LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN, Ga. - On May 21, 2022, Rock City Gardens celebrated its 90th anniversary with guests entering through the original roundhouse gate as they did in 1932, along with nostalgic surprises and new artistic features to experience on the Enchanted Trail. Rock City has planned a year-long lineup of enhancements, with four key cornerstones highlighting the attraction’s historical leadership while guiding the pathway forward: innovation, sustainability, art and people.
See Rock City Inc. President & CEO Doug Chapin said, “It is an exciting time for all of us here at Rock City, 90 years since Uncle Garnet and Aunt Frieda opened the gates to this beautiful place. It has been humbling to look back over Rock City’s history to see the work that Garnet, Frieda, Big Ed (my grandfather) and my dad have done for SRC, these people and our community. As we’ve looked back, we’ve seen clearly the four cornerstones of our business: innovation, art, sustainability and most importantly, people. It is inspiring to have such a solid foundation to build on as we look to the future and how our business continues to evolve and grow. We know that we will continue to use that legacy to advance and innovate, as we seek to make memories worth repeating for our guests and partners in new and different ways!”
For 90 years Rock City has been a leader in innovation, beginning with its founder, Garnet Carter. He not only envisioned his wife Frieda’s rock garden as something others would want to see, but created Tom Thumb mini golf, as well as the advertising legacy of over 900 barns painted across the U.S. with the message “See Rock City.” Sustainability has also been at the attraction’s core, with the cultivation of plants and flowers in their natural habitat, into the more modern era of solar panel usage harnessing power from the sun. Art inspiration in the gardens dates back to Rock City’s early days as well, with Frieda’s creation of Fairyland Caverns and Mother Goose Village. In recent months, there has been a re-imagining of whimsical pathways set by original masonry and glasswork, an intricately sculpted stone troll and magical portals to the next enchantment. Then at the heart of Rock City’s legacy is its foundational mission with an ultimate focus on people, to create memories worth repeating for everyone who encounters this geological wonder.
Rock City's newest artful innovation, the Hall of the Mountain King project, weaves together nature and magic while building on the original folklore loved by Frieda. Several local artists are continuing collaboration with Rock City's Innovation team to use a variety of materials and media to bring a new level of enchantment to the gardens. The latest phase of the project introduces Ibsen the Troll, a larger-than-life figurative sculpture created by the attraction’s senior manager of innovation, Will Jackson. Ibsen and the caverns he inhabits, are inspired by the classical piece “In the Hall of the Mountain King” by composer Edvard Grieg, as well as Henrik Ibsen’s play, Peer Gynt.
Rainbow Hall is another area recently reimagined with one-of-a-kind windows featuring custom fabricated steel facet frames, by metal artist Michael Brandt. This innovative design by Will Jackson cradles unique glass sculptures by artist Chris Mosey of iGNiS Glass Studio in Chattanooga. The colorful views from Rainbow Hall continue to be a highlight for visitors. For updated info on 90th anniversary plans, visit seerockcity.com/90.
Rock City has a full lineup of annual events, with Summer Music Weekends kicking off the 90th year beginning Memorial Day weekend, every Friday through Sunday until Labor Day! Stroll to the sounds of live music, see birds of prey soar overhead in Critter Classroom and taste delicious Southern favorites from Café 7. A new artist to this event is Rick Rushing playing the blues, along with returning performances by old-time musician Matt Downer, folk-rock music from the Highbeams and bluegrass tunes by artist Tarryn Aimee Smith. Go to seerockcity.com/summermusic for more info. There has never been a better year to visit Rock City!
See Rock City Inc. is a hospitality and entertainment company that features the world-renowned Rock City Gardens high atop Lookout Mountain, and also owns and operates Battles for Chattanooga museum, Clumpies Ice Cream Co., GOOD DOG, Grandview Conference Center, RiverView Inn and Starbucks; as well as the ticketing and concessions for the Incline Railway and the Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, and the retail shop and café at Creative Discovery Museum.