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Chattanooga Fire Department photographs and records

Identifier: CHC-2016-013

Content Description

This collection contains photographs, leaflets, research notes, reports, newspaper clippings, and other records of the Chattanooga Fire Department from 1887 to 2000, bulk dates 1940-1990. Photographs in the collection document the personnel and equipment used by the fire department at different points in its history. Of particular focus is a horse-drawn steam pumper named the Garnett Andrews that was used by the department until 1917, then used for displays as part of the department's Fire Prevention Week displays in the 1940s, and restored in 1986. Other photographs in the collection dating from the 1970s-1990s document engine crews fighting fires in Chattanooga.


  • Creation: 1887 - 2000
  • Creation: Majority of material found within circa 1940-1990


Language of Materials

This collection contains materials in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright status of this collection has not been evaluated.

Biographical / Historical

The Chattanooga Fire Department (CFD) of Chattanooga, Tennessee was first established after the Civil War in 1865. As this early department was undersupplied and understaffed, in 1871 the city reorganized the CFD to form a more robust, volunteer-only fire department. By 1876 the department had three companies, with two more added in 1882. The CFD was notified of fires via a fire telegraph system, and all fire-fighting vehicles were horse-drawn.

In the early 20th century, the CFD responded to a greater need for fire safety as Chattanooga expanded via annexation. The City of Chattanooga declared an annual Fire Prevention Week in 1922 to raise awareness of the danger of fire and how to prevent it. Additionally, in 1938, the Fire Prevention Bureau was created in compliance with national guidelines to centralize efforts to improve public fire prevention. By the 1940s, the department directed at least fourteen companies.

The first motorized fire engine was purchased by the department in 1911; previously, the department was entirely composed of horse-drawn vehicles such as steam pumpers and hose reels. The last horse-drawn steam pumper, named the Garnett Andrews, was retired in 1917, standardizing the entire department for the first time. The Garnett Andews was retained by the department and in 1986, by order of Fire Chief Jerry Evans, the CFD restored it. The pumper had been bought in 1892 and was named such after a prominent Georgian politician and early settler of Chattanooga. The CFD used it often in displays and parades such as Fire Prevention Week after it was retired, and continues to do so to this day.

“Fire Department.” City of Chattanooga. Accessed February 02, 2024,

Martin, John. “3 in Your Town: 150 Years of the Chattanooga Fire Department.” Local 3 News, November 08, 2021.

The History of the Chattanooga Fire Department, 1871-1975. Chattanooga: International Association of Firefighters, Local 820, 1975.


2.25 Linear Feet (3 containers)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Chattanooga Fire Department, represented by Randy Jacks, donated this collection to the Chattanooga History Center on 1999 December 7 in memory of Reginald B. Clark. The Chattanooga History Center donated this collection to the Chattanooga Public Library and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on 2017 June 12.

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital reproductions of the collection are available electronically at

Processing Information

Processing of this collection is complete

Chattanooga Fire Department photographs and records
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Collection Area Details

Part of the Chattanooga History Collections Collection Area

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Library
c/o Special Collections
600 Douglas Street
Chattanooga Tennessee 37403 United States