Fort Oglethorpe traces its roots to military post

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    Fallen leaves partially cover cannon balls on the William H. Lytle Monument in Chickamauga Battlefield. An effort has been launched by Friends of the Park to restore the monument before the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Chickamauga.
    Photo by Tim Barber.
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Fort Oglethorpe's roots can be traced to 1898, when it was as an Army post during the Spanish-American War.

The town then grew into a major military fort during World War I and the beginning of World War II and was visited by then-President Theodore Roosevelt when it was still under construction.

But now the town just 10 miles south of Chattanooga boasts a thriving commercial district and a historical landmark, said Martha Eaker, president of the Catoosa County Chamber of Commerce.

Fort Oglethorpe's 6th Cavalry Museum is the gateway to the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. The museum features uniforms, weapons and photos that show the military history of the Army post.

The Chickamauga Battlefield is 5,300 acres and features a seven-mile driving tour of the park.

But families also can enjoy the battlefield as a recreational site as well as take advantage of the Olympic-size pool located in the Gilbert Stephenson Park, officials said.

"You can come here and do it all," said City Manager Ron Goulart.


• Population: 14,000.

• Best places to visit: Gilbert Stephenson Park, 6th Cavalry Museum, Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.

• Biggest employers: Hutcheson Medical Center, Costco.

• Miles from downtown Chattanooga: 10

• Landmarks: Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.

• Date founded: The city was incorporated in 1949.

• Historic info: The Army Post of Fort Oglethorpe was a training camp during the Spanish-American War and then became a military fort during World War I and the beginning of World War II. More than 60,000 troops were mobilized through the post by 1918. The post housed the largest prisoner-of-war camp in the United States during World War I.

• Most-famous residents: Dwight Eisenhower was a resident for a short time when he was a captain at the prisoner-of-war camp during World War I; major league pitcher Rick Honeycutt; American Idol runner-up Lauren Alaina Suddeth, who attends Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School.

• Unique traditions: CruisIn' at the Park, an antique car show, is hosted the third Saturday of the month from March to November.