteristic of the school from its first days to its last.
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