uring the mid and latter part of the 1800’s, most of Lookout Mountain lying in Tennessee was owned by the Whiteside and Cravens families. In 1840, the state of Tennessee auctioned off the property formerly owned by the Cherokee Indians. Due to the lack of any roads up Lookout Mountain, Whiteside faced little competition in bidding for the property on this property. He purchased most of the mountain lying in Tennessee, paying as little at 1c an acre for some of it. In the mid 1850s, Robert Cravens purchased property on the northern talus of the mountain and built the house that today bears his name. By the 1880s, he owned almost the entire northern slope of the mountain. His property ran from the Palisades to the River and across to the Incline tracks. At the time of the Civil War, about 30 families lived on the mountain during the summer and about half that many year round.
Cincinnati southern railway bridge in 1890. In August, 1919, a project was begun to replace the old bridge with a new steel version. According to railroad historian David Steinberg, the traffic on the Cincinnati Southern had to be rerouted on a spur line to Red Bank (then known as “Dry Valley”), and then onto the rails of the Chattanooga Traction Company to North Chattanooga, where a temporary depot was opened. Special arrangements were made to transport passengers on streetcars across the river to catch trains at Terminal Station.
Reese Bowen Brabson, attorney, state legislator, and U.S. congressman, was born at Brabson's Ferry, Knox County, on September 16, 1817. He graduated from Maryville College and studied law at Dandridge in Jefferson County. In 1844 he married Sarah Maria Keith, daughter of Judge Charles F. and Elizabeth D. (Hale) Keith, of McMinn County; their six children were John Bowen, Ada, Maria, Catherine, Mary, and Rose. Settling in Chattanooga in 1845, in 1848 he received his bar and then Commenced practice in Chattanooga. Brabson practiced law in partnership with James A. Whiteside, one of the city's founding fathers. Brabson entered politics in 1848 as well, serving the Whig Party as elector on Zachary Taylor's presidential ticket. In 1851 and 1852 Hamilton County elected Brabson to the Tennessee General Assembly and in 1859 to the U.S. House of Representatives.US Congressman. Elected to represent Tennessee's 3rd District in the United States House of Representatives, serving from March 4,1859 to March 3,1861. After serving he returned to Chattanooga to continue on his profession until his passing on August 6th 1863 .During the presidential campaign of 1860, Brabson canvassed for the Constitutional Union candidate, John Bell. Subsequently, responding to threats of secession, Brabson warned his southern peers in Congress against destroying their constitutional protections. A pro-Union slaveholder, Brabson remained a steadfast supporter of the federal government. When Tennessee seceded, he returned to his large, fashionable residence at Chattanooga, known as "Brabson Mansion." Brabson refused to take up arms against either side, though each offered him a military commission. In 1862, against pubic opinion, he ably defended James J. Andrews, a Union operative tried for stealing a locomotive, the General, and attempting to destroy the rail artery between Chattanooga and Atlanta. Contrarily, Brabson gave aid to Confederate war casualties, opening his commodious house to the wounded following the battle of Stones River. It also served as a union hospital after his passing. His wife opened the home up for use, and it was headquarters for General Peter J. A. Cleary and hosted 100 hospital cots As the war he hated continued around him, Brabson succumbed to typhoid, dying at home on August 16, 1863. He was buried at Citizens Cemetery, the location of his unmarked grave now unknown. The old mansion, still referred to as the "Brabson House," though altered extensively by subsequent owners, remains standing at 407 East Fifth Street.