Five Rare Postcards from Downtown Chattanooga

These are the four rarest commercially-produced postcards of businesses in Downtown Chattanooga that are currently in the Picnooga collection. All were commercially-produced, in comparison to (RPPC) real photo postcards which were typically printed in limited quantities.

(The Cave on Broad Street)

The Cave at 820 Broad Street was a concept for a saloon that just might work in Chattanooga today. But at the turn of the last century, it was a short-lived venture. By today’s fire standards, the highly flammable painted canvas walls and faux stalactites probably presented a serious hazard. Although its patrons could readily throw a full spitoon of chaw and saliva to help extinguish minor fires.

This postcard is post-dated, 1908.

(Meyer-Leach Jewelry Company, 822 Market Street)

The workbench or a watch showcase of the Meyer-Leach Jewelry Company at 822 Market Street. This postcard’s printing dates to abt. 1910. My initial Googling found that Meyer-Leach operated through to the 1920s.

A decent men’s gold-filled pocket watch in 1910 would set you back around $30. That’s about $792.97 in today’s economy.

(The Imperial Cafe, Broad Street)

The Imperial Cafe was located at 828 Broad Street in the former location of the Airdome Theater. According to historical sources, it was the most popular restaurant downtown until a statewide prohibition in 1917 was blamed for its closing.

This postcard is post-dated, 1910.

(Williams House, 9th and Market Streets)

The Williams House was located at SE corner of Market Street at 9th Street, where the new Miller Park is today. It was also referred to as the Martin Building or Martin Block. Built in 1876, this structure would have housed many tenants on the first story with the hotel on the second story. For 1910, its room rates of .50 and .75 per night would have made accommodations budget and no-frills. Room rates at the Patten Hotel at this time were $1.50 a room and up.

(A. P. Smith’s, 606-608 Market Street)

This is a very recent find that I know little about. I’ll report back when I have more information. It’s post-dated in 1907.

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Jack Sokohl

Love seeing these pics with descriptions.


Love the pictures with great descriptions!

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