Famous people, their lives and activities, fascinate us.
In his new book, David Carroll, a columnist whose work appears in the Rome News-Tribune, recounts the famous folks who have visited the Tennessee Valley.
“Hello Chattanooga! Famous People Who Have Visited the Tennessee Valley” is a 700-page book featuring close to 200 photos and more than 100 years of history as well as a full index which allows readers to find the well known people who have visited the city, from a 23-year-old Frank Sinatra who was making his southern debut to President Franklin D. Roosevelt who was there to dedicate the Chickamauga Dam.
In the book, Carroll also lists area residents who have achieved national and worldwide fame in all fields, including political figures like Bill Brock and Estes Kefauver, athletes such as Rick Honeycutt and Reggie White, and entertainers from Samuel L. Jackson to Usher to Kane Brown.
There are also stories detailing famous people who appeared on our regional stages before they were famous, from Billy Graham, to Jimi Hendrix, to Taylor Swift.
The book also points out that many of today’s superstars played these venues as opening acts, who were hired to fill some time as audiences found their seats while waiting for a headline act to perform. Among them are Celine Dion, Britney Spears, Jeff Foxworthy, and Kenny Chesney.
Carroll, who writes a weekly column for 47 newspapers including the Rome News-Tribune, spent the last four years combing through data and photos researching the book which is his third.
“It started out as a history of Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium,” Carroll said, “and then it became much bigger. I realized the Tivoli Theater should also be included. As I told people about the project, they said I should include all the regional venues. The deeper I got into it, I decided it should be a complete history that includes all of our famous visitors, with some stories and pictures mixed in. So I included all our area stages and venues, plus every notable politician, president, movie star, athlete, author, military figure, and evangelist, plus a listing of the movies and music videos that have been filmed in the region.”
The book lists visitors from each category in chronological order, beginning in 1900 and continuing to the present day.
“Our area has attracted some of the best-known celebrities and entertainers in the world, thanks to our historic venues, beautiful scenery, and powerful people,” Carroll said. “This book will finally give readers the opportunity to settle a few arguments as they learn the dates and places that your favorite star (or president) visited.”
Autographed copies of “Hello Chattanooga: Famous People Who Have Visited the Tennessee Valley” is available in softcover ($29.95) and hardback ($39.95) via Paypal or credit card at ChattanoogaRadioTV.com, or by check at 900 Whitehall Road, Chattanooga, TN 37405. (Please include $6.00 for shipping). It is published by Fresh Ink Group. Carroll can be contacted at RadioTV2020@yahoo.com.