Red Bank, Tennessee

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Red Bank, Tennessee
Location in Hamilton County and state of Tennessee.
Location in Hamilton County and state of Tennessee.
Coordinates: 35°6′37″N 85°17′49″W / 35.11028°N 85.29694°W / 35.11028; -85.29694Coordinates: 35°6′37″N 85°17′49″W / 35.11028°N 85.29694°W / 35.11028; -85.29694
Country United States
State Tennessee
County Hamilton
Incorporated 1945[1]
 • Total 6.4 sq mi (16.7 km2)
 • Land 6.4 sq mi (16.7 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 722 ft (220 m)
Population (2012)
 • Total 11,817
 • Density 1,927.9/sq mi (744.4/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 37415
Area code(s) 423
FIPS code 47-61960[2]
GNIS feature ID 1299035[3]

Red Bank is a city in Hamilton County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 12,418 at the 2000 census and 11,817 in 2012. Red Bank is an enclave, being entirely surrounded by the city limits of Chattanooga. Red Bank is part of the Chattanooga, TN-GA, Metropolitan Statistical Area.


In the mid-1800s, the Red Bank area was known as Pleasant Hill. When the community was given a federal post office in 1881, the community was notified that another name would have to be used, because a Pleasant Hill, Tenn., already existed. The postmaster's wife reportedly looked at the red soil along the bank of Stringer's branch and suggested the name Red Bank.[4]

In 1955, the communities of Red Bank and White Oak incorporated into a town called Red Bank-White Oak. In late 1966, the community voted to call itself Red Bank beginning in 1967 for simplification purposes. Originally, the meetings and city business were conducted in a downstairs room of the Masonic Building off Unaka Street. Later, City Hall was moved to a small wooden structure at 3005 Dayton Blvd. The city hall at 3117 Dayton Blvd. opened in 1971 and was later remodeled and enlarged.

Although no Civil War battles were fought in Red Bank, troops moved through the area on several occasions. In early June 1862, Union Gen. James S. Negley led a force of some 6,000 troops from the west across the Southern portion of Red Bank. From there, they positioned their artillery on Stringer's Ridge and bombarded Chattanooga, damaging churches, homes and businesses.

In late August 1862, Confederate Gen. William Hardee's men crossed the southern end of Red Bank and Mountain Creek while heading across Waldens Ridge and toward Kentucky with Gen. Braxton Bragg's army. On Aug. 21, 1863, Union Capt. Eli Lilly, who in 1876 would start the Eli Lilly pharmaceutical company, marched his Indiana battery down historic Poe Road through the heart of what is now Red Bank toward Stringer's Ridge. There, his men set up gun emplacements and fired rifled cannon shells upon the city of Chattanooga for 19 days.

In the area around the Memorial Drive duck pond, Gen. William T. Sherman and his man hid out in November 1863. The move had resulted after Gen. U.S. Grant took command of the Union forces in the West and ordered his old friend, Gen. Sherman, to move the Army of the Tennessee from Mississippi to Chattanooga quickly.

Department of the Cumberland Chief Engineer William F. Smith, who planned Gen. Sherman's movement, had noticed during a previous reconnaissance that Gen. Braxton Bragg's Confederate troops would not notice Sherman's troops once they crossed the Tennessee River at Brown's Ferry. As a result, they could move behind the hills on the north side of the river. The Confederates would also not know if the Union troops had gone to Knoxville or were waiting for future operations in Chattanooga. So, from Nov. 20 to 22, 1863, thousands of Sherman's men moved into temporary camps among the hills in the southern Red Bank area. While there, they prepared for battle. When they moved toward Missionary Ridge for the attack beginning on Nov. 23, they left the concealed camps and some of their supplies behind.


Red Bank is located at 35°6′37″N 85°17′49″W / 35.11028°N 85.29694°W / 35.11028; -85.29694 (35.110372, -85.297048).[5]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.4 square miles (17 km2), all of it land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1960 10,777
1970 12,715 18.0%
1980 13,129 3.3%
1990 12,322 −6.1%
2000 12,418 0.8%
2010 11,651 −6.2%
Est. 2015 11,769 [6] 1.0%

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 12,418 people, 5,897 households, and 3,290 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,927.9 people per square mile (744.5/km²). There were 6,443 housing units at an average density of 1,000.3 per square mile (386.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 87.61% White, 8.24% African American, 0.52% Native American, 0.89% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 1.19% from other races, and 1.51% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.83% of the population.

There were 5,897 households out of which 22.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.2% were married couples living together, 12.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.2% were non-families. 37.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.10 and the average family size was 2.77.

In the city the population was spread out with 20.0% under the age of 18, 11.3% from 18 to 24, 31.3% from 25 to 44, 22.0% from 45 to 64, and 15.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 91.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $33,848, and the median income for a family was $41,696. Males had a median income of $30,832 versus $24,708 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,877. About 5.1% of families and 8.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.9% of those under age 18 and 6.2% of those age 65 or over.


Red Bank is the site of Red Bank High School, Red Bank Middle School, and three elementary schools: Red Bank Elementary, White Oak Elementary, and Alpine Crest Elementary.

Notable people[edit]

  • Bill Dedman, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author, was raised in Red Bank
  • Wendell Rawls, Jr., Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author, was raised in Red Bank


As of 2016, the Board of Commissioners includes Mayor John Roberts, Vice Mayor Floy Pierce, and district Commissioners Rick Causer, Ed LeCompte, and Terry Pope. Meetings are held at 7 p.m. at Red Bank City Hall on the first and third Tuesdays of every month.[9]

Mayors of Red Bank[edit]

1955–1959 Burk S. "Tom" Millard

1959–1963 J.E. Brown

1963–1965 R. Hayden Landers

1965–1971 Joe H. Godsey

1971–1973 Joe Glascock

1973–1975 Tom H. Collins

1976–1977 Ralph Barger

1979–1981 Ralph Barger

1981–1985 Thomas R. Dodd

1983–1985 Ralph Barger

1985–1987 John Ramey

1987–1989 Ralph Barger

1989–1991 Ronnie E. Moore

1991–1993 Lester Barnette

1993–1995 Ernest E. Lewis

1995–1997 Ralph Barger

1997–1999 Pat Brown

1999-2003 Howard Daniel Cotter

1999–2007 Ronnie E. Moore

2007–2010 Joe Glascock

2010–2012 Monty Millard

2012– John Roberts


External links[edit]