South Pittsburg, TN- a historic coal mining town 40 minutes outside of Chattanooga

The area I included for this review was the historic core of South Pittsburgh ranging from 1st to 7th Ave from north to south and Cedar Ave as the eastern border and the Birch/Counter Ave to the West.

What is now South Pittsburg remained a primarily agrarian area until the construction of a branch line of the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad in the late 1860s. The name of the community became “South Pittsburg” in hopes that the city would one day grow to become a great iron manufacturing center. This never really materialized, as South Pittsburg remained a small coal and manufacturing town.  Population grew to 1,000 by 1870 and only 2,200 by 1940. Currently just over 3,000 residents live here thanks to suburban growth outside the historic core.

Current day South Pittsburg is a sleepy Appalachian town with most of its historic fabric in tact and an attractive main street with a fair amount of retail. I don’t envision South Pittsburg changing much in my lifetime but some key areas it could improve from an urban perspective include: better bike infrastructure, new residents with quality in-fill, and a shuttle connection to Dwtn Chattanooga. 
Click here to view my South Pittsburg Album on Flickr


* Quality streetscape along the traditional main street.
* Good generational diversity with 60% family households.
* Very low crime rate but still a fair amount of blight remaining in town.
* Several walkable parks in town. Mix of greenspace, playgrounds, and ballparks.
* Some cultural amenities along Cedar Ave including several restaurants & bars, a coffee shop, the South Pittsburg Historic Museum, and the Princess Movie Theater.
* Good array of walkable retail amenities including several clothing & antiques stores, a pharmacy, supermarket, music store, Post office, library, and several banks.
* Both the public elementary and high school are in the historic core.
* Quality tree canopy throughout the town.


* Low density. Feels very much like its out in the country.
* ADA infrastructure is of a high level along Cedar and limited in the residential areas where sidewalks are often missing.
* 40 minute drive to Dwtn Chattanooga and no transit access. In fact there is not transit access in the town period.
* No bike infrastructure. 
* For sale housing in generally pretty cheap but some price diversity ranging from 25K to 225K. Rental product is very limited. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s