We’re Dying to Visit the Gnomes in Rock City!

The playground at Little Miss Mag’s new location features a miniature barn. (Photo & article: Nooga.com Staff)

It’s rare to see a Rock City gnome outside of Lookout Mountain’s Fairyland Caverns, but one made the trek down this week appearing at Little Miss Mag Child Care Center.

An obvious member of the Rock City family of gnomes, this gnome appears to be painting a message on a playground barn inside the gate of the new 225 Lookout St. location.

The gnome refused to comment about the nature of the message, however executive director of the center, Johanne Albright, alluded to a future announcement regarding the gnome.

“The playground, we hope, will become a certified nature explore classroom,” she said. “So, the gnome is sitting on the art barn.”

Albright said the purpose of the gnome will be revealed once he is finished painting his message. This could take a few weeks, she said.

Little Miss Mag is currently in its third location since opening in 1917. The company’s mission is to nurture “the preschool child of working parents at an affordable cost.” The center was one of the first day care centers for the children of working mothers in the city.

Albright is enthusiastic to bring life to the new location.

“It’s exciting to have a wonderful new building and have a nature explore classroom,” she said. “We’re still trying to finish this beautiful playground.”

Gnomes, specifically garden gnomes, are cunning and inventive creatures. They are known to possess a certain air of magic and are thought of as humanlike, subterranean dwellers. Chattanooga is full of these bearded miniatures, but the most famous gnomes are found at Rock City.

Making the gnome

Matthew Dutton is an art specialist at Rock City Gardens. He is responsible for creating the gnomes in his workshop.

Dutton said this gnome will paint a “classic message from a Rock City barn” at the playground.

Dutton constructed the gnome in his workshop before the installation at Little Miss Mag this week. (Photo: Staff)

“The point of the gnome is to bring attention to something that is happening,” he said. “We’re going to use a classic barn message.”

Dutton has made at least 20 gnomes during his tenure at Rock City Gardens. For this gnome, he had to construct every piece.

“I built the gnome,” he said. “I made the ladder from scratch…and then built the gnome to fit the ladder.”

Using clay for the individual parts, Dutton makes the arm, head, neck and body as separate pieces. He uses a silicone mold and cast of urethane resin.

“All the gnomes are hollow,” he said. “I do a think that’s kind of unique, a resin manipulation, where I pull out the body part premature so that the resin is a liquid.”

This allows Dutton to manipulate the parts before they solidify.

“That’s how I got the gnome to be tip-toeing on the ladder,” he said.

The mysterious painting gnome is currently hard at work on his “message” and can be viewed from the Hunter Museum or the the sidewalk of Riverfront Drive.

Oakshire Brewing’s “Ill Tempered Gnome” Winter Ale

Here at The Drunk Gnome, we LOVE discovering new gnome-inspired brews!

We recently stumbled upon “The Ill Tempered Gnome,” a winter ale from Eugene-Oregon-based Oakshire Brewing Company.


For our fellow brew nerds, here are the stats:

STYLE: American Brown Ale
OG: 15.5 Plato
IBU: 65
ABV: 6.8%

AVAILABILITY: Winter Seasonal
FORMAT: Draft & 22 oz. bottles
FOOD PAIRINGS: Roast Pork, Grilled Sausages, smoked salmon, aged gouda, mild blue, burgers, bread pudding
We have yet to try the brew, but we’re hoping to find it in our local grocery store soon. If not, we are fully prepared to take a road trip out to Oregon.

In the meantime, here’s a brew review from the Daily Emerald’s Samuel Wendel: “Though it does retain some of the spice common to autumn beers, Oakshire complements the spice with a nice malty presence, and a subtle hoppiness that brings to mind the smell of pine. Its finish is smooth, and at 6.8 percent alcohol by volume, it shouldn’t take more than one or two to warm you up on a cold winter night. Ill-tempered Gnome is well worth a try, and should be available in most grocery stores.”

Have you tried the ill tempered gnome? What’s pissing him off so badly?

Thirstily yours,
Pablo the gnome

86% of the time, gnomes “go missing” because you bore them

From Your Local Guardian Newspaper:

A missing gnome appeal has gone out from a group of traders after their lucky mascot was snatched from his home beneath a Christmas tree.

The 10in gnome was last seen standing beneath the tree outside Budgens, in Stoneleigh Broadway on December 2, a few days after the street’s festive lights switch-on.

Your Local Guardian: Have you seen the missing gnome?

The theft of the smiling yellow, red and green statue was noticed by Stoneleigh councillor Mike Teasdale the following afternoon.

Coun Teasdale said the gnome had become the area’s unofficial mascot after being placed underneath the Broadway’s Christmas tree for the first time last year.

He said: “He has always been a quiet fellow and is unlikely to have wandered away on his own. 

“To date we have not received any ransom demand, so hopefully he will return, or be returned, in the next few days, and then the manhunt can be called off.

“The Christmas tree that he lived under also appears to have been attacked as some branches have been cut off. ”

Coun Teasdale said the miniature marvel only cost £1, but the community saw him as “our gnome”.

He added: “We would love the gnome back because everybody on the Broadway knew him.”

The councillor said the police have not been informed.