The History of Maclellan Island

Did you know that there’s an island in the middle of the Tennessee River in the heart of Downtown Chattanooga?

That island you see during your strolls across the Walnut Street Bridge has gone through numerous names and owners over the years. It is now called Maclellan Island, named after the last private owner of the island – Robert J. Maclellan. He was the son of Thomas Maclellan, founder of Provident Life and Accident Insurance Company, or Unum as we know it today. With a desire to protect the island from exploitation and commercialization, Robert J. Maclellan decided to donate the land to the Chattanooga Audubon Society in 1954. Today, Maclellan Island is open to the public for hiking, birdwatching, and camping. Accessible by water only, visitors can experience beautiful wildlife on this 18.8-acre refuge with a rich history.

To learn more about the history of Maclellan Island, click here.

Maclellan Island, circa 1910

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