Observatory, Church, Stadium added to National Register

Chattanooga Times Free Press
December 16, 2009
by Pam Sohn

Three of the newest Tennessee sites added to the National Register of Historic Places are in Chattanooga, officials with the Tennessee Historical Commission announced Tuesday.

Engel Stadium, First Presbyterian Church and the Clarence T. Jones Observatory all made the national list after being nominated for inclusion earlier this year. They are among seven sites across Tennessee added to the register.

"These listings highlight some of the diverse places that tell the story of Tennessee's unique history," said Patrick McIntyre, executive director of the Tennessee Historical Commission.

The National Register of Historic Places is the nation's official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation.

The Jones Observatory and Engel Stadium now are affiliated with the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and UTC Chancellor Roger Brown said the school is pleased with the historic designations.

"The Jones Observatory has inspired generations of students to look upward and achieve their dreams, and Engel Stadium is famous around the world for its place in baseball history," he said.

Engel Stadium was home of the Southern League's Chattanooga Lookouts from 1930 until 1965. Designed by architect James G. Gauntt and built by Rogers and Leventhal, both from Chattanooga, the stadium was finished in time for opening day in 1930.

Considered a state-of-the-art baseball stadium, it was named for Lookouts president William Joseph Engel, a promoter who became known as the "Barnum of Baseball."

The Clarence T. Jones Observatory was built in 1936 with Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works funds. Designed by Chattanooga architect and amateur astronomer Clarence T. Jones, the observatory was built for the city school system.

In 1944, it was turned over to the University of Chattanooga, now UTC, which then added astronomy to its curriculum.

The inclusion of First Presbyterian Church comes at a special time -- the 100th anniversary of church's completion at its McCallie Avenue hilltop location, said Harriett Berman, a leader on the First Presbyterian Church's history committee.

"1910 is our centennial year, and to have it designated at this time is special," she said.

The church, which actually dates in Chattanooga to 1840, was built to stand as a physical and spiritual beacon for the community, and its $152,000 cost was "paid in full before the dedication," she said.

Article courtesy of Chattanooga Times Free Press: http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2009/dec/16/observatory-church-stadium-added-to-national/

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