Proposal: Chattanooga Choo Choo and Glenn Miller honored by a street name change (UPDATE)

Thanks to everyone who supported our initiative to rename E. 14th Street to Glenn Miller Street.  This is on hold till the City of Chattanooga begins its plans for street improvement.  For now, we’re in a holding pattern in our request and we’ve been told that we’ll have an opportunity to officially submit a formal request soon–stay tuned.  You may read the original story and proposal below, dated November 11, 2015.

Glenn MillerThe song Chattanooga Choo Choo has made Chattanooga a globally-recognized American city for nearly 75 years. The music was written by Harry Warren, with lyrics by Mack Gordon.  Chattanooga Choo Choo was originally recorded as a big-band/swing hit by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra, and was featured in the 1941 movie Sun Valley Serenade.

The name’s origins date back to the 1880s, when the Cincinnati Southern passenger trains (post completion of the right of way) were nicknamed the Chattanooga Choo Choo. The catchy title has become one of the most recognizable song hooks in history.  And for the Bluebird label, it became the first to be certified as a gold disc on February 10, 1942 for selling 1.2 million copies. The composition was nominated for an Academy Award in 1941 for Best Song from a movie.  The song achieved its success that year, despite the fact it could not be heard on network radio for much of 1941 due to the ASCAP boycott.

In 1996, the 1941 recording of “Chattanooga Choo Choo” by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Over the years it’s been covered musical legends like Cab Calloway and His Orchestra, Carmen Miranda, Bill Haley & His Comets, Harry Connick Jr.; most recently in 2014 by Herb Alpert and an upbeat disco version released in the1970s.

Chattanooga’s connection with the Chattanooga Choo Choo came with the saving of Chattanooga’s Terminal Station in the 1970s.  Again, “Choo Choo” would become a lucky and sustaining hook to bring new life into a local historic treasure and landmark, once marked for the wrecking ball.

In honor of the song, its 75th birthday in 2016 and an ongoing legacy, Picnooga is proud to sponsor a formal proposition with the City of Chattanooga that E. 14th Street be renamed, Glenn Miller Street. E.  14th Street runs between the Historic Chattanooga Choo Choo and the Terminal Brewhouse.  We feel that it honors Mr. Miller and his unintentional gift to Chattanooga and Chattanoogans over the past 75 years and years to come. The name change will also add to the atmosphere of the new planned entertainment district, while paying homage to a timeless musician whose arrangement keeps giving our city so much.

We appreciate the support and positive feedback by informed city officials, local business owners and representatives from the Glenn Miller Estate.  We now seek public support to help push this through.

“As Glenn Miller’s musical career soared, he traded in his commercial success for a military uniform to entertain US troops during World War II. Then, on a foggy afternoon, December 15, 1944, he took off from England heading for France. His plane vanished over the English Channel. Glenn Miller was never seen again.”