Well, this is officially the 10th anniversary issue. So that means the very first edition of The Pulse was published way back in 2003. Even though we tend to think any year starting with 20 is somewhat current compared to 19, it was still a long time ago.
I think about how much I’ve changed in the past 10 years. In fact, now that I recall, 2003 was a very interesting year in my life. My daughter was seven, a very impressionable age. Now she’s 17 and about to graduate high school. I was one year in to my nine-year “career” with BlueCross’s marketing department, which means I was likely upping my Prozac at the time. I’d just completed restoring an older home, which I will never, ever do again. I made the official switch to digital photography. Every photo I have prior to mid-2003 is printed on Kodak paper, but none have been since. And I switched from a fast, well-handling Volkswagen Jetta to a slower, more versatile Nissan pick-up truck. Now I remember—I also had an old flip cell phone because that was way pre-smart phone.
Looking back, I also think about how much Chattanooga has changed since 2003. Back then, we didn’t have Renaissance Park, the sloped-roof wing of the Hunter Museum or even the saltwater addition to the Tennessee Aquarium. People still saw movies at the Bijou Theater because the Majestic hadn’t been built yet. And downtowners couldn’t satisfy a Chili’s or Applebee’s fix (if they so chose) because they too hadn’t yet been built.
Speaking of restaurants and bars downtown, 2003 pre-dates Easy Bistro, Taco Mamacita, Urban Stack, Terminal Brewhouse, The Honest Pint, Mean Mug, Public House, The Social, St. John’s, The Meeting Place and Aleia, to name a few. Hair of the Dog Pub was a just a twinkle in someone’s eye and you could still get a PBR tallboy at the Stone Lion Tavern.
If you wanted to see live music, you’d have to wait until something other than a cover band came to Rhythm & Brews or maybe, just maybe, the Tivoli. Now we have Sluggo’s, JJ’s Bohemia and one of the Southeast’s premiere performance venues—Track 29. All of these great venues—including Rhythm & Brews—are bringing in the kind of bands we would’ve had to drive 100 miles to see back in 2003. I mean, just last year we were the first city Jack White ever played as a solo artist. That’s just plain cool.
Housing choices shifted from the North Shore back across the river and further south. If you told me in 2003 that I would be purchasing a townhome on the Southside in 2005 I would have said you were nuts. The area was a wasteland of warehouses and a few homes owned by pioneers who thankfully didn’t get scalped. But since The Pulse has been in existence, the area has exploded into a cluster of full-fledged neighborhoods complete with a grocery store opening up on Main Street in the next couple of months.
So much has changed around here in the last 10 years, but there has been one constant—The Pulse. It’s covered all of the Noog’s milestones along the way, and has been a significant part of the reason our city is such a cool place to live.
I remember approaching Zach Cooper five years ago to see if he’d let me write for his paper. With a five-year history as publisher under his belt, he’d tangled with a few columnists in his day, but he said yes anyway. Back then, if you’d have told me that this paper was still gonna be around for another five years or even longer, I would’ve said you’re absolutely right. Happy Anniversary, Pulse!
Chuck Crowder is a local writer and man about town. His opinions are his own.