The History of the Lookout Valley Community


Richard Alexander McKeel

Chapter Twelve

“Tourist Attractions”

1. Super Water Slide

            The property where the old “Big Rock Motel,” located on Cummings Highway was once the location of an outstanding place to beat the sizzling summer time heat. In 1978, Dan Hines and Tom Lee opened a water slide on the site of the old hotel. The water slide consisted of a 526-foot fiberglass tube that carried 2,000 gallons of water per minute; also, because of its height people could travel upwards of eight miles per hour. This was a perfect place for tourists and locals a like to beat the summer time heat. Hines and Lee also developed a water slide and pools of the Chattanooga Choo Choo complex. By 1988 the water slide business was slowing down and in 1989 the water slide closed and the slide was taken away. Now the property is a roadside park with few picnic tables, and memories of those who visited the park in the days that the water slide was open.

A Portion of the Super Water Slide slowly being destroyed on a hill off from the original location 

2. Raccoon Mountain Caverns

            In the heart of Raccoon Mountain are caves that are considered “The South’s most beautiful natural caves” because of the incredible variety of passageways, natural bridges, stone formations, fossils, and spectacular scenery. Every year a new formation is discovered; these caves are forever changing. Because the caves are so deep in the ground, they have a constant temperature of 60˚ F all year round. A cave tour usually lasts about forty-five minutes upwards too two hours.

            One section of the cave system is considered the most challenging tour in the whole country. Here spelunkers guide guests through a vast underground network of chambers, canyons, tunnels, small books and large waterfalls that are under the mountain. The people who operate Raccoon Mountain Caverns offer four different caves expeditions. These expeditions can last from two hours to over night expeditions.



Hanging Stalactites



Spelunkers enjoy of the tours in the Natural Cave Expedition


3. Raccoon Mountain Fun

            In 1979, a Minnesota developer, George Nelson Junior, established the Raccoon Mountain Recreation Park . Like the water slide on the side of Lookout Mountain , there was a smaller water slide on Raccoon Mountain . One of the key attractions in the park was the Alpine slide, which was the first of its kind in the United States . After, the Alpine Slide was constructed on Raccoon Mountain ; twenty-seven more slides were built across the country, including the one in Gatlinburg , Tennessee .

            People who wanted to go down the slide did not need any swim suites. They needed only to take a chair lift to the top of the mountain. Then take a fiber glass sled and ride it down the concrete slide. Going down the slide you could travel at speeds of ten to fifteen miles per hour. One would slowed down by applying the hand break; however, many people tried to slow down by holding of the slide on the corners; that would be very bloody mistake, because if they did they would be missing some skin and it would feel painful. In the mid-to-late 1980s it was the style of the time to have an Alpine Slide T-Shirt. Unlike the water slide, which was closed after Labor Day, the Alpine Slide was open year around, which made for fun weekends during the fall and winter months.

            Also, Raccoon Mountain Recreation Park had Grand Prix Go-Kart Race Track. Here tourists and locals could realize their dreams of being an Indy Race Car Driver, even though the go-karts were old fashioned compared to their present day counterparts; they could, however achieve speeds of sixty-five miles per hour. The park also had a horse barn for riding stables. Also, a hang gliding simulator that stayed at the location till moving to the present site of Cummings Grocery until it closed in the mid-1990s.

            In 1999, the Raccoon Mountain Recreation Park property with its water slide, go-kart track, batting cages, and the famous Alpine Slide was sold to make way for the development of the Cummings Cove Sub-Division and the Black Creek Golf Course. When the park closed it took a piece of a lot of people's childhood with it.

click to close

Alpine Slide on Raccoon Mountain gave fun times for many years

(Photo Harmon Jolley)

4. Confederama

            The original location of the Confederama was located in Lookout Valley off Cummings Highway from 1957-1962. However, the Confederama moved in 1963 to Saint Elmo where it stayed till 1997. In 1997, it moved to its current location near Point Park on top of Lookout Mountain .

The Original Confederama was in Lookout Valley from 1957-1962






Richard Alexander McKeel

Copyright © 2004