The first Unitarian Society of Chattanooga was organized in 1889. It became known as All Souls Unitarian Church and was chartered in 1890. The congregation acquired a church building at 654 Houston Street. The cornerstone of the church can be seen on the patio of the current church on Navajo Drive. All Souls Unitarian Church closed its doors in 1939.
The first Universalist Church in the Chattanooga area was organized in March 1897. The church was called the First Universalist Church of Chickamauga and was organized by Dr. Quillen Shinn. After Dr. Shinn died in 1907, members of the congregation moved away and the church ceased to exist. The first Universalist church in the city of Chattanooga was organized in 1907. In the late 1940s the church disbanded as an official unit and there were only meetings of the members until 1951.
In the fall of 1951 a movement began to reorganize the Unitarian Church in Chattanooga. The prime movers in the effort were Helen and Ray Solomon who are still active members of the church. In November, 1951 the Unitarian Fellowship of Chattanooga was organized with 13 members. Fellowship meetings were held in the Hamilton County Courthouse for two years.
In October, 1953 the group began to hold meetings at Shinn Memorial Universalist Church. By 1955 the membership had increased to approximately 50 families and individuals. The group then purchased the building of the former Ridgedale Church of Christ at 1211 Dodds Avenue. For 12 years this was the church home.
During the 1960s when church membership became involved in civil rights activities in Chattanooga, a fire bomb was set in the Sunday School building and then the main building was fire-bombed. An upright piano in the present church still bears the marks of the fire.
The Dodds Avenue building was sold in 1969 when the Navajo Drive land was purchased. Spring Creek School served as a temporary home until the ground floor of the present building was completed in 1970. Ten years later the Jean Livingston Memorial Hall was dedicated in October 1980.
—Adapted from the history of the church, as written by Helen Solomon