Join Rock City as we celebrate 80 years of creating memories worth repeating! Celebrate all year at our special events and new additions in conjunction with the 80th anniversary including an audio tour, new commissioned art and the return of the gnomes in the new Gnome Valley installation. But much of the attraction remains true to its origins, so the next generation can enjoy what so many around the world have already experienced.
Then & Now Photos
Slide the Gnome to travel through time!
Rock City Garden’s history as a world-famous tourist attraction dates back to the days of the Great Depression, but its history as a geological marvel extends several million years before that. Historical evidence shows that Native Americans inhabited Lookout Mountain, and in 1823 two missionaries arrived in the area and described “a citadel of rocks.” During the Civil War, both a Union officer and a Confederate nurse speculated in separate diary entries that one could see seven states from atop the summit.
In 1924 Garnet and Frieda Carter began developing a residential neighborhood on the top of Lookout Mountain. They named the community “Fairyland” because of Frieda’s interest in European Folklore. Fairyland’s 700 acres encompassed the legendary Rock City, which Frieda set out to develop into a spectacular rock garden.
Frieda marked a trail that wound its way around Rock City’s giant rock formations, ending at the outcropping known as Lover’s Leap. She collected wildflowers and other plants and had them transplanted along her trail. Entrepreneur that he was, Garnet realized his wife had created something there that lots of other people might be willing to pay to see. The rest, as they say, is history.