Ross's Landing in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is the site of the original settlement of Chattanooga and is considered to be the embarkation point of the Cherokee removal on the Trail of Tears. Ross's Landing Riverfront Park memorializes the location, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Backstory and Context
It was named for John Ross, later (1828) principal chief of the Cherokee Nation. In 1816 Ross settled at the site along the Tennessee River above Chattanooga Creek and established Ross's Landing as a trading post on the northern border of the Cherokee Nation, across the river from the United States of America. Ross also operated a swing ferry across the river that was anchored on McClellan Island.
In 1837 Cherokee removal to Indian Territory began, known as the Trail of Tears. The Cherokee were driven from their homes in several southeastern states and were relocated at various camps, including east of Ross's Landing, for expulsion to Oklahoma. The name "Ross's Landing" was changed to Chattanooga by American settlers who took over the land after Removal in 1838.
Ross's Landing is memorialized at Ross's Landing Riverfront Park on the banks of the Tennessee River where the city of Chattanooga was established. That site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
A pedestrian path connects Ross's Landing Riverfront Park to the Tennessee Aquarium. A wall along the walkway contains an art installation that symbolizes the path that Cherokees followed on their forced relocation to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears. Created by Gadugi, a group of five Cherokee artists from Oklahoma, the installation features seven large carved and glazed clay medallions set into the walkway wall. The medallions represent different aspects of Cherokee history, religious beliefs, and struggles with white settlers.