See Rock City Inc. won big at HospitalityTN’s Stars of the Industry Purple Iris awards in Knoxville last week, winning the top awards for Tourism Property of the Year and Community Service.

The accolades cap an eventful 90th anniversary year for Rock City, as the natural attraction initiated several park enhancement and preservation projects, notably the reimagining of the Hall of the Mountain King section of the Enchanted Trail. This colorful cave pathway with a new waterfall, features a large, sculpted troll and throne, bringing to life a Norwegian folktale beloved by Rock City founder Frieda Utermoehlen Carter. 

Rock City also spent the anniversary year repainting several decades-old original “See Rock City” barns across four states. These distinct pieces of Americana, which predate billboard advertisements, are now ensured to grab the attention of travelers for generations to come.

The Community Service Award recognizes Rock City’s longstanding partnerships with several area nonprofits and recent educational commitments. Each year, Rock City partners with local charities during each of its annual events, in donations and co-advocacy. 

Rock City’s educational partnership with The Howard School provides high school students opportunities to explore careers in tourism and hospitality. The company recently unveiled a commercial-grade kitchen at The Howard School for students interested in culinary pathways, in addition to investing another $250,000 to extend its partnership with the school.

Along with the state-level awards, Rock City was also named Attraction of the Year by the Greater Chattanooga Hospitality Association earlier this summer, also winning Community Service honors. In addition, SRC Inc.’s Melissa Griggs has been recognized for her 38 years of service in the hospitality industry. Griggs, who serves as director of attractions revenue, began as a part-time cashier in 1985 making her the company’s longest-tenured partner (employee).

SRC Inc. is a hospitality and entertainment company that features the world-renowned Rock City Gardens high atop Lookout Mountain, and also owns and operates Battles for Chattanooga, Clumpies Ice Cream Co., GOOD DOG GO!, Grandview, RiverView Inn, Chanticleer Inn and Starbucks; as well as the ticketing and concessions for the Incline Railway and The Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, and the retail shop and café at Creative Discovery Museum. Visit for more info.